2009 Volume 76 Issue 2 Pages 56-66
Stem cell based therapies for the repair and regeneration of various tissues and organs offer a paradigm shift that may provide alternative therapeutic solutions for a number of diseases. Although embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells are theoretically highly beneficial, there are various limitations to their use imposed by cell regulations, ethical considerations, and genetic manipulation. Adult stem cells, on the other hand, are more easily available, with neither ethical nor immunoreactive considerations, as long as they are of autologous tissue origin. Much research has focused on mesenchymal stem cells isolated from bone marrow stroma which have been shown to possess adipogenic, osteogenic, chondrogenic, myogenic, and neurogenic potential in vitro. However bone marrow procurement is extremely painful for patients and yields low numbers of harvested cells.
When compared with bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells, adipose-derived stem cells are equally capable of differentiating into cells and tissues of mesodermal origin. Because human adipose tissue is ubiquitous and easily obtainable in large quantities under local anesthesia with little patient discomfort, it may provide an alternative source of stem cells for mesenchymal tissue regeneration and engineering. Based on our previous experimental findings, this review highlights the molecular characteristics, the potential for differentiation, the potential for wound healing, and the future role of adipose-derived stem cells in cell-based therapies and tissue engineering.