For people who aren’t involved in stem cell research on a daily basis, the vocabulary of stem cells can be a challenge. Parents-to-be who are considering cord blood and cord tissue banking often find themselves having to stop and look up terms as they read articles about the benefits of cord blood banking, which makes for slow reading.
Check out our stem cell vocabulary cheat sheet that you can keep by your side as you do your research:
Stem Cells: A general term referring to cells in the body that are able to develop into various kinds of cells, such as blood cells and skin cells.
Hematopoietic Stem Cell (HSCs): A type of stem cell that can become any of the blood cells and cellular blood components in the body, including white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. HSCs are found in the bone marrow of adults and the umbilical cord blood of newborn babies.
Mesenchymal Stem Cell (MSCs): A type of stem cell that can become any of a number of tissue types, including bone, cartilage, fat tissue, and connective tissue. MSCs are found in the bone marrow of adults and the cord tissue and placenta tissue of newborn babies.
Pluripotent Stem Cell: A type of stem cell that can become any type of cell or tissue in the body except those that form a placenta or embryo. Pluripotent stem cells are found in the placenta.
Multipotent Stem Cell: A type of stem cell that can become any of the cells that make up the organ system that they originated from. Hematopoietic and mesenchymal stem cells are both multipotent stem cells.
Embryonic Stem Cells: Refers to stem cells found in the embryo. Embryonic stem cells are pluripotent.
Adult Stem Cells: Refers to stem cells found throughout a fully developed body. Adult stem cells are a type of multipotent stem cell.
For a more in-depth review of the different types of stem cells, see our FAQ page.