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Mesenchymal Stem Cells Characteristics, Niches, and Applications for Cell Therapy

  1. Joni H. Ylöstalo,
  2. Thomas J. Bartosh

Published Online: 10 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/3527600906.mcb.201200009

Encyclopedia of Molecular Cell Biology and Molecular Medicine

Encyclopedia of Molecular Cell Biology and Molecular Medicine

How to Cite

Ylöstalo, J. H. and Bartosh, T. J. 2013. Mesenchymal Stem Cells Characteristics, Niches, and Applications for Cell Therapy. Encyclopedia of Molecular Cell Biology and Molecular Medicine. .

Author Information

  1. Texas A & M Health Science Center, Institute for Regenerative Medicine, College of Medicine at Scott & White, Temple, TX, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 10 FEB 2013

Abstract

Less than 0.01% of bone marrow mononuclear cells are non-hematopoietic stem cells, referred to as mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). In the bone marrow stem cell niche, MSCs are an important part of the stromal component as they support the maintenance of hematopoietic stem cell stemness. In this chapter, MSCs are introduced in a historic context, and their unique characteristics and properties with regards to effectiveness for cellular therapy are described. MSCs were initially discovered as colony-forming unit fibroblasts over 40 years ago, but the concept of MSCs was not described until the 1990s and later by studies which supported the notion of their stem cell properties. Since then, the field has evolved from the initial theory of therapeutic transdifferentiation to focus on paracrine effects of MSCs, particularly immunosuppressive properties. Although, surprisingly, the origin of MSCs remains elusive, but pericytes have recently emerged as likely candidates for an in vivo native cell of the ex vivo MSC.

Keywords:

  • Mesenchymal stem cells;
  • Stem cell niche;
  • Pericytes;
  • Differentiation;
  • Immunomodulatory effects;
  • Paracrine effects