Is Fat Tissue a Suitable Source of Stem Cells for Musculoskeletal Regenerative Medicine Therapies: Literature Review

Matthew James Hennessy


This review found that adipose-derived stem cells are suitable for treating osteoarthritis. Besides joint replacement the current treatments do not reverse the underlining pathology, whereas this therapy replaces lost or damaged tissue and could represent a cure. Bone marrow is the traditional source of stem cells, however adipose tissue is more appropriate because of ease of harvesting, abundance, the concentration of stem cells and potential cosmetic benefits. Subcutaneous fat-derived stem cells are more effective for treating osteoarthritis when compared to visceral fat-derived. Human and animal models have shown its efficacy but with limitations. It has been less successful in older and/or patients with greater joint degeneration. Its cost-effectiveness when compared to current treatment has not been shown. A gold standard production and implantation method have yet to be developed, meaning there are no guidelines for its use. Current studies aim to address these issues, with implementation on the horizon.


Adipose Tissue, Stem Cell Therapy, Osteoarthritis


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