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Amniotic Fluid Stem Cells (AFCS) though classified as adult stem cells have a remarkable ability to...

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”?

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Expert Solution

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:

  1. Although, the pluripotency of these cells is not fully established yet these cells are known to express themselves into markers and differentiate into various types of cells like muscle, adipogenic, osteogenic, nephrogenic, neural and endothelial cells.
  2. It is successively found that monoclonal human AFS cells are able to form the embryoid bodies by culturing it without any antidifferentiation factors under certain conditions. This exhibits the ability of AFS cells to form the desired embryoid bodies that prove the feature of pluripotency.
  3. The AFS cells can hold the properties of pluripotent differentiation but, the differentiation potential has this same qualitative spectrum and approach is a matter of question which is still not completely answered.
  4. There is a couple of evidence showing the nature of embryonic stem cells to indicate its ability for producing clones as well.

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.


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