Stem cells and stem cell therapy have been gaining a lot of attention recently, some of it are controversial. However, it is still important to understand about stem cell in general and the several approaches to stem cell therapy. So first, let us discuss about stem cell. Firstly, stem cell is an undifferentiated cell which has the ability to renew itself and also develop into a tissue with at least three different types.
Different Types of Stem Cells
There are various categories of stem cells, including allogenic, autologous, and xenogenic. Analogenic stem cells refer to those that came from a donor of the same species. The fact that stem cells do not have the standard surface markers that can elicit immune response, no need to fear about the host tissue rejecting it. Autologous stem cells mean that it came from a similar animal. These type of cells are good for transplanting since there is no problem about them being rejected. Xenogenic stem cells are those that derived from a donor of another species, for instance a pig. Although it is likely that these cells are to be rejected when injected into the body of another species, in some cases, they can still survive because of their unique characteristics.
How Do Stem Cells Function?
The most popularly cited function of stem cells is their ability to differentiate into different tissues, but they have other abilities that are very helpful for healing. Stem cells help get other local and systemic cells to focus on mending damaged tissue.
Stem cells are triggered to move into an area by signals coming from the tissue based on mechanical, chemical and neural changes. Hypoxia or the lack of oxygen, and inflammation are strong triggers for stem cells to target an injury. Only about half of the new tissues formed are because of the stem cells, and the rest are done by those recruited cells. This is the reason why only small injections of stem cells are used. If you inject a larger number of stem cells, it can intervene with the healing process.
Stem Cell Therapy in Horses
Probably the most promising use of stem cell therapy is in the repair of injuries in the ligament of the horses. Injuries to the ligaments in the lower leg of a horse are very difficult to heal. The stem cells from the own fat of the injured horse can be used to stimulate the healing and start the process with less scarring.
Certainly, the stem cell therapy has a huge potential and it can be applied as a healing treatment for any injuries. Additionally, systemic stem cell therapy has the potential to be use in treating neurological conditions.