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Synovium-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation in Cartilage Regeneration: A PRISMA Review of in vivo Studies.

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To, Kendrick 
Zhang, Bridget 
Romain, Karl 
Mak, Christopher 


Articular cartilage damaged through trauma or disease has a limited ability to repair. Untreated, focal lesions progress to generalized changes including osteoarthritis. Musculoskeletal disorders including osteoarthritis are the most significant contributor to disability globally. There is increasing interest in the use of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) for the treatment of focal chondral lesions. There is some evidence to suggest that the tissue type from which MSCs are harvested play a role in determining their ability to regenerate cartilage in vitro and in vivo. In humans, MSCs derived from synovial tissue may have superior chondrogenic potential. We carried out a systematic literature review on the effectiveness of synovium-derived MSCs (sMSCs) in cartilage regeneration in in vivo studies in accordance with Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) protocol. Twenty studies were included in our review; four examined the use of human sMSCs and 16 were conducted using sMSCs harvested from animals. Most studies reported successful cartilage repair with sMSC transplantation despite the variability of animals, cell harvesting techniques, methods of delivery, and outcome measures. We conclude that sMSC transplantation holds promise as a treatment option for focal cartilage defects. We believe that defining the cell population being used, establishing standardized methods for MSC delivery, and the use of objective outcome measures should enable future high quality studies such as randomized controlled clinical trials to provide the evidence needed to manage chondral lesions optimally.



cartilage repair, mesenchymal stem cells, osteoarthritis, synovium, transplantation

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Front Bioeng Biotechnol

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Frontiers Media SA


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The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support of Versus Arthritis (Formerly Arthritis Research UK) through Versus Arthritis Tissue Engineering & Regenerative Therapies Centre (Grant 21156).