Background: Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) represent a promising alternative source for
cartilage tissue engineering. However, MSC culture is labor-intensive, so these cells cannot be applied
immediately to regenerate cartilage for clinical purposes. Risks during the ex vivo expansion of MSCs,
such as infection and immunogenicity, can be a bottleneck in their use in clinical tissue engineering.
As a novel stem cell source, pericytes are generally considered to be the origin of MSCs. Pericytes do
not have to undergo time-consuming ex vivo expansion because they are uncultured cells. Adipose
tissue is another optimal stem cell reservoir. Because adipose tissue is well vascularized, a considerable
number of pericytes are located around blood vessels in this accessible and dispensable tissue,
and autologous pericytes can be applied immediately for cartilage regeneration.
Objective: Thus, we suggest that adipose tissue-derived pericytes are promising seed cells for cartilage
Conclusion: Many studies have been performed to develop isolation methods for the adipose tissuederived
stromal vascular fraction (AT-SVF) using lipoaspiration and sorting pericytes from AT-SVF.
These methods are useful for sorting a large number of viable pericytes for clinical therapy after being
combined with automatic isolation using an SVF device and automatic magnetic-activated cell sorting.
These tools should help to develop one-step surgery for repairing cartilage damage. However, the use
of adipose tissue-derived pericytes as a cell source for cartilage tissue engineering has not drawn sufficient
attention and preclinical studies are needed to improve cell purity, to increase sorting efficiency,
and to assess safety issues of clinical applications.