The Amniotic Membrane: Development and Potential Applications – A Review

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Foetal membranes are essential tissues for embryonic development, playing important roles related to protection, breathing, nutrition and excretion. The amnion is the innermost extraembryonic membrane, which surrounds the foetus, forming an amniotic sac that contains the amniotic fluid (AF). In recent years, the amniotic membrane has emerged as a potential tool for clinical applications and has been primarily used in medicine in order to stimulate the healing of skin and corneal diseases. It has also been used in vaginal reconstructive surgery, repair of abdominal hernia, prevention of surgical adhesions and pericardium closure. More recently, it has been used in regenerative medicine because the amniotic-derived stem cells as well as AF-derived cells exhibit cellular plasticity, angiogenic, cytoprotective, immunosuppressive properties, antitumoural potential and the ability to generate induced pluripotent stem cells. These features make them a promising source of stem cells for cell therapy and tissue engineering. In this review, we discussed the development of the amnion, AF and amniotic cavity in different species, as well as the applicability of stem cells from the amnion and AF in cellular therapy.

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