Amniotic Fluid May Contain Stem Cells16 years, 11 months ago
Posted on Jul 13, 2003, 4 a.m.
By Bill Freeman
A recent discovery by Austrian researchers has led to speculation that amniotic fluid may contain stem cells. Markus Henstschl
A recent discovery by Austrian researchers has led to speculation that amniotic fluid may contain stem cells. Markus Henstschläger and colleagues at the University of Vienna found that some cells in the amniotic fluid taken from pregnant women during routine amniocentesis expressed a protein called Oct-4, which stem cells need to remain in their state of perpetual youth. Further tests showed that the cells also expressed other important proteins. According to Hengstschlager it will take two years to find out what the cells can differentiate into, although preliminary experiments suggest they can become nerve cells. If the cells do prove to be capable of differentiating into different cells and tissues they may provide scientists with a solution to the ethical minefield that surrounds the use of human embryonic stem cells (ESCs).
SOURCE/REFERENCE: Reported by www.newscientist.com on the 30th June 2003.