The Role of Bone Marrow-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Sports Injuries

Updated September 13, 2022

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The Role of Bone Marrow-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Sports Injuries essay

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Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are defined as self-renewing and multipotent cells capable of differentiating into multiple cell types, it includes osteocytes, adipocytes, hepatocytes, cardiomyocytes, neurons, myocytes, and chondrocytes. Originally isolated from bone marrow stroma, MSCs have been recently detected in other tissues, such as epidermis, fat and cord blood. Several approaches are employed to isolate MSC.

Human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) contribute to the mesenchymal tissue regeneration and are important for promoting the expansion and differentiation of primitive Hemopoietic cells in the microenvironment of the bone marrow. Mesenchymal stem cells have generated excellent interest in many clinical settings, including regenerative medicine, immune modulation and tissue engineering. Bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BM-MSCs) are used as treatment to varied soft tissues susceptible to sport-related injuries. The injection of BM-MSCs in the defect directly is one of the strategies used. Although it’s a way of minimal invasiveness, it’s limitations that are addressed with the utilisation of scaffolds.

Bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BM-MSCs) play a vital role in tissue repair after injuries of the musculoskeletal system. Fat, cartilage and bone can derive from their differentiation Musculoskeletal injuries commonly occur during sports. Innovative and more efficient treatment modalities are therefore under research, and BM-MSCs might be one among them. Bone, cartilage, ligament, tendon, muscle and meniscus are the tissues that are usually affected during sports injuries.


Too much muscle overload can occur during sports. Therefore, injuries varying from strain to muscle tears can occur, and therefore the mobility of the patient are often impaired. Strains of the hamstrings had an incidence of 86.4 for each 10,000 player hours in three seasons in Australian football.

BM-MSCs are primarily responsible for muscle repair and remodeling. These multi-force cells migrate to the renewed muscles and form a group of cells with the potential to differentiate into muscles. In more severe injuries BM-MSC maintains the group of muscle precursors at a more advanced stage of differentiation. Their effects on stem cells are however given systematically. It is minimal and proved ineffective in the treatment of sport-related injurie.

In contrast, MSCs derived from human adipose tissue (AT) were more efficient in muscle generation than MSCs derived from bone marrow (BM) and the synovial membrane (SM), as shown in a recent three-donor study. Its myogenic potential, together with the non-demanding harvest, makes AT-MSCs the optimal source of multipotent cells.

Muscle repair by BM-MSCs occurs in adults as a phased process, Two distinct biological factors stimulate a response to BM-MSC. BM-MSCs have the ability to occupy the niche of stem cells in the muscle following irradiation-induced damage that caused the ablation of resident cells. Additionally, after exercise-generated damage, multinucleated muscle fibers showed regeneration in which BM-MSCs played a role at a much higher frequency than any other reported for bone marrow conversion to muscle. This suggests that BM-MSCs could serve as a supply of cells to repair damaged muscles.


Some tendons serve a binary function of transmitting muscle force and storing elastic energy a good example is the Achilles tendon, which is crucial in longdistance running and suffering from tiredness and rupture after prolonged cyclic loading.  In a study of partial tendon ruptures, three quarters of the injuries were caused during sports activities involving sprinting and jumping repeatedly in a 14.9 odds ratio compared to controls. On the other hand, tendinopathy of the Achilles tendon is more common in endurance runners with an equivalent ratio of 31.

The mechanical properties of MSC-treated tendons subjected to cyclic loading could also be improved also. Acellular paw flexor tendons in rabbits were divided in three groups: normal tendons, tendons reseeded with MSCs and tendons reseeded with fibroblasts . one-half were subjected to cycle loading and 50 there have been immobilised for five days. The tendons under loading showed significantly higher modulus of elasticity and supreme tensile stress compared to all or any the incubated tendons and similar values to the fresh tendons that underwent cyclical loading.


During vigorous movement in sports, ligaments function attain joint stability and normal tracking. The proprioceptors contained therein also provide input into the central nervous system. This is how complex patterns of motion are realized in sports .

Athletes are commonly injured by anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments (ACL and MCL, respectively). An ACL injury mechanism could either be a direct valgus force on the knee, or torsional stress on the ground or during landing with the foot firm. The incidence of ACL injury in Denmark ‘s population is 3/10,000 per year, and more common in athletes. They are the most frequent injuries in Sweden in some sports, reaching 43 % in soccer. they’re potentially career-changing injuries, as 3 years post injury only half-hour of soccer athletes continue playing. apart from their career-ending severity, injuries in ligaments increase implications like osteoarthritis within the future.

Successful treatment is crucial to athletes for their adequate recovery and return to sport. Operative treatment is a reasonable choice in partial or complete tears. It can be performed either by reconstruction with the utilisation of intra- or extraarticular tendon autografts and the expected morbidity of the donor site or by direct repair with sutures . BM-MSCs could potentially be used because the main treatment or as an adjunct to other treatments currently in use. BM-MSCs have shown greater production of collagen and proliferation compared to skin and ACL fibroblasts. On the downside, these conclusions are reached after testing on one animal only .

Clear evidence has been presented in favour of BM-MSCs as cell source for ligament reconstruction, as they improve their histological, physiological and biomechanical properties. BM-MSCs are applied as treatment in various ways with equivalent results that highlight their potential.


High-demand sports like running submit bone to loading cycles of high impact. The multiple microfractures that are caused this way can progress to larger size splits. Stress fractures have an incidence of 21.1 % in athletes annually and represent 20 % of the injuries of the musculoskeletal system. Jumps, sprints and hurdles are frequently associated with foot fractures. Pelvic and long-bone fractures are related to long- and middle-distance running.

The average duration of the healing process in closed fractures of the tibia is 28 weeks. Fast treatment with good results is mandatory for athletes, as they stand back from training during that period. the standard and speed of fracture healing with the potential aid of BM-MSCs has been studied.

Presently, bone autografts are the treatment of choice for sizeable bone defects. Nevertheless, there’s a limit to the available quantity, and the donor site morbidity is an problem, including functional impairment, infection and nerve injury. Scaffolds seeded with BM-MSCs are a special option providing more safety and fewer morbidity, and there’s evidence that deposition of new bone, biomechanical properties of the callus and duration of the healing process are all satisfactory.


The main function of the menisci is to disperse loads over a bigger surface, reducing the stress to the cartilage within the joints and thus decreasing the osteoarthritis risk. They also participate in articular lubrication and through loading they play a shock-absorbing role. Their structural properties render them efficient in resisting stress in rotation, translation and compression. In ACL- or PCL-deficient knees, stability is provided by the menisci.

An ACL injury has an accompanying meniscal tear in 62 % of cases (20). in contact sports, the mixture of ACL, MCL and medial meniscal tears forms the O’Donoghue triad. Injuries within the red (vascular) zone of the meniscus have a good healing potential, as against injuries within the white (avascular) zone. Allografts are used to address that issue with inconsistent results. Cell isolation from the injured region after resection is another option, but with poor cell quality and quantity. Replacement with prostheses is under investigation with encouraging leads to animal studies. BM-MSC scaffolds are a different treatment proposal in current research.


Articular surfaces are immune to wear and friction is minimal due to the presence of cartilage. Their capacity to bear loading and absorb shock is high when, during sport activity, intense mechanical forces are applied in joints . Sporting activity is that the cause of 49 % of lesions in articular cartilage. The cartilage healing potential after damage is low, and little defects may cause gradual degeneration and subsequently osteoarthritis. Treatment which will promote healing is therefore essential to preserve joint function in the long term.

Treatment methods currently applied like osteochondral autografts, arthroscopic repair and ACI (autologous chondrocyte implantation) have promising results but have significant disadvantages. The results of BM-MSCs and ACI were compared. Both methods showed significant improvement clinically with similar success rates. Thus, their effectiveness in cartilage healing is equal clinically, but stem cells have the advantages of lower invasiveness and morbidity of the donor site, one anaesthesia instead of two and reduced cost. Production of repair tissue is induced by microfractures or abrasion arthroplasty. However, its fibrous nature leads to different morphological and functional properties. Likewise, the size of the defect and the morbidity at the donor site  limit the transfer of osteochondral blocks. Therefore, alternative BM-MSC treatment has been applied in studies so as to overcome such limitations.

Unlike current treatments for cartilage injuries, the advantage of BM-MSCs is that the potential to treat larger defects, with less invasive methods and with final repair tissue resembling more to normal cartilage. altogether studies, regeneration of subchondral bone was achieved, but the quality of the regenerated cartilage varied. the applying of scaffolds is a promising alternative for future treatment methods, because it enhances the somatic cell positive effects. Nevertheless, these suggested procedures have significant disadvantages that require to be addressed before clinical application.


Osteoarthritis (OA) is both a cause also because of the results of injury during sport. Common injuries of this category like ACL ruptures have an impact on the biomechanics of the medial aspect of the knee, putting the medial meniscus under stress and resulting in early OA of the medial compartment. Athletes participating in power, endurance and mixed sports are 2.5 times more likely to seek hospital care for OA as inpatients. at the present there’s no evidence for any effective therapy for OA, and BM-MSCs are considered to be a possible treatment method.

BM-MSCs can’t be considered treatment for OA , as they’re able to slightly slow down the degenerative process histologically, but not always clinically.


Various features of BM-MSCs render them excellent potential sport injury treatment. As against different stem cell sources, BM-MSCs aren’t difficult to harvest with little morbidity, low anaesthetic demand and minimally invasive techniques. as an example, ACL fibroblast harvesting requires an arthroscopic procedure during a knee that has already been injured. On the opposite hand, BM-MSCs are often obtained with aspiration from the iliac crest. it’s not difficult to isolate BM-MSCs due to their potential to adhere to culture media easier than the remainder of the cells of the bone marrow. Their potential to differentiate isn’t lost when cultured in vitro after isolation. Their capacity to differentiate towards various lineages makes them useful within the treatment of complex soft tissue trauma. as an example, within the case of concomitant injuries of the femoral condyle cartilage, the meniscus and the ACL within the same knee, the application of BM-MSCs results in their mobilisation to the injured tissues with a regenerative effect. Ethical issues and immunosuppression are overcome by their autologous origin.

Scaffold use is a potential element of any effective stem cell treatment consistent with the evidence provided within the studies above. The structural support that they provide and the prevention of cell leakage are major advantages. Nevertheless, isolated BM-MSC beneficial effects were documented also.

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The Role of Bone Marrow-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Sports Injuries. (2022, Sep 13). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/the-role-of-bone-marrow-derived-mesenchymal-stem-cells-in-sports-injuries/

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