Induced pluripotent stem cells for cartilage repair: current status and future perspectives

Eur Cell Mater. 2018 Sep 11:36:96-109. doi: 10.22203/eCM.v036a08.


The establishment of cartilage regenerative medicine is an important clinical issue, but the search for cell sources able to restore cartilage integrity proves to be challenging. Human mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) are prone to form epiphyseal or hypertrophic cartilage and have an age-related limited proliferation. On the other hand, it is difficult to obtain functional chondrocytes from human embryonic stem cells (ESCs). Moreover, the ethical issues associated with human ESCs are an additional disadvantage of using such cells. Since their discovery in 2006, induced pluripotent stems cells (iPSCs) have opened many gateways to regenerative medicine research, especially in cartilage tissue engineering therapies. iPSCs have the capacity to overcome limitations associated with current cell sources since large numbers of autologous cells can be derived from small starting populations. Moreover, problems associated with epiphyseal or hypertrophic-cartilage formation can be overcome using iPSCs. iPSCs emerge as a promising cell source for treating cartilage defects and have the potential to be used in the clinical field. For this purpose, robust protocols to induce chondrogenesis, both in vitro an in vivo, are required. This review summarises the recent progress in iPSC technology and its applications for cartilage repair.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cartilage / pathology*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Chondrogenesis
  • Embryoid Bodies / cytology
  • Humans
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Stem Cell Transplantation
  • Wound Healing*