BACKGROUND: In recent years, adipose-derived stromal cells (ASCs) have been heavily studied for soft tissue regeneration, augmentation, and dermal wound healing.
METHODS: In this review, we investigated the trends in injectable scaffolds for ASC delivery in the dermis, and injectable or implantable scaffolds for ASC delivery in the subcutis. A total of 547 articles were screened across three databases; of these, 22 studies were found to be eligible and were included. The scaffolds were subdivided and analyzed based on their tissue placement (dermis or subcutis), delivery method (injected or implanted), and by the origin of the materials (natural, synthetic, and combinatory).
RESULTS: ASCs embedded in scaffolds generally showed improved viability. Neovascularization in the transplanted tissue was greater when undifferentiated ASCs were embedded in a combinatory scaffold or if differentiated ASCs were embedded in a natural scaffold. ASCs embedded in natural materials underwent more adipogenic differentiation than ASCs embedded in synthetic scaffolds, indicating an etiologically unknown difference that has yet to be described. Increased mechanical strength of the scaffold material correlated with improved outcome measurements in the investigated studies. Wound healing studies reported reduced healing time in all except one article due to contraction of the control wounds.
CONCLUSIONS: In future clinical trials, we recommend embedding ASCs in injectable and implantable scaffolds for enhanced protection, retained viability, and improved therapeutic effects.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: This review was registered with PROSPERO: ID=CRD42020171534 . The use of scaffolds as a vehicle for ASC delivery generally improved cell viability, angiogenesis, and wound healing in vivo compared to utilizing ASCs alone. ASCs embedded in natural materials induced more adipogenesis than ASCs embedded in synthetic materials. Adipogenic-induced ASCs further increased this effect. The included studies indicate that the seeded scaffold material influences the differentiation of ASCs in vivo. All studies investigating the mechanical strength of ASC scaffolds reported improved outcome measurements with improved mechanical strength. The results suggest that scaffolds, in general, are favorable for ASC delivery. We recommend initiating clinical studies using scaffolds based on mechanical properties and tunability to improve ASC viability. For fat regeneration, natural scaffolds are recommended.
- Adipose-derived stromal cells
- Cell delivery
- Volume retention