In situ tissue regeneration: chemoattractants for endogenous stem cell recruitment

Tissue Eng Part B Rev. 2014 Feb;20(1):28-39. doi: 10.1089/ten.TEB.2013.0100. Epub 2013 Jul 11.


Tissue engineering uses cells, signaling molecules, and/or biomaterials to regenerate injured or diseased tissues. Ex vivo expanded mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) have long been a cornerstone of regeneration therapies; however, drawbacks that include altered signaling responses and reduced homing capacity have prompted investigation of regeneration based on endogenous MSC recruitment. Recent successful proof-of-concept studies have further motivated endogenous MSC recruitment-based approaches. Stem cell migration is required for morphogenesis and organogenesis during development and for tissue maintenance and injury repair in adults. A biomimetic approach to in situ tissue regeneration by endogenous MSC requires the orchestration of three main stages: MSC recruitment, MSC differentiation, and neotissue maturation. The first stage must result in recruitment of a sufficient number of MSC, capable of effecting regeneration, to the injured or diseased tissue. One of the challenges for engineering endogenous MSC recruitment is the selection of effective chemoattractant(s). The objective of this review is to synthesize and evaluate evidence of recruitment efficacy by reported chemoattractants, including growth factors, chemokines, and other more recently appreciated MSC chemoattractants. The influence of MSC tissue sources, cell culture methods, and the in vitro and in vivo environments is discussed. This growing body of knowledge will serve as a basis for the rational design of regenerative therapies based on endogenous MSC recruitment. Successful endogenous MSC recruitment is the first step of successful tissue regeneration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Movement
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chemokines / metabolism
  • Chemotactic Factors / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology
  • Regeneration / physiology*
  • Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Tissue Engineering / methods*
  • Wound Healing


  • Chemokines
  • Chemotactic Factors
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins