What’s New in Pubmed? Nothing!

There’s a long-standing problem with trying to follow the literature on MSCs. The more proper name is “multipotent stromal cells“, whereas the name many people still use is “mesenchymal stem cells”. There’s also plenty of literature, on what is presumably the same cells, that uses “marrow stromal cells”.

To try to get around this problem in the past, I used the MeSH Browser to find the preferred term for relevant categories, searched on that, and created a feed from those results. That quit working about a month ago. According to the RSS feed for “Multipotent Stem Cells”[mh] OR “Adult Stem Cells”[mh] OR “Mesenchymal Stem Cells”[mh], nothing is new since the first week of November. I see today there’s an announcement from Pubmed about their update to MeSH for 2008, so I’m guessing there may be some connection between the two.

In the new hierarchy, multipotent stem cell, mesenchymal stem cell, and adult stem cell are all under stem cell as distinct categories. Multipotent stem cell is defined as “specialized stem cells that are committed to give rise to cells that have a particular function” whereas mesenchymal stem cell is defined as “Cells that can develop into distinct mesenchymal tissue” and Adult stem cell is defined as “Cells with high proliferative and self renewal capacities derived from adults.” I don’t know how they derived these categories, but clearly they aren’t non-overlapping categories.

Here’s what I get when I run various queries:

MeSH no MeSH
mesenchymal stem cell 2180 3386
multipotent stem cell 708 857
Adult stem cell 261 642
all 3 with AND 3 6
all 3 with OR 3025 4671
difference of OR and summed individual results: 124 214

So both MeSH and keyword queries lose some results when combined, and though MeSH queries lose less, they lose less of a smaller set that doesn’t contain as up-to-date results. I guess I’ll have to subscribe to each feed separately, or maybe mash them together with Yahoo Pipes or something.