Nomenclature and heterogeneity: consequences for the use of mesenchymal stem cells in regenerative medicine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are in development for many clinical indications, based both on “stem” properties (tissue repair or regeneration) and on signalling repertoire (immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory effects). Potential conflation of MSC properties with those of tissue-derived stromal cells presents difficulties in comparing study outcomes and represents a source of confusion in cell therapy development. Cultured MSCs demonstrate significant heterogeneity in clonogenicity and multi-lineage differentiation potential. However in vivo biology of MSCs includes native functions unrelated to regenerative medicine applications, so do nomenclature and heterogeneity matter? In this perspective we examine some consequences of the nomenclature debate and heterogeneity of MSCs. Regulatory expectations are considered, emphasising that product development should prioritise detailed characterisation of therapeutic cell populations for specific indications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)595-611
Issue number6
Early online date22 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019

Bibliographical note

© 2019 AJ Wilson, AJ Webster, PG Genever

Cite this