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Differentiation to Lineages
Cell Lineage
Ease of Differentiation
++ In vivo
Smooth muscle
+ In vivo
Neural lineages
+ In vivo
+ In vivo
mesenchymal lineages, has not been isolated (although some reports for a
mouse hemangioblast appear in the literature). So, here again the MSCs do
not satisfy this criterion as an MSC. With an appreciation of such limita-
tions, MSCs still provide a remarkable research tool for understanding stem
cells and a powerful therapeutic agent for tissue regeneration and immune
An important concept for studying stem cells of any kind is whether we ana-
lyze the qualities of stem cells with in vitro assays or in vivo assays. What is
needed is to demonstrate the properties of stem cells with high fidelity, in con-
trolled, reproducible conditions, while recognizing that proper differentiation
and regeneration will need to occur in the context of healing tissue. In vitro stud-
ies remove the complexity of the in vivo setting but have their limits to impart
understanding about the roles of stem cells in vivo . While the in vivo studies have
much greater experimental complexity, this limits our ability to extract under-
standing about the input of stem cells. Therefore, by combining results from in
vitro and in vivo experiments, the most insight into understanding MSCs can be
gained. In this regard, the labeling and imaging techniques in this topic provide
the most comprehensive view of assembled data available for MSCs.
2.3 Early Studies on Bone-Forming Cells
Early studies by Marshall Urist showed that when pieces of bone were implanted,
surrounding cells formed new bone; this work eventually led to the identifica-
tion of bone morphogenic proteins (BMPs) (Urist 2009; Urist and McLean 1952).
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