Bone Marrow Mesenchymal Cells: How Do They Contribute to Tissue Repair and Are They Really Stem Cells?

  • Yasumasa Kuroda
  • Masaaki Kitada
  • Shohei Wakao
  • Mari DezawaEmail author


Adult stem cells typically generate the cell types of the tissue in which they reside, and thus the range of their differentiation is considered limited. Bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are different from other somatic stem cells in that they differentiate not only into the same mesodermal-lineage such as bone, cartilage, and adipocytes but also into other lineages of ectodermal and endodermal cells. Thus, MSCs are a unique type of adult stem cells. In addition, MSCs home to damaged sites, differentiate into cells specific to the tissue and contribute to tissue repair. Therefore, application of MSCs in the treatment of various diseases, including liver dysfunction, myocardial infarction, and central nervous system repair, has been initiated. Because MSCs are generally harvested as adherent cells from bone marrow aspirates, however, they comprise heterogeneous cell populations and their wide-ranging differentiation ability and repair functions are not yet clear. Recent evidence suggests that a very small subpopulation of cells that assume a repair function with the ability to differentiate into trilineage cells resides among human MSCs and effective utilization of such cells is expected to improve the repair effect of MSCs. This review summarizes recent advances in the clarification of MSC properties and discusses future perspectives.


Mesenchymal stem cells Adult stem cells Transdifferenitation Cytokines Repair 



This work was supported by the Japan New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) and Program for Promotion of Fundamental Studies in Health Sciences of the National Institute of Biomedical Innovation (NIBIO).


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Copyright information

© L. Hirszfeld Institute of Immunology and Experimental Therapy, Wroclaw, Poland 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yasumasa Kuroda
    • 1
  • Masaaki Kitada
    • 1
  • Shohei Wakao
    • 1
  • Mari Dezawa
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Stem Cell Biology and HistologyTohoku University Graduate School of MedicineSendaiJapan

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