HSCs and MSCs: What is the Difference?

A photo of two boys who look similar but have differences to symbolize the differences between HSCs and MSCs.

What is the difference between Hematopietic stem cells and Mesenchymal stem cells? Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) can be found in tissues all over the body. Bone marrow is especially rich in HSCs. These “adult” stem cells are thought to have important roles in repairing and regenerating damaged tissue.

HSCs and MSCs found in cord blood, cord tissue, and placental tissue are called naïve, or early, stem cells. Naïve stem cells have some real advantages over adult stem cells. For instance, they’re less likely to cause rejection by the immune system.

Researchers are very excited about their potential in the emerging fields of gene therapy and cellular repair.

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HSCs have the ability to differentiate into any of the blood cells and cellular blood components in the body (such as white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets). They’ve been used in medical treatments for over 25 years, and currently treat over 80 blood- and bone-related diseases, including cancers of the blood, autoimmune disorders, and certain genetic disorders.

Unlike HSCs, MSCs readily differentiate into neurons as well as bone, cartilage, muscle, and fat tissue. MSCs aren’t currently being used in treatment, but researchers are very excited about their potential in the emerging fields of gene therapy and cellular repair. It’s thought MSCs may have the ability to treat disorders such as diabetes, heart disease, liver disease, stroke damage, spinal cord injury, and lung cancer.

Umbilical cord blood and tissue is rich in naïve HSCs. MSCs are found in cord tissue as well, and also in placental tissue. Cord tissue contains MSCs that are related to the child, while placental tissue contains MSCs that are genetically unique to the mother and may possibly be used for future treatment for her or her child. Naïve MSCs are easily isolated and can be highly expanded in culture, expanding the range of medical options for both children and adults.

Placental tissue also contains cells pluripotent stem cells, which can differentiate into any type of cell.

Americord is the only cord blood banking company that offers placenta tissue banking.

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