Published online Aug 26, 2019. doi: 10.4252/wjsc.v11.i8.464
Peer-review started: February 20, 2019
First decision: April 15, 2019
Revised: May 28, 2019
Accepted: June 12, 2019
Article in press: June 12, 2019
Published online: August 26, 2019
Mesenchymal stem cells are undifferentiated cells able to acquire different phenotypes under specific stimuli. In vitro manipulation of these cells is focused on understanding stem cell behavior, proliferation and pluripotency. Latest advances in the field of stem cells concern epigenetics and its role in maintaining self-renewal and differentiation capabilities. Chemical and physical stimuli can modulate cell commitment, acting on gene expression of Oct-4, Sox-2 and Nanog, the main stemness markers, and tissue-lineage specific genes. This activation or repression is related to the activity of chromatin-remodeling factors and epigenetic regulators, new targets of many cell therapies. The aim of this review is to afford a view of the current state of in vitro and in vivo stem cell applications, highlighting the strategies used to influence stem cell commitment for current and future cell therapies. Identifying the molecular mechanisms controlling stem cell fate could open up novel strategies for tissue repairing processes and other clinical applications.
Core tip: The latest advances in the field of stem cells concern epigenetics and its role in self-renewal and differentiation capability. Activation or silencing of genes controlling stemness and tissue-lineage specification are related to chromatin-remodeling factors and epigenetic regulators. In this review, we focused on the principal epigenetic markers that regulate stem cell pluripotency, in vitro manipulation and the current state-of-the-art in vivo applications of human mesenchymal stem cells.