Treatment of osteoarthritis with mesenchymal stem cells

Sci China Life Sci. 2014 Jun;57(6):586-95. doi: 10.1007/s11427-014-4673-7. Epub 2014 May 21.


Osteoarthritis (OA) is one of the most prevalent joint diseases with prominent symptoms affecting the daily life of millions of middle aged and elderly people. Despite this, there are no successful medical interventions that can prevent the progressive destruction of OA joints. The onset of pathological changes in OA is associated with deviant activity of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), the multipotent precursors of connective tissue cells that reside in joints. Current therapies for OA have resulted in poor clinical outcomes without repairing the damaged cartilage. Intra-articular delivery of culture-expanded MSCs has opened new avenues of OA treatment. Pre-clinical and clinical trials demonstrated the feasibility, safety, and efficacy of MSC therapy. The Wnt/β-catenin, bone morphogenetic protein 2, Indian hedgehog, and Mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling pathways have been demonstrated to be involved in OA and the mechanism of action of MSC therapies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / cytology
  • Animals
  • Bone Marrow Cells / cytology
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intra-Articular
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation / methods*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / physiology
  • Osteoarthritis / pathology
  • Osteoarthritis / physiopathology
  • Osteoarthritis / therapy*
  • Phenotype
  • Regenerative Medicine