Stem Cells Department, Royan Institute
The capacity of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to differentiate among skeletal cell lineages and to undergo extensive proliferation in vitro renders them an appropriate source for cell-replacement therapy to heal defects of bone and cartilage tissue.It is argued that in bone and cartilage defects, MSCs would better be transplanted as fully-differentiated cells otherwise they may produce non-specific cells in defect sites. This notion may emphasize the importance of the studies considering in vitro bone and cartilage differentiation of MSCs. Indeed, the capacity of producing osteoblastic and chondrocytic cell lineage is among the earliest differentiation potentials of MSCs, being reported at first isolation of the cells. Recent studies, however indicate that MSCs could differentiate into more cell lineages than expected. The present study provides evidence for, in vitro potential of MSCs to differentiate into bone and cartilage cell lineages. As an introduction to the differentiation, the characteristics of MSCs have been described and MSCs differentiation reviewed. The culture condition for bone and cartilage differentiation, molecular regulation of the differentiation, signaling pathway involved during the differentiation, and the genes up-regulated upon bone and cartilage differentiation have also been described.