Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis. Over the last 20 years, attempts have been made to regenerate articular cartilage to overcome the limitations of conventional treatments. As OA is generally associated with larger and diffuse involvement of articular surfaces and alteration of joint homeostasis, a tissue engineering approach for cartilage regeneration is more difficult than in simple chondral defects. Autologous and allogeneic mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have rapidly emerged as investigational products for cartilage regeneration. This review outlines points to consider in MSC-based approaches for OA treatment, including allogeneic MSCs, sources of MSCs, dosages, feasibility of multiple injections, indication according to severity of OA lesion and patient age, and issues regarding implantation versus injection. We introduce possible mechanisms of action of implanted or injected MSCs as well as the immunological aspects of MSC therapy and provide a summary of clinical trials of MSCs in the treatment of OA. Given current knowledge, it is too early to draw conclusions on the ultimate effectiveness of intra-articular application of MSCs in terms of regenerative effects. Further radiological and histological data will be needed, with a larger pool of patients, before this question can be answered.
BioDrugs – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 27, 2018
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