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THE therapeutic potential of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) has gradually gained recognition (Crovace and others 2008, Guercio and others 2012). Due to the scarcity of MSCs (Caplan 2007), ex vivo expansion is necessary to obtain sufficient numbers for clinical applications. For some injuries, stem cell therapy is reported to be more effective when applied in a timely manner (Park and others 2011). Moreover, because histocompatibility matching is not required for MSC application (Kornblit and others 2013), it is increasingly recognised that MSCs could be manufactured as off-the-shelf products for allotransplantation.
Currently, bone marrow-derived MSCs (BMSCs) and adipose tissue-derived MSCs are the most prevalent MSCs in clinical trials (Strioga and others 2012). Although MSCs from various sources share many biological features, differences are reported in their immunophenotype, proliferative capacity, differentiation potential and gene expression profile. Consequently, their utility and effectiveness for medical applications may differ. For example, BMSCs in humans, horses and dogs show superior chondrogenic or osteogenic potential to adipose tissue-derived MSCs in vitro (Huang and others 2005, Sakaguchi and others 2005, Vidal and others 2008, Alves and others 2014).
The accessibility of the MSC sources may also influence their application. Although carrying minimal risks, BM aspiration is an invasive procedure. In contrast, adipose tissue-derived MSCs can be isolated from adipose tissue removed during lipectomy and liposuction, turning medical waste into a valuable source of MSCs for allotransplantation (Strioga and others 2012). Furthermore, researchers continue to discover alternative sources of MCSs, such as isolating MSCs from the trabecular bones of human patients undergoing hip arthroplasty (Leonardi and others 2008, Coipeau and others 2009).
In addition to the abovementioned MSC sources, in veterinary medicine, deceased donors, including euthanased animals from shelters, may be a potential source of MSCs. Nevertheless, determining the donor eligibility of …