Nature or Nurture: Innate versus Cultured Mesenchymal Stem Cells for Tissue Regeneration

Alvaro Santamaria, Greg Asatrian, William C.W. Chen, Aaron W. James, Winters Hardy, Kang Ting, Arnold I. Caplan, Chia Soo, Bruno Péault

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been and remain very popular among cell therapists and tissue engineers, as shown by the use thereof in over 500 clinical trials. This success is justified by the diverse positive contributions exerted by MSCs toward tissue (re)generation and repair as tissue progenitors, proangiogenic cells, immunosuppressors, and supportive cells for lineage-committed stem cells. MSCs are, in addition, remarkably easy to isolate since MSC extraction is a mere primary culture of unselected dissociated cells. While convenient, indirect selection in long-term culture has long obscured the native biologic identity and tissue distribution of mesenchymal stem cells. It is only in recent years that perivascular cells - pericytes and cells of the tunica adventitia - have been identified as natural contributors of MSCs. Perivascular cells purified to homogeneity by flow cytometry show outstanding repair ability in bone and other tissues. Herein, we briefly review the medical utilization of conventional, culture-derived MSCs and discuss whether these should be, in some indications, advantageously replaced by their prospectively selected perivascular ancestors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationTranslating Regenerative Medicine to the Clinic
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9780128005521
ISBN (Print)9780128005484
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Cell therapy regulation
  • Crohn's disease
  • Graft-versus-Host disease
  • Mesenchymal stem cell
  • Myocardial Infarction
  • Osteogenesis
  • Osteogenesis Imperfecta
  • Pericyte
  • Tunica adventitia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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