Stem cells are unique for the role they play. They are effectively the body’s raw material – the cells from which all other cells with specialized functions are created, such as those which constitute our blood, brain, or bone.
That is not the only way they are unique. One of stem cells defining features is that unlike other cells, they don’t exhaust themselves. After undertaking their duties, they are able to enter a state of hibernation which allows for self-renewal.
They effectively go to sleep and in doing so they make themselves young again, a process known as reversible quiescence. In the body these sleeping stem cells can then remain dormant for years until called into action again. [Read more…]