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Stem Cells International
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 3537094, 27 pages
Review Article

Mesenchymal Stem Cells for the Treatment of Spinal Arthrodesis: From Preclinical Research to Clinical Scenario

1Laboratory of Preclinical and Surgical Studies, Rizzoli Orthopedic Institute, Bologna, Italy
2Laboratory of Biocompatibility, Technological Innovations and Advanced Therapies, Rizzoli Research Innovation Technology Department, Rizzoli Orthopedic Institute, Bologna, Italy
3Department of Oncological and Degenerative Spine Surgery, Rizzoli Orthopedic Institute, Bologna, Italy

Correspondence should be addressed to M. Sartori

Received 23 September 2016; Accepted 5 January 2017; Published 13 February 2017

Academic Editor: Marco Tatullo

Copyright © 2017 F. Salamanna 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.


The use of spinal fusion procedures has rapidly augmented over the last decades and although autogenous bone graft is the “gold standard” for these procedures, alternatives to its use have been investigated over many years. A number of emerging strategies as well as tissue engineering with mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been planned to enhance spinal fusion rate. This descriptive systematic literature review summarizes the in vivo studies, dealing with the use of MSCs in spinal arthrodesis surgery and the state of the art in clinical applications. The review has yielded promising evidence supporting the use of MSCs as a cell-based therapy in spinal fusion procedures, thus representing a suitable biological approach able to reduce the high cost of osteoinductive factors as well as the high dose needed to induce bone formation. Nevertheless, despite the fact that MSCs therapy is an interesting and important opportunity of research, in this review it was detected that there are still doubts about the optimal cell concentration and delivery method as well as the ideal implantation techniques and the type of scaffolds for cell delivery. Thus, further inquiry is necessary to carefully evaluate the clinical safety and efficacy of MSCs use in spine fusion.