The future role of mesenchymal stem cells in the management of shoulder disorders

Arthroscopy. 2013 Oct;29(10):1702-11. doi: 10.1016/j.arthro.2013.06.014. Epub 2013 Aug 21.


Purpose: Biologics may help to optimize the healing environment after rotator cuff repair. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) may have the potential to regenerate a physiological enthesis, thereby improving healing at the repair site after rotator cuff repair.

Methods: The PubMed database was searched in May 2013. Only in vivo and in vitro studies reporting on stem cell use in the rotator cuff of humans or animals were included. Exclusion criteria consisted of the following: Level V evidence, systematic reviews, and studies reporting preliminary results.

Results: This query resulted in 141 citations. Of these, 90 were excluded based on the title of the study. A final group of 17 studies was included in this review (9 in vivo animal studies, 5 in vitro human studies, 1 in vitro animal study, 1 study reporting in vitro human and in vivo animal results, and 1 study reporting on clinical outcomes of human patients).

Conclusions: The current literature regarding therapeutic use of MSCs in shoulder surgery is limited. Although in vivo animal studies have shown some promising approaches to enhance tendon-to-bone healing, the use of MSCs for shoulder surgery should still be regarded as an experimental technique. Further basic and clinical research is needed until a procedure can be defined for the routine use of these cells in shoulder surgery.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Forecasting
  • Goats
  • Humans
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / physiology*
  • Rabbits
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Lew
  • Rotator Cuff / surgery*
  • Wound Healing / physiology*