Role of mesenchymal stem cells in bone regeneration and fracture repair: a review

Int Orthop. 2013 Dec;37(12):2491-8. doi: 10.1007/s00264-013-2059-2. Epub 2013 Aug 15.


Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are non-haematopoietic stromal stem cells that have many sources, such as bone marrow, periosteum, vessel walls, adipose, muscle, tendon, peripheral circulation, umbilical cord blood, skin and dental tissues. They are capable of self-replication and of differentiating into, and contributing to the regeneration of, mesenchymal tissues, such as bone, cartilage, ligament, tendon, muscle and adipose tissue. The homing of MSCs may play an important role in the repair of bone fractures. As a composite material, the formation and growth of bone tissue is a complex process, including molecular, cell and biochemical metabolic changes. The recruitment of factors with an adequate number of MSCs and the micro-environment around the fracture are effective for fracture repair. Several studies have investigated the functional expression of various chemokine receptors, trophic factors and adhesion molecules in human MSCs. Many external factors affect MSC homing. MSCs have been used as seed cells in building tissue-engineered bone grafts. Scaffolds seeded with MSCs are most often used in tissue engineering and include biotic and abiotic materials. This knowledge provides a platform for the development of novel therapies for bone regeneration with endogenous MSCs.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Bone Regeneration / physiology*
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Fractures, Bone / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation / methods*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology
  • Tissue Engineering
  • Wound Healing / physiology