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Keywords:

  • Induced pluripotent stem cells;
  • Lineage reprogramming;
  • Bone regeneration;
  • Osteogenic differentiation

Abstract

Bone tissue for transplantation therapies is in high demand in clinics. Osteodegenerative diseases, in particular, osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, represent serious public health issues affecting a respectable proportion of the elderly population. Furthermore, congenital indispositions from the spectrum of craniofacial malformations such as cleft palates and systemic disorders including osteogenesis imperfecta are further increasing the need for bone tissue. Additionally, the reconstruction of fractured bone elements after accidents and the consumption of bone parts during surgical tumor excisions represent frequent clinical situations with deficient availability of healthy bone tissue for therapeutic transplantations. Epigenetic reprogramming represents a powerful technology for the generation of healthy patient-specific cells to replace or repair diseased or damaged tissue. The recent generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) is probably the most promising among these approaches dominating the literature of current stem cell research. It allows the generation of pluripotent stem cells from adult human skin cells from which potentially all cell types of the human body could be obtained. Another technique to produce clinically interesting cell types is direct lineage reprogramming (LR) with the additional advantage that it can be applied directly in vivo to reconstitute a damaged organ. Here, we want to present the two technologies of iPSCs and LR, to outline the current states of research, and to discuss possible strategies for their implementation in bone regeneration. STEM CELLS 2011;29:555–563