What is the role of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in the treatment of osteoarthritis (OA)?

Updated: Oct 12, 2020
  • Author: Carlos J Lozada, MD; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are an investigational treatment of osteoarthritis. The International Society for Cellular Therapy (ISCT) defines MSCs as mesenchymal “stromal” cells having the attributes of being plastic-adherent culture-expanded cells without hematopoietic cell markers that express specific cell surface markers (ie, CD73, CD90, and CD105) and that show the ability to differentiate into osteoblasts, adipocytes, and chondrocytes in vitro. [102]  MSCs can secrete bioactive molecules that stimulate angiogenesis and tissue repair, and reduce T-cell response and inflammation. MSCs, via cytokines and growth factors such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta), can migrate to regions of cartilage ischemia and have been reported as immunomodulatory. [151]

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