Background: Under the transcriptional control of numerous factors and intracellular signals,
mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) can differentiate into various cell types, including adipocytes and
osteoblasts. However, the precise cellular signaling factors that determine the cell fate of MSCs in
bone marrow remain largely unknown.
Objective: In this review, we focus on the ties of PPAR-γ and Wnt signaling in MSC differentiation
into adipocytes and osteoblasts.
Results: Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ (PPAR-γ) is well established as a prime inducer
of adipogenesis, while the Wnt pathway is regarded as the master moderator of osteogenesis. A theoretical
inverse relationship exists between adipogenic and osteogenic lineage commitment and differentiation:
the differentiation toward an osteoblast phenotype occurs at the expense of an adipocyte
Conclusion: It has been proposed that the balance between osteogenic and adipogeneic MSC differentiation
is disrupted in diverse areas of human health. Therefore, understanding the ties between PPAR-
γand Wnt signaling in MSC differentiation has significant implications in diverse areas of human
health, from obesity to osteoporosis to regenerative medicine.