Int J Stem Cells.  2021 May;14(2):150-167. 10.15283/ijsc20167.

Mesenchymal Stem Cell and MicroRNA Therapy of Musculoskeletal Diseases

  • 1Department of Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Kyungpook National University, Daegu, Korea
  • 2Stem Cell Therapeutic Research Institute, Kyungpook National University, Daegu, Korea
  • 3School of Medicine, Kyungpook National University, Daegu, Korea
  • 4Department of Food Science & Biotechnology, Kyungpook National University, Daegu, Korea


The therapeutic effects of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in musculoskeletal diseases (MSDs) have been verified in many human and animal studies. Although some tissues contain MSCs, the number of cells harvested from those tissues and rate of proliferation in vitro are not enough for continuous transplantation. In order to produce and maintain stable MSCs, many attempts are made to induce differentiation from pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) into MSCs. In particular, it is also known that the paracrine action of stem cell-secreted factors could promote the regeneration and differentiation of target cells in damaged tissue. MicroRNAs (miRNAs), one of the secreted factors, are small non-coding RNAs that regulate the translation of a gene. It is known that miRNAs help communication between stem cells and their surrounding niches through exosomes to regulate the proliferation and differentiation of stem cells. While studies have so far been underway targeting therapeutic miRNAs of MSDs, studies on specific miRNAs secreted from MSCs are still minimal. Hence, our ultimate goal is to obtain sufficient amounts of exosomes from iPSC-MSCs and develop them into therapeutic agents, furthermore to select specific miRNAs and provide safe cell-free clinical setting as a cell-free status with purpose of delivering them to target cells. This review article focuses on stem cell therapy on MSDs, specific microRNAs regulating MSDs and updates on novel approaches.


Mesenchymal stem cells; Induced pluripotent stem cells; Cell therapy; Musculoskeletal disorder; MicroRNA; Exosome
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