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Highly Accessed Open Badges Editorial

Mesenchymal stem cell therapy in osteoarthritis: advanced tissue repair or intervention with smouldering synovial activation?

Peter LEM van Lent* and Wim B van den Berg

Author Affiliations

Rheumatology Research and Advanced Therapeutics, Department of Rheumatology, Radboud University Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

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Arthritis Research & Therapy 2013, 15:112  doi:10.1186/ar4190

See related research by Desando et al.,

Published: 20 March 2013


Although it is generally accepted that osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition of the cartilage, other tissues such as synovium in which immunological and inflammatory reactions occur contribute to the development of joint pathology. This sheds new light on the potential mechanism of action of mesenchymal stem cell therapy in osteoarthritis. Rather than tissue repair due to local transformation of injected mesenchymal stem cells to chondrocytes and filling defects in cartilage, such treatment might suppress synovial activation and indirectly ameliorate cartilage damage. Desando and co-workers report in Arthritis Research & Therapy that intra-articular delivery of adipose-derived stem cells attenuates progression of synovial activation and joint destruction in osteoarthritis in an experimental rabbit model. Clinical studies are warranted to see whether this approach might be a novel way to combat development of joint destruction in inflammatory subtypes of osteoarthritis.