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Cell Potency: Totipotent vs Pluripotent vs Multipotent Stem Cells
Article

Cell Potency: Totipotent vs Pluripotent vs Multipotent Stem Cells

Cell Potency: Totipotent vs Pluripotent vs Multipotent Stem Cells
Article

Cell Potency: Totipotent vs Pluripotent vs Multipotent Stem Cells

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Cell potency refers to the varying ability of stem cells to differentiate into specialized cell types.1 Cells with the greatest potency can generate more cells types than those with lower potency.


Hierarchy of Cell Potency

Totipotent Stem Cells 

Totipotent  (omnipotent) stem cells can give rise to any of the 220 cell types found in an embryo as well as extra-embryonic cells (placenta).

Pluripotent Stem Cells

Pluripotent stem cells can give rise to all cell types of the body (but not the placenta). 

Multipotent Stem Cells

Multipotent stem cells can develop into a limited number of cell types in a particular lineage.




Totipotent vs pluripotent vs multipotent stem cells explained

Totipotent vs Pluripotent vs Multipotent Comparison Chart

 

Totipotent

Pluripotent

Multipotent

Relative potency

High

Medium

Low

Cell types capable of generating

Differentiate into any cell type

Differentiate into cells from any of the three germ layers

Differentiate into a limited range of cell types

Terminology

Toti = Whole

Pluri = Many

Multi = Several

Examples

Zygote, early morula

Embryonic stem cells, Induced pluripotent stem cells

Haematopoietic stem cells, neural stem cells, mesenchymal stem cells

Found

Early cells of fertilised egg

Inner mass cells of the blastocyst

In many tissues

Expression of pluripotency genes

+++

++

+

Expression of lineage-specific genes

+

++

+++

Pros of use in research

Easy to isolate and grow

Easy to isolate and grow

Less ethical issues, less chance of immune rejection if taken from same patient

Cons of use in research

Ethical issues

Ethical issues, teratoma formation

Hard to isolate, limited differentiation, scarce





References:

1Hima Bindu A, Srilatha B (2011) Potency of Various Types of Stem Cells and their Transplantation. J Stem Cell Res Ther 1:115. doi:10.4172/2157-7633.1000115 
Meet The Author
Anna MacDonald
Anna MacDonald
Science Writer
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