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Highly Accessed Review

Growth factor regulation of proliferation and survival of multipotential stromal cells

Melanie Rodrigues1, Linda G Griffith2 and Alan Wells1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh, S713 Scaife Hall, 3550 Terrace Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15261 USA

2 Department of Biological Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT16-429, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139 USA

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Stem Cell Research & Therapy 2010, 1:32  doi:10.1186/scrt32

Published: 26 October 2010

Abstract

Multipotential stromal cells (MSCs) have been touted to provide an alternative to conservative procedures of therapy, be it heart transplants, bone reconstruction, kidney grafts, or skin, neuronal and cartilage repair. A wide gap exists, however, between the number of MSCs that can be obtained from the donor site and the number of MSCs needed for implantation to regenerate tissue. Standard methods of MSC expansion being followed in laboratories are not fully suitable due to time and age-related constraints for autologous therapies, and transplant issues leave questions for allogenic therapies. Beyond these issues of sufficient numbers, there also exists a problem of MSC survival at the graft. Experiments in small animals have shown that MSCs do not persist well in the graft environment. Either there is no incorporation into the host tissue, or, if there is incorporation, most of the cells are lost within a month. The use of growth and other trophic factors may be helpful in counteracting these twin issues of MSC expansion and death. Growth factors are known to influence cell proliferation, motility, survival and morphogenesis. In the case of MSCs, it would be beneficial that the growth factor does not induce differentiation at an early stage since the number of early-differentiating progenitors would be very low. The present review looks at the effect of and downstream signaling of various growth factors on proliferation and survival in MSCs.