Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine in Domestic and Companion Animals: A Multispecies Perspective

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ContentsSince their original isolation, the majority of the work on embryonic stem cells (ESC) has been carried out in mice. While the mouse is an outstanding model for basic research, it also has considerable limitations for translational work, especially in the area of regenerative medicine. This is due to a combination of factors that include physiological and size differences when compared to humans. In contrast, domestic animal species, such as swine, and companion animal species, such as dogs, provide unique opportunities to develop regenerative medicine protocols that can then be utilized in humans. Unfortunately, at present, the state of knowledge related to, and availability of, ESC from domestic animals vary among species such as pig, horse, dog and cat, and without exception lags significantly behind the mouse and human. It is clear that much still needs to be discovered. The ‘stem cell-like’ cell lines being reported are still not satisfactorily used in regenerative medicine, due to reasons such as heterogeneity and chromosomal instability. As a result, investigators have searched for alternate source of cells that can be used for regenerative medicine. This approach has uncovered a range of adult stem cells and adult progenitor cells that have utility in both human and veterinary medicine. Here, we review a range of stem cells, from ESC to induced pluripotent stem cells, and discuss their potential application in the field of regenerative medicine.

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