There is currently no highly effective treatment option for bone regeneration, so finding a way to regenerate bone has become a major focus in the field of tissue engineering. A recent study aimed to determine which of three different types of mesenchymal stem cells has the most promise for helping to regenerate bone in those who suffer from bone diseases like osteoporosis, caner, and Paget’s disease. The three types of mesenchymal stem cells that were investigated were bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells, Wharton’s jelly mesenchymal stem cells, and adipose mesenchymal stem cells.
The researchers found that all mesenchymal cell types regenerated bone. The lamellar bone defect sites they observed were filled in with fully mature bone several weeks after stem cell transplantation. Bone regeneration was time-dependent, with more bone growth observed the more time that went by after transplantation over the 12-week observation period. Transplantation of each cell type was also associated with an increase in inflammatory cells right after transplantation but no more inflammation after 4 weeks.
Overall, the bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells appeared to be best for regenerating bone, and the adipose mesenchymal stem cells appeared least promising. This stem cell type led to bone mineralization and to thicker connective tissue than the other two mesenchymal stem cell types. Umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells and adipose mesenchymal stem cells led to similar connective tissue thickness.
Umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells were better than the other two types of mesenchymal stem cells in one respect – they were better for the formation of new blood vessels. Blood vessel formation is critical during the regeneration of tissue because these vessels enable the transportation of both nutrients and waste.
These results help to clarify the relative advantages of different types of mesenchymal stem cells in bone regeneration. Given that both bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells and umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells provided specific and unique benefits, future research may explore how to combine the use of these stem cell types in developing treatments for bone diseases.