Amniotic Fluid Stem Cells (AFCS) though classified as adult stem cells have a remarkable ability to make a multitude of cell lineages from all 3 germ layers. What are 3 arguments for considering it pluripotent? Why is it correctly categorized as “broadly multipotent”?
Firstly, let us understand the term pluripotent stem cells: these can be defined as the types of cells with self-replicating properties. This possesses the ability or capability of cells to develop into cells and tissues that can form the primary germ layers (ectoderm, mesoderm, and endoderm). It can possibly give rise to all types of cells in the body.
Some arguments in favor of considering the amniotic fluid stem cells as pluripotent are:
Although certain arguments are in favor of pluripotency it is still considered to be correctly categorized as “broadly multipotent” because:
They possess the ability to differentiate itself into mesodermal derived lineages (bone, fat, cartilage, muscle, hematopoietic), and also exhibits features in non-mesodermal lineages (endothelial, hepatic, neuronal). This property of developing the cells into more than one cell type correctly makes it multipotent.
Another important feature of being broadly multipotent is that these AFS cells are non-tumorigenic, and do not form teratomas as when the experiment was conducted on immunodeficient mice (by injecting). Altogether, these properties exhibited the cellular plasticity of the AFS cells. This favors multipotent characteristics as well.