Treatment for articular cartilage damage is quite challenging as it shows limited repair and regeneration following injury. Non-operative and classical surgical techniques are inefficient in restoring normal anatomy and function of cartilage in osteoarthritis (OA). Thus, investigating new and effective strategies for OA are necessary to establish feasible therapeutic solutions. The emergence of the new discipline of regenerative medicine, having cell-based therapy as its primary focus, may enable us to achieve repair and restore the damaged articular cartilage. This review describes progress and development of employing mesenchymal stromal cell (MSC)-based therapy as a promising alternative for OA treatment. The objective of this review is to first, discuss how in vitro MSC chondrogenic differentiation mimics in vivo embryonic cartilage development, secondly, to describe various chondrogenic differentiation strategies followed by pre-clinical and clinical studies demonstrating their feasibility and efficacy. However, several challenges need to be tackled before this research can be translated to the clinics. In particular, better understanding of the post-transplanted cell behaviour and learning to enhance their potency in the disease microenvironment is essential. Final objective is to underscore the importance of isolation, storage, cell shipment, route of administration, optimum dosage and control batch to batch variations to realise the full potential of MSCs in OA clinical trials.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.