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Stem Cells International
Volume 2010, Article ID 519028, 14 pages
Review Article

Mesenchymal Progenitor Cells and Their Orthopedic Applications: Forging a Path towards Clinical Trials

1Molecular Oncology Laboratory, Department of Surgery, The University of Chicago Medical Center, 5841 South Maryland Avenue, MC3079, Chicago, IL 60637, USA
2Key Laboratory of Diagnostic Medicine Designated by Chinese Ministry of Education, The Affiliated Hospitals of Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing 400016, China
3Stem Cell Biology and Therapy Laboratory, The Children's Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing 400014, China
4School of Bioengineering, Chongqing University, Chongqing 400030, China
5Department of Geriatrics, Xinhua Hospital of Shanghai Jiatong University, Shanghai 400092, China
6Department of Cell Biology, The Third Military Medical University, Chongqing 400042, China

Received 17 May 2010; Revised 7 July 2010; Accepted 28 September 2010

Academic Editor: Jin Sup Jung

Copyright © 2010 Deana S. Shenaq et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Mesenchymal progenitor cells (MPCs) are nonhematopoietic multipotent cells capable of differentiating into mesenchymal and nonmesenchymal lineages. While they can be isolated from various tissues, MPCs isolated from the bone marrow are best characterized. These cells represent a subset of bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) which, in addition to their differentiation potential, are critical in supporting proliferation and differentiation of hematopoietic cells. They are of clinical interest because they can be easily isolated from bone marrow aspirates and expanded in vitro with minimal donor site morbidity. The BMSCs are also capable of altering disease pathophysiology by secreting modulating factors in a paracrine manner. Thus, engineering such cells to maximize therapeutic potential has been the focus of cell/gene therapy to date. Here, we discuss the path towards the development of clinical trials utilizing BMSCs for orthopaedic applications. Specifically, we will review the use of BMSCs in repairing critical-sized defects, fracture nonunions, cartilage and tendon injuries, as well as in metabolic bone diseases and osteonecrosis. A review of of the United States National Institute of Health was performed, and ongoing clinical trials will be discussed in addition to the sentinel preclinical studies that paved the way for human investigations.