Bone Marrow-Derived Stem Cell Sources Compared (AAEP 2011)

Aspiration site should depend on clinician preference, as the cells from both sites behave similarly.

Stem cell source site has been debated among researchers in recent years as stem cells have been gaining popularity in equine medicine. A research group at Colorado State University recently compared the use of bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells from two sites on the horse’s body to determine which might be most effective for treating specific soft tissue injuries. Laurie Goodrich, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVS, presented results at the 2011 American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention, held Nov. 18-22 in San Antonio, Texas.

According to Goodrich, stem cells are particularly useful for treating tissues such as joints and tendons-these tissues lack regenerative capability due to a deficiency in local stem cell response. Stem cells have been derived from adipose tissue (fat) and bone-marrow. However, for tendon healing, bone marrow-derived cells yield better matrix and collagen production, she noted.

The research team compared bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BM-MSCs) from the two most common extraction sites in the horse: the sternum (breastbone) and the ilium (hip). For BM-MSC therapy to be effective, Goodrich said two aspects are crucial: using large numbers of cells (roughly 5-10 million cells/centimeter in tendon and 5-10 million cells/joint) and implanting the cells early during the critical period between the inflammatory and fibroblastic phases of healing.

Goodrich discussed previously noted advantages and disadvantages for each

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Written by:

Christy Corp-Minamiji, DVM, practices large animal medicine in Northern California, with particular interests in equine wound management and geriatric equine care. She and her husband have three children, and she writes fiction and creative nonfiction in her spare time.

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