INTRODUCTION: Cell-based therapies exploit the heterogeneous and self-sufficient biological environment of stem cells to restore, maintain and improve tissue functions. Adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs) are, to this aim, promising cell types thanks to advantageous isolation procedures, growth kinetics, plasticity and trophic properties. Specifically, bone regeneration represents a suitable, though often challenging, target setting to test and apply ASC-based therapeutic strategies. Areas covered: ASCs are extremely plastic and secrete bioactive peptides that mediate paracrine functions, mediating their trophic actions in vivo. Numerous preclinical studies demonstrated that ASCs improve bone healing. Clinical trials are ongoing to validate the clinical feasibility of these approaches. This review is intended to define the state-of-the-art on ASCs, encompassing the biological features that make them suitable for bone regenerative strategies, and to provide an update on existing preclinical and clinical applications. Expert opinion: ASCs offer numerous advantages over other stem cells in terms of feasibility of clinical translation. Data obtained from in vivo experimentation are encouraging, and clinical trials are ongoing. More robust validations are thus expected to be achieved during the next few years, and will likely pave the way to optimized patient-tailored treatments for bone regeneration.
- adipose tissue, lipoaspirate, stem cells