What is the Difference Between Mesenchymal and Hematopoietic Stem Cells

The main difference between mesenchymal and hematopoietic stem cells is that the mesenchymal stem cells can differentiate into neurons, bone, cartilage, muscle, and fat tissue whereas the hematopoietic stem cells can differentiate into any type of blood cells including red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. Furthermore, mesenchymal stem cells occur in the bone marrow, adipose tissue, molar cells, cord cells and amniotic fluid while hematopoietic stem cells mainly occur in the bone marrow of pelvis, femur, and the sternum.

Mesenchymal and hematopoietic stem cells are two types of multipotentadult stem cells, which occur in various tissues of the body. The main function of them is the repair and regeneration of damaged tissues.

Key Areas Covered

1. What are Mesenchymal Stem Cells
     – Definition, Location, Role
2. What are Hematopoietic Stem Cells
     – Definition, Location, Role
3. What are the Similarities Between Mesenchymal and Hematopoietic Stem Cells
     – Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Mesenchymal and Hematopoietic Stem Cells
     – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms

Adult Stem Cells, Bone Marrow, Cord Blood, Hematopoietic Stem Cells, Mesenchymal Stem Cells, Multipotent, Tissue Regeneration

Difference Between Mesenchymal and Hematopoietic Stem Cells - Comparison Summary

What are Mesenchymal Stem Cells

Mesenchymal stem cells are a type of multipotent, adult stem cells, which can differentiate into the cells in the skeletal tissue. As mesenchymal stem cells are multipotent, they can differentiate into several types of cells in the body. For example, they can differentiate into cartilage cells, bone cells, muscle cells, fat cells, neurons, endothelial cells, etc. Moreover, they occur in the bone marrow, cord cells, adipose tissue, molar cells, and amniotic fluid. Here, stromal cell is a special term to refer the mesenchymal cell in the bone marrow.

What is the Difference Between Mesenchymal and Hematopoietic Stem Cells

Figure 1: Differentiation of Mesenchymal Stem Cells

Looking at their structure, mesenchymal stem cells have a small cell body with several cell processes, which are thin and long. Their nucleus is large and round, and consists of a prominent nucleolus. Due to the finely dispersed chromatin particles that surround the nucleolus, the nucleus has a clear appearance. Also, the cytoplasm of the mesenchymal cells comprises mitochondria, polyribosomes, rough endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi apparatus, etc. Furthermore, the extracellular matrix of the cells contain some reticular fibrils but, no collagen fibrils.

What are Hematopoietic Stem Cells

Hematopoietic stem cells are another type of multipotent adult stem cells, which can differentiate into different types of blood cells including red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. The process of differentiation of these cells into differentiated cells is hematopoiesis, which occurs in the bone marrow. Therefore, hematopoietic stem cells predominantly occur in the bone marrow. However, it also occurs in cord blood and a few hematopoietic stem cells occur in the peripheral blood.

Main Difference - Mesenchymal and Hematopoietic Stem Cells

Figure 2: Hematopoiesis

During hematopoiesis, these stem cells first differentiate into the common myeloid progenitor and the common lymphoid progenitor. The common myeloid progenitor cells further differentiate into red blood cells, mast cells, and, granulocytes including neutrophils, eosinophils, basophils, and monocytes, and platelets. In addition, the common lymphoid progenitor cells differentiate into B lymphocytes, T lymphocytes, and natural killer cells.

Similarities Between Mesenchymal and Hematopoietic Stem Cells

  • Mesenchymal and hematopoietic stem cells are two types of adult stem cells.
  • They both are immature cells capable of self-renewing and differentiation into various types of cells.
  • Also, both are multipotent stem cells; hence, they can differentiate into more than one type of cells.
  • These differentiated cells have a characteristic shape, structure, and function based on the type of tissue to which they belong.
  • Moreover, both cells occur in the bone marrow, cord blood, cord tissue, and placental tissue.
  • Besides, their main function is the repair and regeneration of the tissues.

Difference Between Mesenchymal and Hematopoietic Stem Cells

Definition

Mesenchymal stem cells refer to multipotent stromal cells that can differentiate into a variety of cell types, including osteoblasts (bone cells), chondrocytes (cartilage cells), myocytes (muscle cells) and adipocytes (fat cells which give rise to marrow adipose tissue). Whereas, the hematopoietic stem cells refer to stem cells that give rise to other blood cells. Thus, this explains the main difference between mesenchymal and hematopoietic stem cells.

Location

Furthermore, mesenchymal stem cells occur in the bone marrow, adipose tissue, molar cells, cord cells and amniotic fluid while hematopoietic stem cells mainly occur in the bone marrow of pelvis, femur, and the sternum, cord blood, and the peripheral blood.

Types of Tissue

Another difference between mesenchymal and hematopoietic stem cells is the type of tissues they give rise to. Mesenchymal stem cells differentiate into cells of several types of tissue including connective tissue, muscle tissue, and lymphatic tissue while hematopoietic stem cells differentiate into blood cells.

Differentiated Cells

Finally, mesenchymal stem cells differentiate into neurons, bone, cartilage, muscles, and fat tissue while hematopoietic stem cells differentiate into white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets.  Hence, this is another difference between mesenchymal and hematopoietic stem cells.

Conclusion

Mesenchymal stem cells are a type of stem cells that can differentiate into several types of cells in the body including the cells in the connective tissue, muscle tissue, and lymphatic tissue. Moreover, this type of stem cells occurs throughout the body. On the other hand, hematopoietic stem cells are a type of stem cells which can differentiate into the cells in the blood. Therefore, this type of stem cells mainly occurs in the bone marrow. Both mesenchymal and hematopoietic stem cells are adult stem cells, which are multipotent. The main difference between mesenchymal and hematopoietic stem cells is the type of differentiated cells they give rise to.

Reference:

1. “Stem Cell Basics IV.|STEM CELL INFORMATION.” National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Available Here

Image Courtesy:

1. “Marrow Adipocytes are derived from mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) differentiation” By File:Marrow Adipocytes are derived from mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) differentiation. .tif: Mstynerderivative work: Guanaco – This file was derived from: Marrow Adipocytes are derived from mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) differentiation. .tif: (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia  
2. “Hematopoiesis (human) diagram en” By original: User:A. Rad, svg file drawn with FlashMX by birdyderivative work: RexxS (talk) – Hematopoiesis_(human)_diagram.svg (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia  

About the Author: Lakna

Lakna, a graduate in Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, is a Molecular Biologist and has a broad and keen interest in the discovery of nature related things

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