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Adipose tissue-derived stem cells show considerable promise for regenerative medicine applications


The stromal-vascular cell fraction (SVF) of adipose tissue can be an abundant source of both multipotent and pluripotent stem cells, known as adipose-derived stem cells or adipose tissue-derived stromal cells (ADSCs). The SVF also contains vascular cells, targeted progenitor cells, and preadipocytes. Stromal cells isolated from adipose tissue express common surface antigens, show the ability to adhere to plastic, and produce forms that resemble fibroblasts. They are characterized by a high proliferation potential and the ability to differentiate into cells of meso-, ecto- and endodermal origin. Although stem cells obtained from an adult organism have smaller capabilities for differentiation in comparison to embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSs), the cost of obtaining them is significantly lower. The 40 years of research that mainly focused on the potential of bone marrow stem cells (BMSCs) revealed a number of negative factors: the painful sampling procedure, frequent complications, and small cell yield. The number of stem cells in adipose tissue is relatively large, and obtaining them is less invasive. Sampling through simple procedures such as liposuction performed under local anesthesia is less painful, ensuring patient comfort. The isolated cells are easily grown in culture, and they retain their properties over many passages. That is why adipose tissue has recently been treated as an attractive alternative source of stem cells. Essential aspects of ADSC biology and their use in regenerative medicine will be analyzed in this article.



adipose-derived stem cells or adipose tissue-derived stromal cells


adult stem cells


brown adipose tissue


Becker muscular dystrophy


bone marrow stem cells


cell-assisted lipotransfer


chemokine C-C-motif


cluster of differentiation


fibroblast colony-forming unit


Duchenne muscular dystrophy


di-methyl sulfoxide


embryonic stem cells


fetal stem cells


hepatocyte growth factor


hematopoietic stem cells

Isl 1:

islet 1


induced pluripotent stem cells




low-density lipoproteins


leukemia inhibitory factor


major histocompatibility complex


mesenchymal stem cells

NGN 3:

neurogenin 3

Pax 4:

paired box gene

PDX 1:

pancreatic duodenal homeobox

PGE2 :

prostaglandin E2


stromal cell-derived factor


stromal-vascular cell fraction


transforming growth factor-β


transforming growth factor-beta 1


vascular endothelial growth factor


white adipose tissue


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Correspondence to Janusz Kocki.

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Harasymiak-Krzyżanowska, I., Niedojadło, A., Karwat, J. et al. Adipose tissue-derived stem cells show considerable promise for regenerative medicine applications. Cell Mol Biol Lett 18, 479–493 (2013).

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Key words

  • Adipocyte
  • Mesenchymal stem cells
  • Regenerative medicine
  • Adipose tissue
  • Stem cell therapy
  • Adipose-derived stem cells
  • Stromal cells
  • Flow cytometry