By Scott Schachtele, Ph.D., Christine Clouser, Ph.D., and Joy Aho, Ph.D.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are multipotent cells that are functionally defined by their capacity to self-renew and their ability to differentiate into multiple cell types including adipocytes, chondrocytes, and osteocytes. Translation of MSC-based therapies has been confounded by MSC population heterogeneity as well as non-standardized methods for their definition and characterization. This white paper begins by defining and discussing the evolution of MSC nomenclature. It then provides a detailed description of MSC markers and how they may vary by tissue source and species. Ultimately, this review discusses how to standardize MSC characterization by selecting markers for isolation, characterization, and validation.