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Stem Cells International
Volume 2016, Article ID 3753581, 7 pages
Review Article

Cell Fate and Differentiation of Bone Marrow Mesenchymal Stem Cells

1Division of Molecular Signaling and Biochemistry, Department of Health Improvement, Kyushu Dental University, 2-6-1 Manazuru, Kokurakita-ku, Kitakyushu, Fukuoka 803-8580, Japan
2Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, Saitama Medical University, 38 Morohongo, Moroyama-machi, Iruma-gun, Saitama 350-0495, Japan
3Division of Biomedical Science, College of Osteopathic Medicine, Marian University, 3200 Cold Spring Road, Indianapolis, IN 46222, USA

Received 18 March 2016; Accepted 5 May 2016

Academic Editor: Coralie Sengenès

Copyright © 2016 Shoichiro Kokabu 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.


Osteoblasts and bone marrow adipocytes originate from bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BMMSCs) and there appears to be a reciprocal relationship between adipogenesis and osteoblastogenesis. Alterations in the balance between adipogenesis and osteoblastogenesis in BMMSCs wherein adipogenesis is increased relative to osteoblastogenesis are associated with decreased bone quality and quantity. Several proteins have been reported to regulate this reciprocal relationship but the exact nature of the signals regulating the balance between osteoblast and adipocyte formation within the bone marrow space remains to be determined. In this review, we focus on the role of Transducin-Like Enhancer of Split 3 (TLE3), which was recently reported to regulate the balance between osteoblast and adipocyte formation from BMMSCs. We also discuss evidence implicating canonical Wnt signalling, which plays important roles in both adipogenesis and osteoblastogenesis, in regulating TLE3 expression. Currently, there is demand for new effective therapies that target the stimulation of osteoblast differentiation to enhance bone formation. We speculate that reducing TLE3 expression or activity in BMMSCs could be a useful approach towards increasing osteoblast numbers and reducing adipogenesis in the bone marrow environment.