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World J Stem Cells. Jan 26, 2014; 6(1): 24-32
Published online Jan 26, 2014. doi: 10.4252/wjsc.v6.i1.24
Role of mesenchymal stem cells in cell life and their signaling
Shihori Tanabe
Shihori Tanabe, National Institute of Health Sciences, Tokyo 158-8501, Japan
Author contributions: Tanabe S solely contributed to this paper.
Correspondence to: Shihori Tanabe, PhD, National Institute of Health Sciences, 1-18-1, Kami-yoga, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 158-8501, Japan.
Telephone: +81-3-37001141 Fax: +81-3-37076950
Received: October 10, 2013
Revised: November 18, 2013
Accepted: December 12, 2013
Published online: January 26, 2014

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have various roles in the body and cellular environment, and the cellular phenotypes of MSCs changes in different conditions. MSCs support the maintenance of other cells, and the capacity of MSCs to differentiate into several cell types makes the cells unique and full of possibilities. The involvement of MSCs in the epithelial-mesenchymal transition is an important property of these cells. In this review, the role of MSCs in cell life, including their application in therapy, is first described, and the signaling mechanism of MSCs is investigated for a further understanding of these cells.

Keywords: Mesenchymal stem cell, Differentiation, Stem cell, Application, Self-renewal

Core tip: Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are important cells that have a differentiation and self-renewal capacity and an immune-modulation function. MSCs differentiate into osteogenic-, adipogenic-, chondrogenic- and other cells. The application of MSCs in many situations, such as disease treatment, is full of possibilities for future development. The gene and protein expression and cellular phenotypes of MSCs are described.