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Stem Cells International
Volume 2017, Article ID 6843727, 10 pages
Review Article

Infrapatellar Fat Pad Stem Cells: From Developmental Biology to Cell Therapy

1Tissue Engineering Research Group, Department of Anatomy, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin, Ireland
2CNC, Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology, University of Coimbra, 3004-517 Coimbra, Portugal
3Trinity Centre for Bioengineering, Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
4Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering School of Engineering, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
5Advanced Materials and Bioengineering Research Centre (AMBER), Trinity College Dublin & Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin, Ireland

Correspondence should be addressed to Ronaldo J. F. C. do Amaral; ei.iscr@laramaodlanor

Received 26 May 2017; Accepted 3 August 2017; Published 6 September 2017

Academic Editor: Celeste Scotti

Copyright © 2017 Ronaldo J. F. C. do Amaral 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 ideal cell type to be used for cartilage therapy should possess a proven chondrogenic capacity, not cause donor-site morbidity, and should be readily expandable in culture without losing their phenotype. There are several cell sources being investigated to promote cartilage regeneration: mature articular chondrocytes, chondrocyte progenitors, and various stem cells. Most recently, stem cells isolated from joint tissue, such as chondrogenic stem/progenitors from cartilage itself, synovial fluid, synovial membrane, and infrapatellar fat pad (IFP) have gained great attention due to their increased chondrogenic capacity over the bone marrow and subcutaneous adipose-derived stem cells. In this review, we first describe the IFP anatomy and compare and contrast it with other adipose tissues, with a particular focus on the embryological and developmental aspects of the tissue. We then discuss the recent advances in IFP stem cells for regenerative medicine. We compare their properties with other stem cell types and discuss an ontogeny relationship with other joint cells and their role on in vivo cartilage repair. We conclude with a perspective for future clinical trials using IFP stem cells.