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Biomaterials and Gene Therapy: A Smart Combination for MSC Musculoskeletal Engineering

[ Vol. 14 , Issue. 4 ]


Benjamin Mesure, Patrick Menu, Jagadeesh K. Venkatesan, Magali Cucchiarini and Émilie Velot*   Pages 337 - 343 ( 7 )


Musculoskeletal pathologies, especially those affecting bones and joints, remain a challenge for regenerative medicine. The main difficulties affecting bone tissue engineering are the size of the defects, the need for blood vessels and the synthesis of appropriate matrix elements in the engineered tissue. Indeed, the cartilage is an avascular tissue and consequently has limited regenerative abilities. Thanks to their self-renewal, plasticity and immunomodulatory properties, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) became a central player in tissue engineering, and have already been shown to be able to differentiate towards chondrogenic or osteogenic phenotypes. Whether synthetic (e.g. tricalcium phosphate) or from natural sources (e.g. hyaluronic acid), biomaterials can be shaped to fit into bone and cartilage defects to ensure mechanical resistance and may also be designed to control cell spatial distribution or differentiation. Soluble factors are classically used to promote cell differentiation and to stimulate extracellular matrix synthesis to achieve the desired tissue production. But as they have a limited lifetime, transfection using plasmid DNA or transduction via a viral vector of therapeutic genes to induce the cell secretion of these factors allows to have more lasting effects. Also, the chondrocyte phenotype may be difficult to control over time, with for example the production of hypertrophic or osteogenic markers that is undesirable in hyaline cartilage. Thus, tissue regeneration strategies became more elaborate, with an attempt at associating the benefits of MSCs, biomaterials, and gene therapy to achieve a proper tissue repair. This minireview focuses on in vitro and in vivo studies combining biomaterials and gene therapy associated with MSCs for bone and cartilage engineering.


Musculoskeletal lesions, MSCs, gene therapy, biomaterials, bone tissue engineering, cartilage tissue engineering.


UMR 7365 CNRS-UL IMoPA, Universite de Lorraine, Nancy, UMR 7365 CNRS-UL IMoPA, Universite de Lorraine, Nancy, Center of Experimental Orthopaedics, Saarland University Medical Center, Homburg, Center of Experimental Orthopaedics, Saarland University Medical Center, Homburg, UMR 7365 CNRS-UL IMoPA, Universite de Lorraine, Nancy

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