Introduction: The use of undifferentiated cells for cell-based tissue repair and regeneration strategies represents a promising approach for chronic wound healing. Multipotent adult stem cells isolated from adipose tissue, termed adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs), appear to be an ideal population of stem cells because they are autologous, non-immunogenic, plentiful, and easily obtained. Both preclinical and clinical studies have revealed that ASCs have potential for wound healing due to the mechanisms described below.
Areas covered: Both in vitro and in vivo studies demonstrated that ASCs not only differentiate into keratinocytes, fibroblasts, and endothelial cells, as evidenced by their morphology, expression of cell surface markers, and gene expression, but also secrete several soluble factors, which positively contribute to wound healing in a paracrine manner. Clinical trials have been conducted using autologous ASCs with great success.
Expert opinion: There remain many concerns regarding the use of ASCs, including how these cells act as precursors of keratinocytes, fibroblasts, and endothelial cells, or as a secretion vehicle of soluble factors. Further studies are necessary to establish the optimal strategy for the treatment of chronic wounds in patients with different disease backgrounds.
Keywords: adipose-derived stem cells; clinical trials; growth factors; regeneration; wound healing.