Open Veterinary Journal

Open Veterinary Journal

Peer-Reviewed Journal 
ISSN 2218-6050 (Online), ISSN 2226-4485 (Print) 

"Review Article"

Clinical application of mesenchymal stem cells therapy in musculoskeletal injuries in dogs - A review of the scientific literature

Inês E. Dias(1,2), Diogo F. Cardoso(1), Carla S. Soares(3,4), Luís C. Barros(2,3), Carlos A. Viegas(1,6,7,8), Pedro P. Carvalho(2,5*) and Isabel R. Dias(1,6,7,8)

1- Department of Veterinary Sciences, ECAV, UTAD, Vila Real, Portugal

2- CIVG - Vasco da Gama Research Center, Vasco da Gama University School, Av. José R. Sousa Fernandes, Campus Universitário, Lordemão, 3020-210 Coimbra, Portugal

3- VetLamaçães Small Animal Clinic, Av. Dom João II 139, 4715-303 Braga, Portugal

4- CECAV – Animal and Veterinary Research Centre (CECAV), University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro (UTAD), Quinta de Prados, 5000-801, Vila Real, Portugal

5- Vetherapy, 479. St, San Francisco, CA 94103, USA

6- 3B’s Research Group, I3Bs – Research Institute on Biomaterials, Biodegradables and Biomimetics, University of Minho, Headquarters of the European Institute of Excellence on Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine, AvePark, Parque de Ciência e Tecnologia, Zona Industrial da Gandra, 4805-017 Barco, Guimarães, Portugal

7- ICVS/3B’s - Government Associate Laboratory, CITAB – Center for the Research and Technology of Agro-Environmental and Biological Sciences, University of Minho, 4805-017 Braga/Guimarães, Portugal

8- CITAB – Center for the Research and Technology of Agro-Environmental and Biological Sciences, UTAD, Vila Real, Portugal


Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) are multipotent, which is defined by their ability to self-renew while maintaining the capacity to differentiate into a certain number of cells, presumably from their own germinal layer. MSCs therapy is based on their anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory (immunosuppressive) and regenerative potential. This review aims to provide a clinical overview of the MSCs potential as a therapeutic option for orthopaedic diseases in dogs. A total of 25 clinical studies published in the scientific literature in the last 15 years on various diseases will be presented: semitendinosus myopathy, supraspinatus tendinopathy, cruciate ligament rupture, bone fractures and defects, and also osteoarthritis. All articles involved in this study include only diseases that have naturally occurred in canine patients. MSCs therapy in the veterinary orthopaedic field has great potential, especially for osteoarthritis. All studies presented promising results. However, MSCs bone healing capacity did not reveal such favourable outcomes in the long term. Besides, most of these clinical studies did not include immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence and histopathology to confirm that MSCs have differentiated and incorporated into the injured tissues. This review summarises the current knowledge of canine MSCs biology, immunology and clinical application in canine orthopaedic diseases. Despite the positive results in its use, there is still a lack of defined protocols, heterogeneous samples and concomitant medications used with MSCs therapy, compromising the therapeutic effects. Further studies are needed in the hope of overcoming its limitation in upcoming trials.

Keywords: Bone Fractures, Cruciate Ligament Rupture, Osteoarthritis, Semitendinosus Myopathy, Supraspinatus Tendinopathy.

Cite this paper:
Dias, I.E., Cardoso, D.F., Soares, C.S., Barros, L.C., Viegas, C.A., Carvalho, P.P. and Dias, I.R. 2021. Clinical application of mesenchymal stem cells therapy in musculoskeletal injuries in dogs - A review of the scientific literature. Open Vet. J. 11(2), 188-202.