From the February 2011 Issue of Stem Cells
Paper commentary by Stuart Atkinson
The correct and efficient differentiation of pluripotent cell types to clinically relevant cell types is a major common goal in stem cell biology. Recent advances in induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technologies have put the prize of patient-specific stem cells for autologous cellular therapy firmly within biomedical sciences’ grasp. The regeneration of the musculoskeletal system is one such system in which iPSC technology could have a great impact. Current strategies involve bone autografts and autologous transplantation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) from the bone marrow, but both have severe limitations. Bone autografts are invasive and have a high morbidity rate (Arrington et al.) and while autologous MSCs exhibit great potential for musculoskeletal regeneration, their proliferative potential decreases greatly with age, perhaps limiting this type of therapy to younger patients (Stenderup et al.). The potential of iPSCs to be differentiated to MSCs has been demonstrated previously (Lian et al.), and indeed these iPSC-derived MSCs were shown to contribute to tissue regeneration more than bone marrow-derived MSCs in a rodent model of hind limb ischemia. Moreover, the MSCs generated in this particular study were able to proliferate for 120 population doublings with no observable karyotypic abnormalities, overall making iPSC-derived MSCs a very attractive proposition. Now,Bilousova et al. from the laboratory of Susan M. Majka at the University of Colorado, Denver in the forthcoming edition of Stem Cells extend these previous studies to further evaluate the potential of iPSCs for use in the regeneration of the musculoskeletal system.