Listen to this article Can A Fetus’s Stem Cells Repair A Mother’s Damaged Organs
There is a popular science meme that suggests a fetus can send its own stem cells to its mother to repair damaged organs. Although some memes of this nature are not entirely accurate, this particular one is mostly true.
The Science Behind the Claim
The transfer and incorporation of fetal stem cells into a mother’s organs is called fetomaternal microchimerism. Fetal microchimeric cells (fmcs) engraft the maternal bone marrow, can migrate through the circulation, and reach tissues.
Researchers have known about fetomaternal microchimerism’s existence for decades. In fact, a 1996 study found that genetically distinct cells from a male fetus persisted in the mother’s body for up to 27 years after birth. Further research has demonstrated that fetal cells persist in multiple organs of both human and laboratory mice mothers.
Can Fetal Stem Cells Heal Maternal Organs?
A 2015 study published in the journal Circulation Research addressed the issue of whether fetal stem cells could actually heal maternal organs. The researchers paired female mice with transgenic male mice that had a fluorescent protein tag. This allowed the researchers to track the movement of the fetus’s stem cells from the mother’s placenta to the heart of the fetus while they inflicted cardiac injury on the mother.They found that fetal stem cells directly targeted the damaged cardiac cells and fully integrated themselves into the mother’s heart.
Although scientists have conducted this study on mice, a substantial amount of research implies that comparable phenomena may happen in humans. Nonetheless, researchers need to conduct further studies to determine the complete mechanism behind this process and understand the full impact it could have on both the fetus and the mother. Although the wording of the meme is problematic, the science behind the claim of a fetus sending its stem cells to its mother for organ repair is fairly solid.Read more: Can A Fetus’s Stem Cells Repair A Mother’s Damaged Organs