Brilliant Mother Nature
Or Stem Cell Logic 101
We all start out as a single cell, the ULTIMATE stem cell. This cell divides into two cells which divide into 4 cells and on and on. These cells communicate with each other through chemicals on their cell surfaces and tiny electrical signals as well as chemical substances they secrete into the sea of fluid that surrounds them. These minute signals change for individual cells as the number of cells increases. Thus, the individual cells start to change as different segments of their DNA are turned on and off in response to the signals. As an individual cell changes so do the signals it emits to surrounding cells. It is this dynamic set of events that eventually gives rise to a complex creature made up of many different cell and tissue types from the SINGLE cell of origin!
But this is only the first chapter in the story of life. Life is complicated. There are benefits but also many hazards. There are injuries and illnesses. But fear not, as Mother Nature, with exceptional foresight, preserves some cells as “adult” stem cells with many of the characteristics and potential of the original cell. These stem sells reside in varying numbers throughout your body. They are a supply of repair and replacement cells for healing. What determines healing versus not healing, and healing fully versus scarring, is the balance between the number of locally available stem cells versus the size and extent of any local injury.
The number of stem cells residing in any specific tissue or organ varies for a multitude of reasons. However biological scientific research has repeatedly proven the existence of these cells, there is virtually no argument about that. And more recent research has shown there are certain identifiable pools of these stem cells; most notably in the blood: a small circulating pool, in the bone marrow: a larger pool but seems to decline somewhat with age, and in the FAT tissues: a huge and relatively stable warehouse of stem cells!
But why fat? If one considers the life of mammals in the wild several answers come to mind. First are seasons. Throughout the world seasons cycle to at least some extent. Mammals’ feeding, and activity varies with these cycles. They put on fat during times when food is plentiful and then live off this fat supply when food is scarce. This fat also acts as natural insulation for changing seasonal temperatures. It is the large pool of Adipose Stem Cells that allows for this natural cycling. Second, consider the life of the average mammal. The most common injuries are to skin and soft tissues – cuts, abrasions, bruises, etc. Well, where is most of the fat? It lies between the skin and the soft tissues! This is the magic of mammalian evolution. It seems so obvious, but it has been so overlooked until recent biologic study. Maybe this should be stem cell logic 310 not 101.