The interest on applying mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) in orthopedic disorders has risen tremendously in the last years due to scientific successes in preclinical in vitro and animal model studies. In a wide range of diseases and injuries of the musculoskeletal system, MSCs are currently under evaluation, but so far have found access to clinical use only in few cases. The current assignment is to translate the acquired knowledge into clinical practice. Therefore, this review aims at presenting a synopsis of the up-to-date status of the use of MSCs and MSC related cell products in musculoskeletal indications. Clinical studies were included, whereas preclinical and animal study data not have been considered. Most studies published so far investigate the final outcome applying bone marrow derived MSCs. In fewer trials the use of adipose tissue derived MSCs and allogenic MSCs was investigated in different applications. Although the reported results are equivocal in the current literature, the vast majority of the studies shows a benefit of MSC based therapies depending on the cell sources and the indication in clinical use. In summary, the clinical use of MSCs in patients in orthopedic indications has been found to be safe. Standardized protocols and clear definitions of the mechanisms of action and the mode and timing of application as well as further coordinated research efforts will be necessary for finally adding MSC based therapies in standard operating procedures and guidelines for the clinicians treating orthopedic disorders.
Keywords: Mesenchymal stromal cells; Orthopedic surgery.