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Stem Cell Reviews and Reports

, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 248–255 | Cite as

The Stem Cell Niche Should be a Key Issue for Cell Therapy in Regenerative Medicine

  • José Becerra
  • Leonor Santos-Ruiz
  • José A. Andrades
  • Manuel Marí-Beffa
Article

Abstract

Recent advances in stem cell research have highlighted the role played by such cells and their environment (the stem cell niche) in tissue renewal and homeostasis. The control and regulation of stem cells and their niche are remaining challenges for cell therapy and regenerative medicine on several tissues and organs. These advances are important for both, the basic knowledge of stem cell regulation, and their practical translational applications into clinical medicine. This article is primarily concerned with the mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and it reviews the current aspects of their own niche. We discuss on the need for a deeper understanding of the identity of this cell type and its microenvironment in order to improve the effectiveness of any cell therapy for regenerative medicine. Ex vivo reproduction of the conditions of the natural stem cell niche, when necessary, would provide success to tissue engineering. The first challenge of regenerative medicine is to find cells able to replace and/or repair the lost function of tissues and organs by disease or aging and the trophic and immunomodulatory effects recently found for MSCs open up for new opportunities. If MSCs are pericytes, as it has been proposed, perhaps it may explain the ubiquity of these cells and their possible role in miscellaneous repairs throughout the body opening for new chances for extensive tissue repair.

Keywords

Stem cell niche MSC Pericyte Cell therapy Regenerative medicine Tissue engineering 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors thank A.H. Reddi and A.I. Caplan for their critical reading of the manuscript. Becerra’s group lab is supported by grants from the Spanish Government (BIO2009-13903-C02-01; PLE2009-0163; PI10/2529 and Red de Terapia Celular, RD06/0010/0014), the Andalusian Government (P07-CVI-2781; PAID, BIO217). Banco Bilbao-Vizcaya-Argentaria Foundation (FBBVA, Chair in Biomedicine 2007 to A.H. Reddi). CIBER-BBN is an initiative funded by the VI National R&D&i Plan 2008-2011, Iniciativa Ingenio 2010, Consolider Program, CIBER Actions and financed by the Instituto de Salud Carlos III with assistance from the European Regional Development Fund.

Disclosures

The authors indicate no potential conflicts of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • José Becerra
    • 1
    • 2
  • Leonor Santos-Ruiz
    • 2
    • 1
  • José A. Andrades
    • 1
    • 2
  • Manuel Marí-Beffa
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Cell Biology, Genetics and Physiology; Faculty of SciencesUniversity of MálagaMálagaSpain
  2. 2.Networking Research Center on Bioengineering, Biomaterials and Nanomedicine (CIBER-BBN)MalagaSpain

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