Adult marrow-derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) are capable of dividing and their progeny are further capable of differentiating into one of several mesenchymal phenotypes such as osteoblasts, chondrocytes, myocytes, marrow stromal cells, tendon-ligament fibroblasts, and adipocytes. In addition, these MSCs secrete a variety of cytokines and growth factors that have both paracrine and autocrine activities. These secreted bioactive factors suppress the local immune system, inhibit fibrosis (scar formation) and apoptosis, enhance angiogenesis, and stimulate mitosis and differentiation of tissue-intrinsic reparative or stem cells. These effects, which are referred to as trophic effects, are distinct from the direct differentiation of MSCs into repair tissue. Several studies which tested the use of MSCs in models of infarct (injured heart), stroke (brain), or meniscus regeneration models are reviewed within the context of MSC-mediated trophic effects in tissue repair.
(c) 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.