Tissue-resident stem cells are a group of stem cells distinguished by their capacity for self-renewal and multilineage differentiation capability with tissue specificity. Among these tissue-resident stem cells, skeletal stem cells (SSCs) were discovered in the growth plate region through a combination of cell surface markers and lineage tracing series. With the process of unravelling the anatomical variation of SSCs, researchers were also keen to investigate the developmental diversity outside the long bones, including in the sutures, craniofacial sites, and spinal regions. Recently, fluorescence-activated cell sorting, lineage tracing, and single-cell sequencing have been used to map lineage trajectories by studying SSCs with different spatiotemporal distributions. The SSC niche also plays a pivotal role in regulating SSC fate, such as cell-cell interactions mediated by multiple signalling pathways. This review focuses on discussing the spatial and temporal distribution of SSCs, and broadening our understanding of the diversity and plasticity of SSCs by summarizing the progress of research into SSCs in recent years.
Keywords: bone repair; endochondral ossification; growth plate; lineage tracing; skeletal stem cells.