Human mesenchymal stem cells: a bank perspective on the isolation, characterization and potential of alternative sources for the regeneration of musculoskeletal tissues

J Cell Physiol. 2013 Apr;228(4):680-7. doi: 10.1002/jcp.24223.


The continuous discovery of human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) in different tissues is stirring up a tremendous interest as a cell source for regenerative medicine therapies. Historically, hMSCs have been always considered a sub-population of mononuclear cells present in the bone marrow (BM). Although BM-hMSCs are still nowadays considered as the most promising mesenchymal stem cell population to reach the clinics due to their capacity to differentiate into multiple tissues, hMSCs derived from other adult and fetal tissues have also demonstrated to possess similar differentiation capacities. Furthermore, different reports have highlighted a higher recurrence of hMSCs in some of these tissues as compared to BM. This offer a fascinating panorama for cell banking, since the creation of a stem cell factory could be envisioned where hMSCs are stocked and used for ad hoc clinical applications. In this review, we summarize the main findings and state of the art in hMSCs isolation, characterization, and differentiation from alternative tissue sources and we attempt to compare their potency for musculoskeletal regeneration.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Marrow Cells / physiology*
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Regeneration / physiology*
  • Regenerative Medicine / methods