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The Stem State: Mesenchymal Plasticity as a Paradigm

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The mesenchyme is a remarkably plastic tissue in the embryo. Recent studies have led to the discovery of mesenchymal cells in the adult organism that can differentiate in vitro into unexpected directions, beyond the well-known ability of the mesenchyme to give rise to mesodermal derivatives. These studies highlighted the plastic nature of the mesenchyme, also beyond the embryonic developmental stage. This review discusses the possible functions of the mesenchyme in the adult and the reason for the maintenance of plasticity throughout mammalian life. The properties of the mesenchymal cells clearly exemplify the stem state concept; cells, whether early or late in the differentiation cascade, may assume a stem state that entails high plasticity.

Keywords: Stem cells; mesenchyme; plasticity; stem state

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2006

More about this publication?
  • Current Stem Cell Research & Therapy publishes frontier reviews on all aspects of basic research on stem cells and their uses in clinical therapy. The journal's aim is to publish the highest quality review articles in the field. The journal is essential reading for all researchers and clinicians involved in stem cells.

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