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Stem Cells International
Volume 2013, Article ID 312501, 11 pages
Review Article

New Insights into Osteogenic and Chondrogenic Differentiation of Human Bone Marrow Mesenchymal Stem Cells and Their Potential Clinical Applications for Bone Regeneration in Pediatric Orthopaedics

1Hematology, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Parma, Via Gramsci 14, 43126 Parma, Italy
2SC Laboratorio di Immunoreumatologia e Rigenerazione Tissutale e Laboratorio RAMSES, Rizzoli Orthopaedic Institute, Via di Barbiano 1/10, 40136 Bologna, Italy
3Paediatric Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Rizzoli Orthopaedic Institute, Via GC Pupilli 1, 40136 Bologna, Italy

Received 29 March 2013; Accepted 8 May 2013

Academic Editor: Paul T. Sharpe

Copyright © 2013 Nicola Giuliani 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.


Human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) are pluripotent adult stem cells capable of being differentiated into osteoblasts, adipocytes, and chondrocytes. The osteogenic differentiation of hMSCs is regulated either by systemic hormones or by local growth factors able to induce specific intracellular signal pathways that modify the expression and activity of several transcription factors. Runt-related transcription factor 2 (Runx2) and Wnt signaling-related molecules are the major factors critically involved in the osteogenic differentiation process by hMSCs, and SRY-related high-mobility-group (HMG) box transcription factor 9 (SOX9) is involved in the chondrogenic one. hMSCs have generated a great interest in the field of regenerative medicine, particularly in bone regeneration. In this paper, we focused our attention on the molecular mechanisms involved in osteogenic and chondrogenic differentiation of hMSC, and the potential clinical use of hMSCs in osteoarticular pediatric disease characterized by fracture nonunion and pseudarthrosis.