Concise Review: Amniotic Fluid Stem Cells: The Known, the Unknown, and Potential Regenerative Medicine Applications

Stem Cells. 2017 Jul;35(7):1663-1673. doi: 10.1002/stem.2553.


The amniotic fluid has been identified as an untapped source of cells with broad potential, which possess immunomodulatory properties and do not have the ethical and legal limitations of embryonic stem cells. CD117(c-Kit)+ cells selected from amniotic fluid have been shown to differentiate into cell lineages representing all three embryonic germ layers without generating tumors, making them ideal candidates for regenerative medicine applications. Moreover, their ability to engraft in injured organs and modulate immune and repair responses of host tissues, suggest that transplantation of such cells may be useful for the treatment of various degenerative and inflammatory diseases. Although significant questions remain regarding the origin, heterogeneous phenotype, and expansion potential of amniotic fluid stem cells, evidence to date supports their potential role as a valuable stem cell source for the field of regenerative medicine. Stem Cells 2017;35:1663-1673.

Keywords: Amniotic fluid stem cell; Cell therapy; Cell transplantation; Fetal stem cell; Regenerative medicine; Tissue engineering.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amniocentesis
  • Amniotic Fluid / cytology*
  • Amniotic Fluid / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Lineage / physiology*
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Fetus
  • Gene Expression
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Octamer Transcription Factor-3 / genetics
  • Octamer Transcription Factor-3 / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-kit / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-kit / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc / metabolism
  • Regenerative Medicine / methods*
  • Stem Cell Transplantation*
  • Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Stem Cells / physiology


  • Biomarkers
  • MYC protein, human
  • Octamer Transcription Factor-3
  • POU5F1 protein, human
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-kit