Adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells for cartilage tissue engineering: State-of-The-Art in in vivo studies

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Several therapeutic approaches have been developed to address hyaline cartilage regeneration, but to date, there is no universal procedure to promote the restoration of mechanical and functional properties of native cartilage, which is one of the most important challenges in orthopedic surgery. For cartilage tissue engineering, adult mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are considered as an alternative cell source to chondrocytes. Since little is known about adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cell (ADSC) cartilage regeneration potential, the aim of this review was to give an overview of in vivo studies about the chondrogenic potential and regeneration ability of culture-expanded ADSCs when implanted in heterotopic sites or in osteoarthritic and osteochondral defects. The review compares the different studies in terms of number of implanted cells and animals, cell harvesting sites, in vitro expansion and chondrogenic induction conditions, length of experimental time, defect dimensions, used scaffolds and post-explant analyses of the cartilage regeneration. Despite variability of the in vivo protocols, it seems that good cartilage formation and regeneration were obtained with chondrogenically predifferentiated ADSCs (1 × 107 cells for heterotopic cartilage formation and 1 × 106 cells/scaffold for cartilage defect regeneration) and polymeric scaffolds, even if many other aspects need to be clarified in future studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2448-2466
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part A
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells
  • cartilage regeneration
  • heterotopic cartilage formation
  • osteoarthritis
  • osteochondral defects
  • scaffolds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Medicine(all)


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