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Stem Cells International
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 721538, 13 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/721538
Review Article

Applications of Amniotic Membrane and Fluid in Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine

1Neurogenesis and Brain Repair, National Research Council-Institute for Biological Sciences, Bldg. M-54, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1A 0R6
2Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada KIH 845
3Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada KIH 845
4Institute of Medical Genetics, Medical University of Vienna, Währinger Straße 10, 1090, Vienna, Austria
5Key Laboratory of Regenerative Biology, South China Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 190 Kai Yuan Avenue, Science Park, Guangzhou 510530, China
6Department of Regenerative Medicine, University of Toyama Graduate School of Medicine and Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2630 Sugitani, Toyama 930-0194, Japan

Received 4 June 2012; Accepted 7 September 2012

Academic Editor: Gerald A. Colvin

Copyright © 2012 Kerry Rennie et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The amniotic membrane (AM) and amniotic fluid (AF) have a long history of use in surgical and prenatal diagnostic applications, respectively. In addition, the discovery of cell populations in AM and AF which are widely accessible, nontumorigenic and capable of differentiating into a variety of cell types has stimulated a flurry of research aimed at characterizing the cells and evaluating their potential utility in regenerative medicine. While a major focus of research has been the use of amniotic membrane and fluid in tissue engineering and cell replacement, AM- and AF-derived cells may also have capabilities in protecting and stimulating the repair of injured tissues via paracrine actions, and acting as vectors for biodelivery of exogenous factors to treat injury and diseases. Much progress has been made since the discovery of AM and AF cells with stem cell characteristics nearly a decade ago, but there remain a number of problematic issues stemming from the inherent heterogeneity of these cells as well as inconsistencies in isolation and culturing methods which must be addressed to advance the field towards the development of cell-based therapies. Here, we provide an overview of the recent progress and future perspectives in the use of AM- and AF-derived cells for therapeutic applications.