Improvements in medical care, nutrition and social care are resulting in a commendable change in world population demographics with an ever increasing skew towards an aging population. As the proportion of the world's population that is considered elderly increases, so does the incidence of osteodegenerative disease and the resultant burden on healthcare. The increasing demand coupled with the limitations of contemporary approaches, have provided the impetus to develop novel tissue regeneration therapies. The use of stem cells, with their potential for self-renewal and differentiation, is one potential solution. Adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs), which are relatively easy to harvest and readily available have emerged as an ideal candidate. In this review, we explore the potential for ASCs to provide tangible therapies for craniofacial and long bone skeletal defects, outline key signaling pathways that direct these cells and describe how the developmental signaling program may provide clues on how to guide these cells in vivo. This review also provides an overview of the importance of establishing an osteogenic microniche using appropriately customized scaffolds and delineates some of the key challenges that still need to be overcome for adult stem cell skeletal regenerative therapy to become a clinical reality.
View details for PubMedID 24865492