Gender differences in stem cell population are induced by pregnancy

ArticleinMedical Hypotheses 79(4):481-3 · July 2012with16 Reads
Impact Factor: 1.07 · DOI: 10.1016/j.mehy.2012.06.029 · Source: PubMed


    Gender differences in stem cell population have recently been identified. Blood and tissue samples from women showed consistent elevation of hematopoietic stem cell populations, mesenchymal stem cell populations and endothelial progenitor cells compared to men of similar ages. We and others have shown an increase in hematopoietic stem cell population in pregnant and multiparous women compared to nulliparous women. We propose that pregnancy exposes women to increased levels of stem cells from many sources not available for nulliparous women or for men. During pregnancy, maternal fetal microchimerism results from trafficking of fetal and maternal blood across the placenta. Physiological changes in the maternal blood cellular milieu are also recognized during pregnancy and in the early post partum due to the presence of unique pregnancy associated tissues and hormones. These include the placenta, the amniotic fluid and cord blood. These tissues are highly enriched for different populations of stem cells including hematopoietic stem cells, mesenchymal stem cells and endothelial progenitor cells. Recent studies showed accelerated healing in women affected by cardiovascular insults and stroke, in part due to faster tissue regeneration and stem cell activity. We propose that gender differences in stem cell population are caused in part due to maternal exposure to fetal and unique pregnancy associated tissues, which are significantly enriched in different stem cell populations.