Calvarial defects pose a continued clinical dilemma for reconstruction. Advancements within the fields of stem cell biology and tissue engineering have enabled researchers to develop reconstructive strategies using animal models. We review the utility of various animal models and focus on the mouse, which has aided investigators in understanding cranial development and calvarial bone healing. The murine model has also been used to study regenerative approaches to critical-sized calvarial defects, and we discuss the application of stem cells such as bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal cells, adipose-derived stromal cells, muscle-derived stem cells, and pluripotent stem cells to address deficient bone in this animal. Finally, we highlight strategies to manipulate stem cells using various growth factors and inhibitors and ultimately how these factors may prove crucial in future advancements within calvarial reconstruction using native skeletal stem cells.
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