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Front. Physiol. | doi: 10.3389/fphys.2017.00956

Calvarial suture-derived stem cells and their contribution to cranial bone repair

  • 1Centre for Craniofacial and Regenerative Biology, King's College London, United Kingdom

In addition to the natural turnover during life, the bones in the skeleton possess the ability to self-repair in response to injury or disease-related bone loss. Based on studies of bone defect models, both processes are largely supported by resident stem cells. In the long bones, the source of skeletal stem cells has been widely investigated over the years, where the major stem cell population is thought to reside in the perivascular niche of the bone marrow. In contrast, we have very limited knowledge about the stem cells contributing to the repair of calvarial bones. In fact, until recently, the presence of specific stem cells in adult craniofacial bones was uncertain. These flat bones are mainly formed via intramembranous rather than endochondral ossification and thus contain minimal bone marrow space. It has been previously proposed that the overlying periosteum and underlying dura mater provide osteoprogenitors for calvarial bone repair. Nonetheless, recent studies have identified a major stem cell population within the suture mesenchyme with multiple differentiation abilities and intrinsic reparative potential. Here we provide an updated review of calvarial stem cells and potential mechanisms of regulation in the context of skull injury repair.

Keywords: Skull, Calvaria, Bone, Stem Cells, repair, Neural crest cells, GLI1, Axin2, Prx1

Received: 29 Sep 2017; Accepted: 10 Nov 2017.

Edited by:

Thimios Mitsiadis, University of Zurich, Switzerland

Reviewed by:

Natalina Quarto, University of Naples Federico II, Italy
Franz E. Weber, University Hospital, Switzerland
Martin J. Stoddart, AO Research Institute Davos, Switzerland  

Copyright: © 2017 Doro, Grigoriadis and Liu. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Karen J. Liu, LIU., King's College London, Centre for Craniofacial and Regenerative Biology, Floor 27 Tower Wing, Guy's Hospital, London, SE1 9RT, UK, United Kingdom, karen.liu@kcl.ac.uk