Background: Recent developments in stem cell biology have led to the discovery of new sources of adult stem cells with potential for osteogenic differentiation.
Methods: In this article, the authors review the active field of research into new cell sources that are being investigated for use in bone tissue engineering. These include adipogenic, muscle, intraoral, dermal, and peripheral blood stem cells. The concept of "cell guidance," where cells are induced to home into a scaffold without the need for prior cell seeding, is also discussed.
Results: These new cell sources have the advantages of decreased morbidity during harvesting from patients and increased availability compared with traditional sources of cells for bone tissue engineering, such as end organ-derived osteoblasts, bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells, and periosteal progenitor cells.
Conclusion: The move beyond common sources of cells is perhaps the single most important recent development in bone tissue engineering research.