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Mary Ann Liebert, Tissue Engineering Part B: Reviews, 1(29), p. 47-61, 2023

DOI: 10.1089/ten.teb.2022.0063



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Glucose Metabolism: Optimizing Regenerative Functionalities of Mesenchymal Stromal Cells Postimplantation

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This paper is available in a repository.

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Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) are considered promising candidates for regenerative medicine applications. Their clinical performance postimplantation, however, has been disappointing. This lack of therapeutic efficacy is most likely due to suboptimal formulations of MSC-containing material constructs. Tissue engineers, therefore, have developed strategies addressing/incorporating optimized cell, microenvironmental, biochemical, and biophysical cues/stimuli to enhance MSC-containing construct performance. Such approaches have had limited success because they overlooked that maintenance of MSC viability after implantation for a sufficient time is necessary for MSCs to develop their regenerative functionalities fully. Following a brief overview of glucose metabolism and regulation in MSCs, the present literature review includes recent pertinent findings that challenge old paradigms and notions. We hereby report that glucose is the primary energy substrate for MSCs, provides precursors for biomass generation, and regulates MSC functions, including proliferation and immunosuppressive properties. More importantly, glucose metabolism is central in controlling in vitro MSC expansion, in vivo MSC viability, and MSC-mediated angiogenesis postimplantation when addressing MSC-based therapies. Meanwhile, in silico models are highlighted for predicting the glucose needs of MSCs in specific regenerative medicine settings, which will eventually enable tissue engineers to design viable and potent tissue constructs. This new knowledge should be incorporated into developing novel effective MSC-based therapies.Impact statementThe clinical use of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) has been unsatisfactory due to the inability of MSCs to survive and be functional after implantation for sufficient periods to mediate directly or indirectly a successful regenerative tissue response. The present review summarizes the endeavors in the past, but, most importantly, reports the latest findings that elucidate underlying mechanisms and identify glucose metabolism as the crucial parameter in MSC survival and the subsequent functions pertinent to new tissue formation of importance in tissue regeneration applications. These latest findings justify further basic research and the impetus for developing new strategies to improve the modalities and efficacy of MSC-based therapies.