Mesenchymal stem cells: From regeneration to cancer.

Peishan Li
Zheng Gong
Leonard D. Shultz, The Jackson Laboratory
Guangwen Ren, The Jackson Laboratory

We appreciate critical reading of the manuscript by Drs. Stephen D. Krasinski, Nadia A. Rosenthal and Edison T. Liu.


Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are multipotent tissue stem cells that differentiate into a number of mesodermal tissue types, including osteoblasts, adipocytes, chondrocytes and myofibroblasts. MSCs were originally identified in the bone marrow (BM) of humans and other mammals, but recent studies have shown that they are multilineage progenitors in various adult organs and tissues. MSCs that localize at perivascular sites function to rapidly respond to external stimuli and coordinate with the vascular and immune systems to accomplish the wound healing process. Cancer, considered as wounds that never heal, is also accompanied by changes in MSCs that parallels the wound healing response. MSCs are now recognized as key players at distinct steps of tumorigenesis. In this review, we provide an overview of the function of MSCs in wound healing and cancer progression with the goal of providing insight into the development of novel MSC-manipulating strategies for clinical cancer treatment.