Stem cells are master builder and control cells for the body. Tissues which must turn over rapidly, such as the skin or gastrointestinal tract have an abundant supply of stem cells to allow replacing new cells. To replace a cell, you need a stem cell to turn into a new cell.
This is simplistic but true. There are precursor cells called progenitor cells, but the stem cell is needed to form these cells. Without a stem cell no new cells can be formed. In blood cells the stem cell necessary to form new blood product is the hematopoietic stem cell. In cartilage, muscle and bone repair the stem cell is the mesenchymal stem cell.
Mesenchymal stem cells, mesenchymal stromal cells, and medicinal stem cells all may be all abbreviated with MSC. The MSC is the building block for repair and regeneration as well as control inflammatory responses which directly break down cartilage leading to osteoarthritis or degenerative arthritis.
Knowledge of stem cell functioning is helpful to understand how stem cells may be beneficial in a variety of knee problems, including arthritis of the knee and traumatic injuries to the knee.
Surgery in these cases can alleviate symptoms at times, yet over time the surgery accelerates knee degenerative arthritis. All of these factors become increasingly important when understanding progressive knee arthritis and factors which may prevent knee joint replacement surgery. This is a chapter all to its self, and explained in greater detail in another section.