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Keywords:

  • osteogenesis;
  • stem cells;
  • differentiation;
  • in vitro;
  • transplantation

Abstract

A major area in regenerative medicine is the application of stem cells in bone reconstruction and bone tissue engineering. This will require well-defined and efficient protocols for directing the differentiation of stem cells into the osteogenic lineage, followed by their selective purification and proliferation in vitro. The development of such protocols would reduce the likelihood of spontaneous differentiation of stem cells into divergent lineages on transplantation, as well as reduce the risk of teratoma formation in the case of embryonic stem cells. Additionally, such protocols could provide useful in vitro models for studying osteogenesis and bone development, and facilitate the genetic manipulation of stem cells for therapeutic applications. The development of pharmokinetic and cytotoxicity/genotoxicity screening tests for bone-related biomaterials and drugs could also use protocols developed for the osteogenic differentiation of stem cells. This review critically examines the various strategies that could be used to direct the differentiation of stem cells into the osteogenic lineage in vitro.