Same or not the same? Comparison of adipose tissue-derived versus bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem and stromal cells

Stem Cells Dev. 2012 Sep 20;21(14):2724-52. doi: 10.1089/scd.2011.0722. Epub 2012 May 9.


Mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs) comprise a heterogeneous population of cells with multilineage differentiation potential, the ability to modulate oxidative stress, and secrete various cytokines and growth factors that can have immunomodulatory, angiogenic, anti-inflammatory and anti-apoptotic effects. Recent data indicate that these paracrine factors may play a key role in MSC-mediated effects in modulating various acute and chronic pathological conditions. MSCs are found in virtually all organs of the body. Bone marrow-derived MSCs (BM-MSCs) were discovered first, and the bone marrow was considered the main source of MSCs for clinical application. Subsequently, MSCs have been isolated from various other sources with the adipose tissue, serving as one of the alternatives to bone marrow. Adipose tissue-derived MSCs (ASCs) can be more easily isolated; this approach is safer, and also, considerably larger amounts of ASCs can be obtained compared with the bone marrow. ASCs and BM-MSCs share many biological characteristics; however, there are some differences in their immunophenotype, differentiation potential, transcriptome, proteome, and immunomodulatory activity. Some of these differences may represent specific features of BM-MSCs and ASCs, while others are suggestive of the inherent heterogeneity of both BM-MSC and ASC populations. Still other differences may simply be related to different isolation and culture protocols. Most importantly, despite the minor differences between these MSC populations, ASCs seem to be as effective as BM-MSCs in clinical application, and, in some cases, may be better suited than BM-MSCs. In this review, we will examine in detail the ontology, biology, preclinical, and clinical application of BM-MSCs versus ASCs.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / cytology*
  • Adipose Tissue / physiology
  • Animals
  • Autoimmune Diseases / therapy
  • Bone Marrow / physiology*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Factors / physiology
  • Immunologic Factors / therapeutic use
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation / methods
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / physiology
  • Myocardial Infarction / therapy


  • Immunologic Factors