Difference Between Mesenchymal and Hematopoietic Stem Cells | Mesenchymal vs Hematopoietic Stem Cells


The key difference between mesenchymal and hematopoietic stem cells is that mesenchymal stem cells can differentiate into neurons, bone, cartilage, muscle, and fat tissue cells while hematopoietic stem cells can differentiate into all types of blood cells in our body.

Stem cells are undifferentiated or unspecialized cells present in our body. They are capable of dividing and giving the same type of stem cells or differentiating into specialized cells in tissues that have specified functions. Due to these remarkable abilities of stem cells, they are used in repairing and regenerating damaged tissues. Mesenchymal stem cells and hematopoietic stem cells are two types of stem cells that are extremely important. Mesenchymal stem cells (non-hematopoietic stem cells) are multipotent stem cells that can generate bone, cartilage and fat cells. On the other hand, hematopoietic stem cells can form all types of blood cells in the body. Moreover, both these stem cell types are present in the bone marrow.

CONTENTS

1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What are Mesenchymal Stem Cells
3. What are Hematopoietic Stem Cells
4. Similarities Between Mesenchymal and Hematopoietic Stem Cells
5. Side by Side Comparison – Mesenchymal vs Hematopoietic Stem Cells in Tabular Form
6. Summary

What are Mesenchymal Stem Cells?

Mesenchymal stem cells are a type of adult stem cells that are multipotent and can differentiate into several different specialized cell types including neurons, bone, cartilage, muscle and fat tissue cells. These cells are stromal cells or the cells of the connective tissues. Mesenchymal cells have a small cell body containing several cell processes that are long and thin.

Difference Between Mesenchymal and Hematopoietic Stem Cells | Mesenchymal vs Hematopoietic Stem Cells

Figure 01: Mesenchymal Stem Cells

Furthermore, the cell body contains a large, round nucleus with a prominent nucleolus and cell organelles such as mitochondria, ER, Golgi bodies, polyribosomes, etc. These cells are present in bone marrows, cord cells, adipose tissues, molar cells, amniotic fluid, etc.

What are Hematopoietic Stem Cells?

Hematopoietic stem cells are another type of adult stem cells which are pluripotent and can differentiate into any type of blood cells including red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, etc. Bone marrows are rich with hematopoietic stem cells. Hence, the differentiation process of hematopoietic stem cells (hematopoiesis) mainly occurs in bone marrows.

Difference Between Mesenchymal and Hematopoietic Stem Cells | Mesenchymal vs Hematopoietic Stem Cells

Figure 02: Hematopoietic Stem Cells

Since hematopoietic stem cells are able to give rise to any type of blood cells, they are also called blood stem cells. Apart from the bone marrows, few hematopoietic stem cells are present in the peripheral blood and cord blood.

What are the Similarities Between Mesenchymal and Hematopoietic Stem Cells?

  • Mesenchymal and hematopoietic stem cells are undifferentiated cells.
  • Furthermore, they are adult stem cells which are multipotent.
  • They have the potential to differentiate into different types of specialized cells.
  • They are found in tissues all over the body parts.
  • Moreover, they are found in cord blood, cord tissue, and placental tissue.
  • Both are used in repairing and regenerating damaged tissue.
  • Bone marrow contains both these cell types.
  • Mesenchymal stem cells facilitate the hematopoiesis.

What is the Difference Between Mesenchymal and Hematopoietic Stem Cells?

Mesenchymal stem cells are multipotent stem cells that can differentiate into neurons, bone, cartilage, muscle and fat tissue cells. Whereas, hematopoietic stem cells are multipotent stem cells that can differentiate into any kind of blood cells including red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. Thus, this is the key difference between mesenchymal and hematopoietic stem cells. Mesenchymal stem cells are present in bone marrow, cord cells, adipose tissues, molar cells, amniotic fluid, etc. while hematopoietic stem cells are present in bone marrow, cord blood, and peripheral blood. This is another difference between mesenchymal and hematopoietic stem cells.

Moreover, both cell types have great importance in disease therapy. Mesenchymal stem cells have a use in treating diabetes, heart disease, liver disease, stroke damage, spinal cord injury, and lung cancer, etc. while hematopoietic stem cells have a use in treating blood and bone-related conditions including blood cancers, autoimmune disorders, and certain genetic disorders, etc. Therefore, this is also a difference between mesenchymal and hematopoietic stem cells.

Difference Between Mesenchymal and Hematopoietic Stem Cells | Mesenchymal vs Hematopoietic Stem Cells

Summary – Mesenchymal vs Hematopoietic Stem Cells

Mesenchymal and hematopoietic stem cells are two types of adult stem cells. Both are multipotent stem cells that can differentiate into more than one specialized cell type. Mesenchymal cells are able to differentiate into neurons, bone, cartilage, muscle and fat tissue cells while hematopoietic stem cells are able to differentiate into any type of blood cells. Furthermore, mesenchymal stem cells are present in bone marrows, cord cells, adipose tissue, molar cells, and amniotic fluid while hematopoietic stem cells are present in bone marrow, cord blood, and peripheral blood. Both cells help to treat various types of diseases. Thus, this summarizes the difference between mesenchymal and hematopoietic stem cells.

Reference:

1. “Mesenchymal Stem Cell.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 5 Mar. 2019, Available here.
2. Eaves, Connie J. “Hematopoietic Stem Cells: Concepts, Definitions, and the New Reality.” Blood Journal, American Society of Hematology, 23 Apr. 2015, Available here.

Image Courtesy:

1. “Hematopoiesis (human) diagram en” By RexxS, Mikael Häggström and birdy, from original by A. Rad – Hematopoiesis_(human)_diagram.svg (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Human bone marrow derived MSCs” By Chinmaya Mahapatra – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia