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Stem Cell Rev. 2011 Sep;7(3):569-89. doi: 10.1007/s12015-011-9228-8.

Bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells: biological properties and their role in hematopoiesis and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.

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Department of Hematology, University of Crete School of Medicine, Heraklion, Crete, Greece.


Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are multipotent adult stem cells that are present in practically all tissues as a specialized population of mural cells/pericytes that lie on the abluminal side of blood vessels. Originally identified within the bone marrow (BM) stroma, not only do they provide microenvironmental support for hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), but can also differentiate into various mesodermal lineages. MSCs can easily be isolated from the BM and subsequently expand in vitro and in addition they exhibit intriguing immunomodulatory properties, thereby emerging as attractive candidates for various therapeutic applications. This review addresses the concept of BM MSCs via a hematologist's point of view. In this context it discusses the stem cell properties that have been attributed to BM MSCs, as compared to those of the prototypic hematopoietic stem cell model and then gives a brief overview of the in vitro and vivo features of the former, emphasizing on their immunoregulatory properties and their hematopoiesis-supporting role. In addition, the qualitative and quantitative characteristics of BM MSCs within the context of a defective microenvironment, such as the one characterizing Myelodysplastic Syndromes are described and the potential involvement of these cells in the pathophysiology of the disease is discussed. Finally, emerging clinical applications of BM MSCs in the field of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation are reviewed and potential hazards from MSC use are outlined.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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