Sources of Adult Mesenchymal Stem Cells Applicable for Musculoskeletal Applications - A Systematic Review of the Literature

R Mafi 1, S Hindocha*, 2, 3, P Mafi1, M Griffin2, W.S Khan4
1 The Hull York Medical School, Hertford Building, Hull, HU6 7RX, UK
2 Manchester Interdisciplinary Biocentre, University of Manchester, 131 Princess Street, M17DN, UK
3 Department of Plastic Surgery, Whiston General Hospital, Liverpool, L355DR, UK
4 University College London Institute of Orthopaedics and Musculoskeletal Sciences, Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, Stanmore, Middlesex, HA7 4LP, UK

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© Mafi et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Plastic Surgery, Whiston Hospital, Warrington Road, Liverpool, L35 5DR, UK; Tel: 01244366265; Fax: 01244366277; E-mail:


Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) were first discovered by Friedenstein and his colleagues in 1976 from bone marrow. The unique property of these cells was their potential to develop into fibroblastic colony forming cells. Since Friedenstein’s discovery of these cells the interest in adult MSCs has been progressively growing. Nowadays MSCs are defined as undeveloped biological cells capable of proliferation, self renewal and regenerating tissues. All these properties of MSCs have been discovered in the past 35 years. MSCs can play a crucial role in tissue engineering, organogenesis, gene therapy, transplants as well as tissue injuries. These cells were mainly extracted from bone marrow but there have been additional sources for MSCs discovered in the laboratories including: muscle, dermis, trabecular bone, adipose tissue, periosteum, pericyte, blood, synovial membrane and so forth. The discovery of the alternative sources of MSCs helps widen the application of these cells in different areas of medicine. By way of illustration, they can be used in various therapeutic purposes such as tissue regeneration and repair in musculoskeletal diseases including osteonecrosis of femoral head, stimulating growth in children with osteogenesis imperfecta, disc regeneration, osteoarthritis and duchenne muscular dystrophy. In order to fully comprehend the characteristics and potential of MSCs future studies in this field are essential.

Keywords: Mesenchymal stem cells, muscular dystrophy, musculoskeletal applications, tissue engineering.