Recent Literature Search on Best Site for Stem Cells: Bone Marrow or Fat?

Which is a better source of stem cells: bone marrow or fat (ie., adipose)? Controversy still exists but most papers now acknowledge that fat has a richer source of stem cells. 

Stem cells are cells that are able to differentiate (ie, turn into) any tissue depending on its surrounding environment. If one inserts a stem cell into a muscle tissue, that stem cell can can become a muscle cell is its surrounding environment helps it thrive. This hold incredible potential. Their ability to differentiate into many different cells gives us a potential source of renewable body cells after our birth. For this reason, stem cells are being used to treat various traumatic and degenerative disorders. 

Below are more references provided by my research fellow.

The key points are: (Number References refer to Reference 1 below)

  • Fat has stem cells that can become other types of cells such as nerve cells [8][9][10]., bone cells, endothelial cells (the key cells for blood vessels), muscle cells [6][7], other fat cells, fibroblasts [2][3][4][5]. It is possible that stem cells from fat would easily become meibum or meibomian gland oil if inserted into the meibomian gland. 
  • Stem cells from fat is similar to other mesenchymal stem cells
  • Stem cells from fat are present in higher concentration than those obtained from bone marrow[13][14][15]
  • Treatment with ASCs is considered essential for tissue regeneration owing to their chemotactic, paracrine, and immunomodulatory activities and in situ differentiation [16][17][18][19]
  • Adipose-derived stem cells secrete a cytokine profile that is angiogenic, immunosuppressive, and antioxidative [20]
  • The cytokine profile of adipose-derived stem cells contains large amounts of vascular endothelial growth factortransforming growth factor-β, hepatocyte growth factor, platelet-derived growth factorplacental growth factor, and basic fibroblast growth factor, which explains their impressive angiogenic capacity and ability to induce tissue neovascularization [21]
  • Further, adipose-derived stem cells are immune-privileged because of a lack of human leukocyte antigen–DR expression and suppression of proliferation of activated allogenic lymphocytes [22][23]
  • Adipose-derived stem cells also inhibit the production of inflammatory cytokines and stimulate the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines [20][24][25][26].
  • ASCs are part of the stromal vascular fraction (SVF) of adipose tissue, along with a heterogeneous population of many other cell types including preadipocytes, endothelial cells, pericytes, haematopoietic-lineage cells, and fibroblasts [27]
  • The regenerative features of the SVF are attributed to its paracrine effects. 
  • SVF cells secrete vascular endothelial growth factor, hepatocyte growth factor, and transforming growth factor-β in the presence of stimuli such as hypoxia and other growth factors [28] and strongly influence the differentiation of stem cells, promoting angiogenesis and wound healing and potentially aiding new tissue growth and development [29][30].

Toxicology in Vitro

Volume 21, Issue 2, March 2007, Pages 324-329
Toxicology in Vitro

Human mesenchymal stem cells from adipose tissue: Differentiation into hepatic lineage


Adipose tissue represents an accessible source of mesenchymal stem cells (ADSCs), with similar characteristics to bone marrow-derived stem cells. The aim of this work was to investigate the transdifferentiation of ADSCs into hepatic lineage cells in vitro. ADSCs were obtained from human adipose tissue from lipectomy. Cells were grown in medium containing 15% AB human serum. Cultures were serum deprived for two days and exposed to a two-step protocol with two different media using growth factors and cytokines. Hepatic differentiation was assessed by RT-PCR of liver-marker genes. ADSCs exhibited a fibroblastic morphology that changed to a cuboidal shape when cells differentiated. Expression of liver genes increased when using one of the two studied media consisting of DMEM supplemented with HGF, bFGF and nicotinamide for 14 days. The results indicate that, under certain specific inducing conditions, ADSCs can be induced to differentiate into hepatic lineage in vitro. Adipose tissue may be an ideal source of high amounts of autologous stem cells.

Paper #2:

Experimental Eye Research

Volume 189, December 2019, 107863
Experimental Eye Research

Potential therapeutic application of mesenchymal stem cells in ophthalmology


Clinical and non-clinical trials using mesenchymal stem cells in ophthalmology.

Efficacy of stem cell treatments on ocular disorders.

Safety of bone marrow- and adipose tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells.


At present a wide variety of methods have been proposed to treat eye disorders, drug therapies are most commonly used. It should be noted that effective treatment modalities especially for degeneration of the retina and optic nerve are lacking. In the last few years stem cell transplantation has been proposed as an alternative method. The opportunities that stem cells provide within clinical use are almost unlimited. These cells are presently applied to treat various traumatic and degenerative disorders due to their unique biologic properties. Stem cells have high proliferative capabilities and are a self-maintained population of cells capable of differentiating into different cell types. Thus, they are represent a very primary stage of a cell lineage. Their ability to differentiate into different pathways provides animals with great plasticity in the renewal of somatic cells in postnatal ontogenesis. Pre-clinical and clinical ophthalmology studies where mesenchymal stem cells are applied and various methods of their administration are discussed herein. In addition the safety and efficacy of using bone marrow- and adipose tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells have been discussed.

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