There are Stem Cells in Your Urine or Stop Peeing on my Head and Calling it Rain…

By Chris Centeno, MD /

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urine stem cells

As I searched the US National Library of medicine this morning for something else, I chanced upon a paper using stem cells from human urine to treat impotence in diabetic mice. Now the topic of the paper couldn’t be more bizarre. First, how do you create mice with erectile dysfunction? How would you tell? Second, stem cells from urine? Is that possible?

Being curious, I then searched, “Human Urine-Derived Stem Cells” only to find 17 papers! First, believe it or not, there are stem cells in almost every body tissue. In fact, they live in your teeth, internal organs, bone marrow, fat, muscles, tendons, ligaments, skin, menstrual blood, and I guess urine. Given that the bladder itself has stem cells, it’s not surprising that some would slough off and end up in your pee.

What can these stem cells do? Well, I guess they help get rid of erectile dysfunction in diabetic rats; is this how they tested Viagra? You must take a bunch of “non-performing” rats and give them a drug? I digress. In addition, urine stem cells can also create new heart cells. Wow, that gives Valentine’s day a whole new meaning! They’re also potential treatments for neurologic diseases like Alzheimer’s. Here Grandpa, pee in this cup for me… They’ve also been shown to differentiate into muscle. I wonder if the guys at the gym know that urine drug tests now have new meaning…

The upshot? Yes, like in every part of your body, there are stem cells in your urine that can apparently do amazing things. This definitely gives new meaning to the phrase, “Don’t pee on my head and call it raining”. Will I ever be able to get that image of diabetic mice with ED out of my head?

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Chris Centeno, MD

Regenexx Founder

Chris Centeno, MD is a specialist in regenerative medicine and the new field of Interventional Orthopedics. Centeno pioneered orthopedic stem cell procedures in 2005 and is responsible for a large amount of the published research on stem cell use for orthopedic applications.
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