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Keywords:

  • Marrow stromal stem cells;
  • Microvasculature;
  • Pericytes;
  • Transplantation;
  • Skeleton;
  • Stem cells;
  • Plasticity;
  • Gene therapy;
  • Somatic cell therapy

Abstract

Bone marrow stromal cells are progenitors of skeletal tissue components such as bone, cartilage, the hematopoiesis-supporting stroma, and adipocytes. In addition, they may be experimentally induced to undergo unorthodox differentiation, possibly forming neural and myogenic cells. As such, they represent an important paradigm of post-natal nonhematopoietic stem cells, and an easy source for potential therapeutic use. Along with an overview of the basics of their biology, we discuss here their potential nature as components of the vascular wall, and the prospects for their use in local and systemic transplantation and gene therapy.