Infrapatellar Fat Pad Stem Cells: From Developmental Biology to Cell therapy.
The ideal cell type to be used for cartilage therapy should possess a proven chondrogenic capacity, not cause donor-site morbidity, and should be readily expandable in culture without losing their phenotype. There are several cell sources being investigated to promote cartilage regeneration: mature articular chondrocytes, chondrocyte progenitors, and various stem cells. Most recently, stem cells isolated from joint tissue, such as chondrogenic stem/progenitors from cartilage itself, synovial fluid, synovial membrane, and infrapatellar fat pad (IFP) have gained great attention due to their increased chondrogenic capacity over the bone marrow and subcutaneous adipose-derived stem cells. In this review, we first describe the IFP anatomy and compare and contrast it with other adipose tissues, with a particular focus on the embryological and developmental aspects of the tissue. We then discuss the recent advances in IFP stem cells for regenerative medicine. We compare their properties with other stem cell types and discuss an ontogeny relationship with other joint cells and their role on in vivo cartilage repair. We conclude with a perspective for future clinical trials using IFP stem cells.