The key difference between stem cell differentiation and self renewal is the basis of the effect they create. While stem cell differentiation is the process in which normal stem cells like embryonic stem cells convert into specialized cells with functional and structural properties, self renewal is the process of cell regeneration.
Stem cells are a group of cells that possess the ability to differentiate into different types of cells during their development. They show various development patterns on the basis of their cellular function and structure. Aging of cells is also an aspect that is looked upon, and self-renewal plays an important role in delaying the process of aging.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Stem Cell Differentiation
3. What is Self Renewal
4. Similarities Between Stem Cell Differentiation and Self Renewal
5. Side by Side Comparison – Stem Cell Differentiation vs Self Renewal in Tabular Form
What is Stem Cell Differentiation?
Stem cell differentiation is a multi-step process where normal cells convert to specialized cells with special functions. The proliferating cells undergo specialization by changing their cell structure, adaptations, metabolism and cell sensitivity. Following these changes, the cells gain the ability of special functionality.
The process of stem cell differentiation is mediated through the activity of enzymes, hormones, cell signaling pathways. It is truly a genetically controlled process. Therefore, alteration of the genetic composition may lead to an abnormal cell differentiation pattern.
The type of stem cells can vary as totipotent, pluripotent, multipotent, oligopotent and unipotent based on their ability to differentiate. Totipotent stem cells can differentiate into any type of cells. Pluripotent stem cells also have wide spectra of differentiation; however, it is limited. In contrast, multipotent stem cells can differentiate into a related group of cell types. Out of the different types of stem cells, the embryonic stem cells are of particular interest as they can differentiate into many different cell types upon proliferation.
What is Self Renewal?
Self-renewal, cell renewal or cell regeneration refers to the natural process in which the cells regenerate upon damage or loss. The self-renewal ability of the cells differs based on the type of the cells; hence, their renewal rates also may vary. The main process of cell renewal is mitosis. They maintain the chromosome number during the cell division and produce daughter cells that are identical to the mother cells. This allows accurate self-renewal of cells. The process of self-renewal is a controlled process and many cell signaling mechanisms aid this process.
When considering stem cells, self-renewal is the division of stem cells to make more stem cells in order to maintain the undifferentiated state. Therefore, self-renewal maintains both multipotency and tissue regenerative potential.
What are the Similarities Between Stem Cell Differentiation and Self Renewal?
- Both processes are mediated by mitosis.
- Cell signaling is an important factor in determining the accuracy of both processes.
- Genetics play an important role in regulating both differentiation and renewal.
- Mutations may lead to abnormalities of both phenomena.
- In both phenomena, the rate of occurrence may vary with the type of cells.
- Differentiation and self renewal take place following cell proliferation.
What is the Difference Between Stem Cell Differentiation and Self Renewal?
Stem cell differentiation and self renewal are two processes that are tightly regulated. Both take place in stem cells and differentiate based on the effect they bring about in the cell development process. Stem cell differentiation refers to the process of differentiating undifferentiated cells into specialized cells that have specified functions. Meanwhile, self-renewal refers to the division of cells to make more cells. Thus, this is the key difference between stem cell differentiation and self renewal.
Summary – Stem Cell Differentiation vs Self Renewal
Stem cell differentiation and self renewal are two important phenomena that take place during the development of a cell. Stem cells are non-differentiated cells. However, following various signaling mechanisms, stem cells convert into differentiated cell types. Following differentiation, a particular cell can engage in its functionality. Self renewal of a cell takes place as a regeneration mechanism to delay the aging process. Both are thoroughly regulated by signaling mechanisms and genetic factors. Therefore, abnormality of cellular activities could be due to the alterations in cell differentiation and self renewal processes. This is the summary of stem cell differentiation and self renewal.
1. “3.6 Cellular Differentiation.” Anatomy and Physiology, OpenStax, 6 Mar. 2013, Available here.
2. Silva, Haroldo. “Aging and Stem Cell Renewal.” StemBook [Internet]., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 15 July 2008, Available here.