Stem cells on regenerative and reproductive science in domestic animals
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Stem cells are undifferentiated and self-renewable cells that present new possibilities for both regenerative medicine and the understanding of early mammalian development. Adult multipotent stem cells are already widely used worldwide in human and veterinary medicine, and their therapeutic signalling, particularly with respect to immunomodulation, and their trophic properties have been intensively studied. The derivation of embryonic stem cells (ESCs) from domestic species, however, has been challenging, and the poor results do not reflect the successes obtained in mouse and human experiments. More recently, the generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) via the forced expression of specific transcription factors has been demonstrated in domestic species and has introduced new potentials in regenerative medicine and reproductive science based upon the ability of these cells to differentiate into a variety of cells types in vitro. For example, iPSCs have been differentiated into primordial germ-like cells (PGC-like cells, PGCLs) and functional gametes in mice. The possibility of using iPSCs from domestic species for this purpose would contribute significantly to reproductive technologies, offering unprecedented opportunities to restore fertility, to preserve endangered species and to generate transgenic animals for biomedical applications. Therefore, this review aims to provide an updated overview of adult multipotent stem cells and to discuss new possibilities introduced by the generation of iPSCs in domestic animals, highlighting the possibility of generating gametes in vitro via PGCL induction.