Regeneration of articular cartilage by adipose tissue derived mesenchymal stem cells: perspectives from stem cell biology and molecular medicine

J Cell Physiol. 2013 May;228(5):938-44. doi: 10.1002/jcp.24255.


Adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs) have been discovered for more than a decade. Due to the large numbers of cells that can be harvested with relatively little donor morbidity, they are considered to be an attractive alternative to bone marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells. Consequently, isolation and differentiation of ASCs draw great attention in the research of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Cartilage defects cause big therapeutic problems because of their low self-repair capacity. Application of ASCs in cartilage regeneration gives hope to treat cartilage defects with autologous stem cells. In recent years, a lot of studies have been performed to test the possibility of using ASCs to re-construct damaged cartilage tissue. In this article, we have reviewed the most up-to-date articles utilizing ASCs for cartilage regeneration in basic and translational research. Our topic covers differentiation of adipose tissue derived mesenchymal stem cells into chondrocytes, increased cartilage formation by co-culture of ASCs with chondrocytes and enhancing chondrogenic differentiation of ASCs by gene manipulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue* / cytology
  • Adipose Tissue* / transplantation
  • Cartilage, Articular / cytology*
  • Cell Differentiation* / genetics
  • Cell Differentiation* / physiology
  • Chondrocytes / cytology*
  • Humans
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / physiology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Regenerative Medicine
  • Tissue Engineering