Multipotent stem cells: These stem cells are like others in that they are undifferentiated and can become cells of different functions in the body. Yet unlike other types of stem cells, research has suggested that multipotent cells are limited as to which cells they can become depending on from what part of the body the stem cell originates. For example, bone marrow contains multipotent stem cells that give rise to all the cells of the blood but not to other types of cells. However, “emerging evidence suggests that adult stem cells may be more versatile than previously thought and able to create unrelated types of cells after all. For instance, bone marrow stem cells may be able to create muscle cells.” Adult stem cells are multipotent.
Pluripotent stem cells: “Pluripotent stem cells are often termed 'true' stem cells because they have the potential to differentiate into almost any cell in the body.” The exclusions are extra-embryonic tissues such as the amnion, chorion, and other components of the placenta. These are typically embryonic stem cells (which explains why they are preferred over adult, hence the controversy), although there are laboratory methods that can take a multipotent adult stem cell and manipulate it to bring it back to the pluripotent state of an embryonic stem cell (induced pluripotent stem cells). Many challenges face research and development utilizing both embryonic and induced pluripotent cells.
Totipotent stem cells: These most versatile stem cells “have the ability to give rise to all the cell types of the body plus all of the cell types that make up the extra-embryonic tissues such as the placenta” and generate into a completely new part or even an entire organism. All plant stem cells are totipotent. One would think these would be the most sought after stem cells for skin care right? We’ll see…
Growth Factors: Intelligent media (proteins) cultured in a laboratory setting from stem cells that assign specific functions to stem cells in the body. There are multitudes of different growth factors that all assign different functions. For example, IFNg (Interferon Gamma) growth factors activate macrophages, white blood cells that scavenge and destroy invaders, while FGF (Fibroblast Growth Factor) directs cells to generate collagen and elastin.