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Adult mesenchymal stem cells and cell-based tissue engineering

Rocky S Tuan*, Genevieve Boland and Richard Tuli

Author Affiliations

Cartilage Biology and Orthopaedics Branch, National Institute of Arthritis, and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA

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Arthritis Res Ther 2003, 5:32-45  doi:10.1186/ar614

Published: 11 December 2002


The identification of multipotential mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) derived from adult human tissues, including bone marrow stroma and a number of connective tissues, has provided exciting prospects for cell-based tissue engineering and regeneration. This review focuses on the biology of MSCs, including their differentiation potentials in vitro and in vivo, and the application of MSCs in tissue engineering. Our current understanding of MSCs lags behind that of other stem cell types, such as hematopoietic stem cells. Future research should aim to define the cellular and molecular fingerprints of MSCs and elucidate their endogenous role(s) in normal and abnormal tissue functions.

cell differentiation; cell signaling; mesenchymal stem cells; stem cells; tissue engineering