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Reprod Sci. 2009 Feb;16(2):126-39. doi: 10.1177/1933719108329956.

Stem cells and female reproduction.

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Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06520, USA.


Several recent findings in stem cell biology have resulted in new opportunities for the treatment of reproductive disease. Endometrial regeneration can be driven by bone marrow derived stem cells. This finding has potential implications for the treatment of uterine disorders. It also supports a new theory for the etiology of endometriosis. The ovaries have been shown to contain stem cells that form oocytes in adults and can be cultured in vitro to develop mature oocytes. Stem cells from the fetus have been demonstrated to lead to microchimerism in the mother and implicated in several maternal diseases. Additionally the placenta may be another source of hematopoietic stem cell. Finally endometrial derived stem cells have been demonstrated to differentiate into non-reproductive tissues. While we are just beginning to understand stem cells and many key questions remain, the potential advantages of stem cells in reproductive biology and medicine are apparent.

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