Mesenchymal stem cells are fabulous mono-nuclear cells found in all tissues of the body. they are found in abundance in the stroma of adipose tissue that I touch on in Part 1. In my research on stem cells I came upon a realization. Much like chicken soup, if we focus only on the chicken and study it's contents. I'm sure we would be discouraged with it's inability to reduce the symptoms of a cold/flu when isolated from the broth. But when the broth is combined with the chicken, we get a whole new clinical outcome. So it is with the stem cell, by itself it is very cool with amazing properties, but without it's broth it is less effective in a clinical setting. Within the broth of the stroma lives an even smaller subset of vesicles that have illuded scientists for years. I can remember clearly being taught that these extracellular vesicles (EV's) were the garbage trucks that transported garbage and debrit out of the cell. Boy, they were WAY wrong. These EV's are the communication system of the cells. The EV's are critical for gene expression and behavior of stem cells and all other cells in the body. They may communicate with a cell right next door, or it may communicate with a cell on the opposite end of the body.
EV's in recent years have almost stole center stage away from the stem cell as it turns out, the reason stem cells are so wonderful, may not be entirely because they are so awesome, but becuase they secrete awesomeness in the form of EV's.
In fact, when EV's are isolated, which is quite difficult to do by the way as they are very tiny bubbles, many many microns smaller than a cell. They have the same abilities to change behavior and gene expression in cells as the stem cells. You can effectively remove the stem cell altogether and just release the EV's in concentrated form and create the same effect, at leased in vitro.
It's an exciting field that is just ramping up, clinical trials are just getting underway for therapeutic use. I read an article recently posted, one of the Green bay Packers new players from the Seattle Seahawks (can't believe they let him go!) - Jimmy Graham, just returned from a cell therapy program in the UK utilizing just EV's, no direct injections into his ailing knee, simply an iv of EV's and apparently in his own words is "feeling great". He remarked after the therapy he had watched a movie and afterwords he stood up and felt no knee pain at all which was not the case just prior. Over a year has gone by and he's still pain free. Time will tell if it's only the anti-inflammatory effect or some kind of true healing that took place. But I know I'm a believer, it just makes sence when you study it.