Published online Aug 26, 2019. doi: 10.4252/wjsc.v11.i8.506
Peer-review started: February 15, 2019
First decision: March 26, 2019
Revised: May 31, 2019
Accepted: July 29, 2019
Article in press: July 29, 2019
Published online: August 26, 2019
Located near the oropharynx, the tonsils are the primary mucosal immune organ. Tonsil tissue is a promising alternative source for the high-yield isolation of adult stem cells, and recent studies have reported the identification and isolation of tonsil-derived stem cells (T-SCs) from waste surgical tissue following tonsillectomies in relatively young donors (i.e., under 10 years old). As such, T-SCs offer several advantages, including superior proliferation and a shorter doubling time compared to bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). T-SCs also exhibit multi-lineage differentiation, including mesodermal, endodermal (e.g., hepatocytes and parathyroid-like cells), and even ectodermal cells (e.g., Schwann cells). To this end, numbers of researchers have evaluated the practical use of T-SCs as an alternative source of autologous or allogenic MSCs. In this review, we summarize the details of T-SC isolation and identification and provide an overview of their application in cell therapy and regenerative medicine.
Core tip: The use of adult stem cells is often limited by the lack of differentiation among stem cells isolated from certain germ layers. However, tonsil-derived stem cells (T-SCs) were able to differentiate into various tissue types from the three germ layers, which is the most advantageous feature of this new stem cell source. T-SCs can also be used as native cells in the treatment of various immune-related diseases. As a result, it can be concluded that T-SCs have great potential for clinical applications in cell therapy and regenerative medicine.