Peer-Reviewed

Study Database

Review peer-reviewed studies categorized by condition to learn more about the real world outcomes of stem cell therapy. This database will be periodically updated with new studies as they are published.

Phase I Trial of Repeated Intrathecal Autologous Bone Marrow-Derived Mesenchymal Stromal Cells in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Ki-Wook Oh, et al.

Stem cell therapy is an emerging alternative therapeutic or disease-modifying strategy for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The aim of this open-label phase I clinical trial was to evaluate the safety of two repeated intrathecal injections of autologous bone marrow (BM)-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) in ALS patients. Eight patients with definite or probable ALS were enrolled. After a 3-month lead-in period, autologous MSCs were isolated two times from the BM at an interval of 26 days and were then expanded in vitro for 28 days and suspended in autologous cerebrospinal fluid. Of the 8 patients, 7 received 2 intrathecal injections of autologous MSCs (1 × 106 cells per kg) 26 days apart. Clinical or laboratory measurements were recorded to evaluate the safety 12 months after the first MSC injection. The ALS Functional Rating Scale-Revised (ALSFRS-R), the Appel ALS score, and forced vital capacity were used to evaluate the patients’ disease status. One patient died before treatment and was withdrawn from the study. With the exception of that patient, no serious adverse events were observed during the 12-month follow-up period. Most of the adverse events were self-limited or subsided after supportive treatment within 4 days. Decline in the ALSFRS-R score was not accelerated during the 6-month follow-up period. Two repeated intrathecal injections of autologous MSCs were safe and feasible throughout the duration of the 12-month follow-up period.

als

Therapeutic Potential of Mesenchymal Stromal Cells and MSC Conditioned Medium in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) - In Vitro Evidence from Primary Motor Neuron Cultures, NSC-34 Cells, Astrocytes and Microglia

Hui Sun, et al.

Administration of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC) improves functional outcome in the SOD1G93A mouse model of the degenerative motor neuron disorder amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) as well as in models of other neurological disorders. We have now investigated the effect of the interaction between MSC and motor neurons (derived from both non-transgenic and mutant SOD1G93A transgenic mice), NSC-34 cells and glial cells (astrocytes, microglia) (derived again from both non-transgenic and mutant SOD1G93A ALS transgenic mice) in vitro. In primary motor neurons, NSC-34 cells and astrocytes, MSC conditioned medium (MSC CM) attenuated staurosporine (STS) - induced apoptosis in a concentration-dependent manner. Studying MSC CM-induced expression of neurotrophic factors in astrocytes and NSC-34 cells, we found that glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) and ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF) gene expression in astrocytes were significantly enhanced by MSC CM, with differential responses of non-transgenic and mutant astrocytes. Expression of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) in NSC-34 cells was significantly upregulated upon MSC CM-treatment. MSC CM significantly reduced the expression of the cytokines TNFα and IL-6 and iNOS both in transgenic and non-transgenic astrocytes. Gene expression of the neuroprotective chemokine Fractalkine (CX3CL1) was also upregulated in mutant SOD1G93A transgenic astrocytes by MSC CM treatment. Correspondingly, MSC CM increased the respective receptor, CX3CR1, in mutant SOD1G93A transgenic microglia. Our data demonstrate that MSC modulate motor neuronal and glial response to apoptosis and inflammation. MSC therefore represent an interesting candidate for further preclinical and clinical evaluation in ALS.

als

ALS Pathogenesis and Therapeutic Approaches: The Role of Mesenchymal Stem Cells and Extracellular Vesicles

Roberta Bonafede and Raffaella Mariotti

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease characterized by progressive muscle paralysis determined by the degeneration of motoneurons in the motor cortex brainstem and spinal cord. The ALS pathogenetic mechanisms are still unclear, despite the wealth of studies demonstrating the involvement of several altered signaling pathways, such as mitochondrial dysfunction, glutamate excitotoxicity, oxidative stress and neuroinflammation. To date, the proposed therapeutic strategies are targeted to one or a few of these alterations, resulting in only a minimal effect on disease course and survival of ALS patients. The involvement of different mechanisms in ALS pathogenesis underlines the need for a therapeutic approach targeted to multiple aspects. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) can support motoneurons and surrounding cells, reduce inflammation, stimulate tissue regeneration and release growth factors. On this basis, MSC have been proposed as promising candidates to treat ALS. However, due to the drawbacks of cell therapy, the possible therapeutic use of extracellular vesicles (EVs) released by stem cells is raising increasing interest. The present review summarizes the main pathological mechanisms involved in ALS and the related therapeutic approaches proposed to date, focusing on MSC therapy and their preclinical and clinical applications. Moreover, the nature and characteristics of EVs and their role in recapitulating the effect of stem cells are discussed, elucidating how and why these vesicles could provide novel opportunities for ALS treatment.

als

Stem cell therapy in Alzheimer's disease: possible benefits and limiting drawbacks

Masoume Alipour, et al.

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the sixth leading cause of death globally and the main reason for dementia in elderly people. AD is a long-term and progressive neurodegenerative disorder that steadily worsens memory and communicating skills eventually leads to a disabled person of performing simple daily tasks. Unfortunately, numerous clinical trials exploring new therapeutic drugs have encountered disappointing outcomes in terms of improved cognitive performance since they are not capable of halting or stimulating the regeneration of already-damaged neural cells, and merely provide symptomatic relief. Therefore, a deeper understanding of the mechanism of action of stem cell may contribute to the development of novel and effective therapies. The revolutionary discovery of stem cells has cast a new hope for the development of disease-modifying treatments for AD, in terms of their potency in the replenishment of lost cells via differentiating towards specific lineages, stimulating in situ neurogenesis, and delivering the therapeutic agents to the brain. Herein, firstly, we explore the pathophysiology of AD. Next, we summarize the most recent preclinical stem cell reports designed for AD treatment, their benefits and outcomes according to cell type. We briefly review relevant clinical trials and their potential clinical applications in order to find a unique solution to effectively relieve the patients' pain.

alzheimers

Mesenchymal Stem Cells Recruit CCR2+ Monocytes to Suppress Allergic Airway Inflammation

Katsuyuki Takeda et al.

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) exert immune modulatory properties and previous studies demonstrated suppressive effects of MSC treatment in animal models of allergic airway inflammation. However, the underlying mechanisms have not been fully elucidated. We studied the role of MSC in immune activation and subsequent recruitment of monocytes in suppressing airway hyperresponsiveness and airway inflammation using a mouse model of allergic airway inflammation. MSC administration prior to or after allergen challenge inhibited the development of airway inflammation in allergen-sensitized mice. This was accompanied by an influx of CCR2-positive monocytes, which were localized around injected MSC in the lungs. Notably, IL-10-producing monocytes and/or macrophages were also increased in the lungs. Systemic administration of liposomal clodronate or a CCR2 antagonist significantly prevented the suppressive effects of MSC. Activation of MSC by IFN-γ leading to the upregulation of CCL2 expression was essential for the suppressive effects, as administration of wild-type (WT) MSC into IFN-γ–deficient recipients, or IFN-γ receptor- or CCL2-deficient MSC into WT mice failed to suppress airway inflammation. These results suggest that MSC activation by IFN-γ, followed by increased expression of CCL2 and recruitment of monocytes to the lungs, is essential for suppression by MSC in allergen-induced airway hyperresponsiveness and airway inflammation.

copd

Small extracellular vesicles derived from human MSCs prevent allergic airway inflammation via immunomodulation on pulmonary macrophages

Shu-Bin Fang et al.

Allergic airway inflammation is a major public health disease that affects up to 300 million people in the world. However, its management remains largely unsatisfactory. The dysfunction of pulmonary macrophages contributes greatly to the development of allergic airway inflammation. It has been reported that small extracellular vesicles derived from mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC-sEV) were able to display extensive therapeutic effects in some immune diseases. This study aimed to investigate the effects of MSC-sEV on allergic airway inflammation, and the role of macrophages involved in it. We successfully isolated MSC-sEV by using anion exchange chromatography, which were morphologically intact and positive for the specific EV markers. MSC-sEV significantly reduced infiltration of inflammatory cells and number of epithelial goblet cells in lung tissues of mice with allergic airway inflammation. Levels of inflammatory cells and cytokines in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid were also significantly decreased. Importantly, levels of monocytes-derived alveolar macrophages and M2 macrophages were significantly reduced by MSC-sEV. MSC-sEV were excreted through spleen and liver at 24 h post-administration in mice, and were able to be taken in by macrophages both in vivo and in vitro. In addition, proteomics analysis of MSC-sEV revealed that the indicated three types of MSC-sEV contained different quantities of proteins and shared 312 common proteins, which may be involved in the therapeutic effects of MSC-sEV. In total, our study demonstrated that MSC-sEV isolated by anion exchange chromatography were able to ameliorate Th2-dominant allergic airway inflammation through immunoregulation on pulmonary macrophages, suggesting that MSC-sEV were promising alternative therapy for allergic airway inflammation in the future.

copd

Paracrine effects and heterogeneity of marrow-derived stem/progenitor cells: relevance for the treatment of respiratory diseases

Massimo Conese, et al.

Stem cell-based treatment may represent a hope for the treatment of acute lung injury and pulmonary fibrosis, and other chronic lung diseases, such as cystic fibrosis, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It is well established in preclinical models that bone marrow-derived stem and progenitor cells exert beneficial effects on inflammation, immune responses and repairing of damage in virtually all lung-borne diseases. While it was initially thought that the positive outcome was due to a direct engraftment of these cells into the lung as endothelial and epithelial cells, paracrine factors are now considered the main mechanism through which stem and progenitor cells exert their therapeutic effect. This knowledge has led to the clinical use of marrow cells in pulmonary hypertension with endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) and in COPD with mesenchymal stromal (stem) cells (MSCs). Bone marrow-derived stem cells, including hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells, MSCs, EPCs and fibrocytes, encompass a wide array of cell subsets with different capacities of engraftment and injured tissue-regenerating potential. The characterization/isolation of the stem cell subpopulations represents a major challenge to improve the efficacy of transplantation protocols used in regenerative medicine and applied to lung disorders.

copd

Mesenchymal stromal cell therapy in COPD: from bench to bedside

Mariana A Antunes, et al.

COPD is the most frequent chronic respiratory disease and a leading cause of morbidity and mortality. The major risk factor for COPD development is cigarette smoke, and the most efficient treatment for COPD is smoking cessation. However, even after smoking cessation, inflammation, apoptosis, and oxidative stress may persist and continue contributing to disease progression. Although current therapies for COPD (primarily based on anti-inflammatory agents) contribute to the reduction of airway obstruction and minimize COPD exacerbations, none can avoid disease progression or reduce mortality. Within this context, recent advances in mesenchymal stromal cell (MSC) therapy have made this approach a strong candidate for clinical use in the treatment of several pulmonary diseases. MSCs can be readily harvested from diverse tissues and expanded with high efficiency, and have strong immunosuppressive properties. Preclinical studies have demonstrated encouraging outcomes of MSCs therapy for lung disorders, including emphysema. These findings instigated research groups to assess the impact of MSCs in human COPD/emphysema, but clinical results have fallen short of expectations. However, MSCs have demonstrated a good adjuvant role in the clinical scenario. Trials that used MSCs combined with another, primary treatment (eg, endobronchial valves) found that patients derived greater benefit in pulmonary function tests and/or quality of life reports, as well as reductions in systemic markers of inflammation. The present review summarizes and describes the more recent preclinical studies that have been published about MSC therapy for COPD/emphysema and discusses what has already been applied about MSCs treatment in COPD patients in the clinical setting.

copd

Mesenchymal Stem Cell Administration in Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: State of the Science

Shih-Lung Cheng, et al.

Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have chronic, irreversible airway inflammation; currently, there is no effective or curative treatment and the main goals of COPD management are to mitigate symptoms and improve patients' quality of life. Stem cell based therapy offers a promising therapeutic approach that has shown potential in diverse degenerative lung diseases. Preclinical studies have demonstrated encouraging outcomes of mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs) therapy for lung disorders including emphysema, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, fibrosis, and acute respiratory distress syndrome. This review summarizes available data on 15 studies currently registered by the ClinicalTrials.gov repository, which used different stem cell therapy protocols for COPD; these included bone marrow mononuclear cells (BMMCs), bone marrow-derived MSCs, adipose-derived stem/stromal cells (ADSCs), and adipose-derived MSCs. Published results of three trials indicate that administering BMMCs or MSCs in the setting of degenerative lung disease is safe and may improve patients' condition and quality of life; however, larger-scale studies are needed to evaluate efficacy. Results of another completed trial (NCT01872624) are not yet published, and eleven other studies are ongoing; these include MSCs therapy in emphysema, several studies of ADSCs in COPD, another in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, and plerixafor mobilization of CD117 stem cells to peripheral blood.

copd

Stem cell therapies for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: current status of pre-clinical studies and clinical trials

Zhongwei Sun, et al.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a respiratory disease that has a major impact worldwide. The currently-available drugs mainly focus on relieving the symptoms of COPD patients. Novel regenerative therapeutic approaches have been investigated with the aim of repairing or replacing the injured functional structures of the respiratory system. We summarized the progress made by regenerative therapies for COPD by analyzing results from both pre-clinical studies and completed clinical trials. These approaches include the application of exogenous stem cells or small molecules to stimulate the regeneration by endogenous lung stem/progenitor cells. Exogenous mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been reported to repair the structure and improve the function of the injured respiratory system in COPD models. However, the studies that used MSCs in patients with moderate-to-severe COPD patients did not lead to clear respiratory functional improvements. Exogenous human lung stem cells applied to cryo-injured (CI) lungs of mice have been shown to organize into human-like pulmonary structures, indicating a new property of stem cells that is potentially capable of curing COPD patients. Small molecules like retinoic acid has been shown to lead to regeneration and repair of the damaged lung structures in COPD mouse models probably by activation of endogenous lung stem/progenitor cells. However, retinoic acid or agonists of retinoic acid receptor administered to moderate or severe COPD patients did not improve the density and function of the damaged lung. These novel regenerative approaches have failed in preliminary clinical trials, possibly due to the advanced severity of the disease. Further work should be done to develop the current regenerative approaches for curing patients at different stages of COPD. We suggest that some modifications of the approach in the clinical studies may lead to more successful outcomes of regenerative therapy for COPD.

copd

Rationale for the clinical use of adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells for COVID-19 patients

Christopher J. Rogers et al.

In late 2019, a novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) emerged in Wuhan, capital city of Hubei province in China. Cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection quickly grew by several thousand per day. Less than 100 days later, the World Health Organization declared that the rapidly spreading viral outbreak had become a global pandemic. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is typically associated with fever and respiratory symptoms. It often progresses to severe respiratory distress and multi-organ failure which carry a high mortality rate. Older patients or those with medical comorbidities are at greater risk for severe disease. Inflammation, pulmonary edema and an over-reactive immune response can lead to hypoxia, respiratory distress and lung damage. Mesenchymal stromal/stem cells (MSCs) possess potent and broad-ranging immunomodulatory activities. Multiple in vivo studies in animal models and ex vivo human lung models have demonstrated the MSC’s impressive capacity to inhibit lung damage, reduce inflammation, dampen immune responses and aid with alveolar fluid clearance. Additionally, MSCs produce molecules that are antimicrobial and reduce pain. Upon administration by the intravenous route, the cells travel directly to the lungs where the majority are sequestered, a great benefit for the treatment of pulmonary disease. The in vivo safety of local and intravenous administration of MSCs has been demonstrated in multiple human clinical trials, including studies of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Recently, the application of MSCs in the context of ongoing COVID-19 disease and other viral respiratory illnesses has demonstrated reduced patient mortality and, in some cases, improved long-term pulmonary function. Adipose-derived stem cells (ASC), an abundant type of MSC, are proposed as a therapeutic option for the treatment of COVID-19 in order to reduce morbidity and mortality. Additionally, when proven to be safe and effective, ASC treatments may reduce the demand on critical hospital resources. The ongoing COVID-19 outbreak has resulted in significant healthcare and socioeconomic burdens across the globe. There is a desperate need for safe and effective treatments. Cellular based therapies hold great promise for the treatment of COVID-19. This literature summary reviews the scientific rationale and need for clinical studies of adipose-derived stem cells and other types of mesenchymal stem cells in the treatment of patients who suffer with COVID-19.

covid-19

Mesenchymal stem/stromal cells as a valuable source for the treatment of immune-mediated disorders

Alexander Markov, et al.

Over recent years, mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs) and their potential biomedical applications have received much attention from the global scientific community in an increasing manner. Firstly, MSCs were successfully isolated from human bone marrow (BM), but in the next steps, they were also extracted from other sources, mostly from the umbilical cord (UC) and adipose tissue (AT). The International Society for Cellular Therapy (ISCT) has suggested minimum criteria to identify and characterize MSCs as follows: plastic adherence, surface expression of CD73, D90, CD105 in the lack of expression of CD14, CD34, CD45, and human leucocyte antigen-DR (HLA-DR), and also the capability to differentiate to multiple cell types including adipocyte, chondrocyte, or osteoblast in vitro depends on culture conditions. However, these distinct properties, including self-renewability, multipotency, and easy accessibility are just one side of the coin; another side is their huge secretome which is comprised of hundreds of mediators, cytokines, and signaling molecules and can effectively modulate the inflammatory responses and control the infiltration process that finally leads to a regulated tissue repair/healing or regeneration process. MSC-mediated immunomodulation is a direct result of a harmonic synergy of MSC-released signaling molecules (i.e., mediators, cytokines, and chemokines), the reaction of immune cells and other target cells to those molecules, and also feedback in the MSC-molecule-target cell axis. These features make MSCs a respectable and eligible therapeutic candidate to be evaluated in immune-mediated disorders, such as graft versus host diseases (GVHD), multiple sclerosis (MS), Crohn’s disease (CD), and osteoarthritis (OA), and even in immune-dysregulating infectious diseases such as the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). This paper discussed the therapeutic applications of MSC secretome and its biomedical aspects related to immune-mediated conditions. Sources for MSC extraction, their migration and homing properties, therapeutic molecules released by MSCs, and the pathways and molecular mechanisms possibly involved in the exceptional immunoregulatory competence of MSCs were discussed. Besides, the novel discoveries and recent findings on immunomodulatory plasticity of MSCs, clinical applications, and the methods required for their use as an effective therapeutic option in patients with immune-mediated/immune-dysregulating diseases were highlighted.

crohns

Stem cells as a potential therapy for diabetes mellitus: a call-to-action in Latin America

Mairim Alexandra Solis, et al.

Latin America is a fast-growing region that currently faces unique challenges in the treatment of all forms of diabetes mellitus. The burden of this disease will be even greater in the coming years due, in part, to the large proportion of young adults living in urban areas and engaging in unhealthy lifestyles. Unfortunately, the national health systems in Latin-American countries are unprepared and urgently need to reorganize their health care services to achieve diabetic therapeutic goals. Stem cell research is attracting increasing attention as a promising and fast-growing field in Latin America. As future healthcare systems will include the development of regenerative medicine through stem cell research, Latin America is urged to issue a call-to-action on stem cell research. Increased efforts are required in studies focused on stem cells for the treatment of diabetes. In this review, we aim to inform physicians, researchers, patients and funding sources about the advances in stem cell research for possible future applications in diabetes mellitus. Emerging studies are demonstrating the potential of stem cells for β cell differentiation and pancreatic regeneration. The major economic burden implicated in patients with diabetes complications suggests that stem cell research may relieve diabetic complications. Closer attention should be paid to stem cell research in the future as an alternative treatment for diabetes mellitus.

diabetes

Therapeutic Potential of Wharton’s Jelly Mesenchymal Stem Cells for Diabetes: Achievements and Challenges

Mohamed M. Kamal, et al.

Diabetes mellitus (DM) is an alarming metabolic disease in which insulin secreting β-cells are damaged to various extent. Unfortunately, although currently available treatments help to manage the disease, however, patients usually develop complications, as well as decreased life quality and increased mortality. Thus, efficient therapeutic interventions to treat diabetes are urgently warranted. During the past years, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have made their mark as a potential weapon in various regenerative medicine applications. The main fascination about MSCs lies in their potential to exert reparative effects on an amazingly wide spectrum of tissue injury. This is further reinforced by their ease of isolation and large ex vivo expansion capacity, as well as demonstrated multipotency and immunomodulatory activities. Among all the sources of MSCs, those isolated from umbilical cord-Wharton’s jelly (WJ-MSCs), have been proved to provide a great source of MSCs. WJ-MSCs do not impose any ethical concerns as those which exist regarding ESCs, and represent a readily available non-invasive source, and hence suggested to become the new gold standard for MSC-based therapies. In the current review, we shall overview achievements, as well as challenges/hurdles which are standing in the way to utilize WJ-MSCs as a novel efficient therapeutic modality for DM.

diabetes

Application of Adult and Pluripotent Stem Cells in Interstitial Cystitis/Bladder Pain Syndrome Therapy: Methods and Perspectives

Ahmed Abdal Dayem et al.

Interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome (IC/BPS) is a multifactorial, chronic disease without definite etiology characterized by bladder-related pelvic pain. IC/BPS is associated with pain that negatively affects the quality of life. There are various therapeutic approaches against IC/BPS. However, no efficient therapeutic agent against IC/BPS has been discovered yet. Urothelium dysfunction is one of the key factors of IC/BPS-related pathogenicity. Stem cells, including adult stem cells (ASCs) and pluripotent stem cells (PSCs), such as embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and induced PSCs (iPSCs), possess the abilities of self-renewal, proliferation, and differentiation into various cell types, including urothelial and other bladder cells. Therefore, stem cells are considered robust candidates for bladder regeneration. This review provides a brief overview of the etiology, pathophysiology, diagnosis, and treatment of IC/BPS as well as a summary of ASCs and PSCs. The potential of ASCs and PSCs in bladder regeneration via differentiation into bladder cells or direct transplantation into the bladder and the possible applications in IC/BPS therapy are described in detail. A better understanding of current studies on stem cells and bladder regeneration will allow further improvement in the approaches of stem cell applications for highly efficient IC/BPS therapy.

fibromyalgia

Rebuilding the Damaged Heart: Mesenchymal Stem Cells, Cell-Based Therapy, and Engineered Heart Tissue

Samuel Golpanian, et al.

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are broadly distributed cells that retain postnatal capacity for self-renewal and multilineage differentiation. MSCs evade immune detection, secrete an array of anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrotic mediators, and very importantly activate resident precursors. These properties form the basis for the strategy of clinical application of cell-based therapeutics for inflammatory and fibrotic conditions. In cardiovascular medicine, administration of autologous or allogeneic MSCs in patients with ischemic and nonischemic cardiomyopathy holds significant promise. Numerous preclinical studies of ischemic and nonischemic cardiomyopathy employing MSC-based therapy have demonstrated that the properties of reducing fibrosis, stimulating angiogenesis, and cardiomyogenesis have led to improvements in the structure and function of remodeled ventricles. Further attempts have been made to augment MSCs' effects through genetic modification and cell preconditioning. Progression of MSC therapy to early clinical trials has supported their role in improving cardiac structure and function, functional capacity, and patient quality of life. Emerging data have supported larger clinical trials that have been either completed or are currently underway. Mechanistically, MSC therapy is thought to benefit the heart by stimulating innate anti-fibrotic and regenerative responses. The mechanisms of action involve paracrine signaling, cell-cell interactions, and fusion with resident cells. Trans-differentiation of MSCs to bona fide cardiomyocytes and coronary vessels is also thought to occur, although at a nonphysiological level. Recently, MSC-based tissue engineering for cardiovascular disease has been examined with quite encouraging results. This review discusses MSCs from their basic biological characteristics to their role as a promising therapeutic strategy for clinical cardiovascular disease.

heart

Rebuilding the Damaged Heart: Mesenchymal Stem Cells, Cell-Based Therapy, and Engineered Heart Tissue

Samuel Golpanian, Ariel Wolf, Konstantinos E. Hatzistergos, and Joshua M. Hare

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are broadly distributed cells that retain postnatal capacity for self-renewal and multilineage differentiation. MSCs evade immune detection, secrete an array of anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrotic mediators, and very importantly activate resident precursors. These properties form the basis for the strategy of clinical application of cell-based therapeutics for inflammatory and fibrotic conditions. In cardiovascular medicine, administration of autologous or allogeneic MSCs in patients with ischemic and nonischemic cardiomyopathy holds significant promise. Numerous preclinical studies of ischemic and nonischemic cardiomyopathy employing MSC-based therapy have demonstrated that the properties of reducing fibrosis, stimulating angiogenesis, and cardiomyogenesis have led to improvements in the structure and function of remodeled ventricles. Further attempts have been made to augment MSCs' effects through genetic modification and cell preconditioning. Progression of MSC therapy to early clinical trials has supported their role in improving cardiac structure and function, functional capacity, and patient quality of life. Emerging data have supported larger clinical trials that have been either completed or are currently underway. Mechanistically, MSC therapy is thought to benefit the heart by stimulating innate anti-fibrotic and regenerative responses. The mechanisms of action involve paracrine signaling, cell-cell interactions, and fusion with resident cells. Trans-differentiation of MSCs to bona fide cardiomyocytes and coronary vessels is also thought to occur, although at a nonphysiological level. Recently, MSC-based tissue engineering for cardiovascular disease has been examined with quite encouraging results. This review discusses MSCs from their basic biological characteristics to their role as a promising therapeutic strategy for clinical cardiovascular disease.

heart

Allogeneic mesenchymal stem cells restore cardiac function in chronic ischemic cardiomyopathy via trilineage differentiating capacity

Henry C. Quevedo et al.

The mechanism(s) underlying cardiac reparative effects of bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) remain highly controversial. Here we tested the hypothesis that MSCs regenerate chronically infarcted myocardium through mechanisms comprising long-term engraftment and trilineage differentiation. Twelve weeks after myocardial infarction, female swine received catheter-based transendocardial injections of either placebo (n = 4) or male allogeneic MSCs (200 million; n = 6). Animals underwent serial cardiac magnetic resonance imaging, and in vivo cell fate was determined by co-localization of Y-chromosome (Ypos) cells with markers of cardiac, vascular muscle, and endothelial lineages. MSCs engrafted in infarct and border zones and differentiated into cardiomyocytes as ascertained by co-localization with GATA-4, Nkx2.5, and α-sarcomeric actin. In addition, Ypos MSCs exhibited vascular smooth muscle and endothelial cell differentiation, contributing to large and small vessel formation. Infarct size was reduced from 19.3 ± 1.7% to 13.9 ± 2.0% (P < 0.001), and ejection fraction (EF) increased from 35.0 ± 1.7% to 41.3 ± 2.7% (P < 0.05) in MSC but not placebo pigs over 12 weeks. This was accompanied by increases in regional contractility and myocardial blood flow (MBF), particularly in the infarct border zone. Importantly, MSC engraftment correlated with functional recovery in contractility (R = 0.85, P < 0.05) and MBF (R = 0.76, P < 0.01). Together these findings demonstrate long-term MSC survival, engraftment, and trilineage differentiation following transplantation into chronically scarred myocardium. MSCs are an adult stem cell with the capacity for cardiomyogenesis and vasculogenesis which contribute, at least in part, to their ability to repair chronically scarred myocardium.

heart

Human mesenchymal stem cells modulate allogeneic immune cell responses

Sudeepta Aggarwal, Mark F. Pittenger

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are multipotent cells found in several adult tissues. Transplanted allogeneic MSCs can be detected in recipients at extended time points, indicating a lack of immune recognition and clearance. As well, a role for bone marrow-derived MSCs in reducing the incidence and severity of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) during allogeneic transplantation has recently been reported; however, the mechanisms remain to be investigated. We examined the immunomodulatory functions of human MSCs (hMSCs) by coculturing them with purified subpopulations of immune cells and report here that hMSCs altered the cytokine secretion profile of dendritic cells (DCs), naive and effector T cells (T helper 1 [TH1] and TH2), and natural killer (NK) cells to induce a more anti-inflammatory or tolerant phenotype. Specifically, the hMSCs caused mature DCs type 1 (DC1) to decrease tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) secretion and mature DC2 to increase interleukin-10 (IL-10) secretion; hMSCs caused TH1 cells to decrease interferon γ (IFN-γ) and caused the TH2 cells to increase secretion of IL-4; hMSCs caused an increase in the proportion of regulatory T cells (TRegs) present; and hMSCs decreased secretion of IFN-γ from the NK cells. Mechanistically, the hMSCs produced elevated prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) in co-cultures, and inhibitors of PGE2 production mitigated hMSC-mediated immune modulation. These data offer insight into the interactions between allogeneic MSCs and immune cells and provide mechanisms likely involved with the in vivo MSC-mediated induction of tolerance that could be therapeutic for reduction of GVHD, rejection, and modulation of inflammation. (Blood. 2005;105:1815-1822)

Stem/Stromal Cells for Treatment of Kidney Injuries With Focus on Preclinical Models

Adriana Torres Crigna et al.

Within the last years, the use of stem cells (embryonic, induced pluripotent stem cells, or hematopoietic stem cells), Progenitor cells (e.g., endothelial progenitor cells), and most intensely mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC) has emerged as a promising cell-based therapy for several diseases including nephropathy. For patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD), dialysis or finally organ transplantation are the only therapeutic modalities available. Since ESRD is associated with a high healthcare expenditure, MSC therapy represents an innovative approach. In a variety of preclinical and clinical studies, MSC have shown to exert renoprotective properties, mediated mainly by paracrine effects, immunomodulation, regulation of inflammation, secretion of several trophic factors, and possibly differentiation to renal precursors. However, studies are highly diverse; thus, knowledge is still limited regarding the exact mode of action, source of MSC in comparison to other stem cell types, administration route and dose, tracking of cells and documentation of therapeutic efficacy by new imaging techniques and tissue visualization. The aim of this review is to provide a summary of published studies of stem cell therapy in acute and chronic kidney injury, diabetic nephropathy, polycystic kidney disease, and kidney transplantation. Preclinical studies with allogeneic or xenogeneic cell therapy were first addressed, followed by a summary of clinical trials carried out with autologous or allogeneic hMSC. Studies were analyzed with respect to source of cell type, mechanism of action etc.

kidney

Mesenchymal Stem Cell Therapy for Diabetic Kidney Disease: A Review of the Studies Using Syngeneic, Autologous, Allogeneic, and Xenogeneic Cells

Christian Sávio-Silva

Diabetic kidney disease (DKD) is a microvascular complication of diabetes mellitus (DM) and comprises multifactorial pathophysiologic mechanisms. Despite current treatment, around 30-40% of individuals with type 1 and type 2 DM (DM1 and DM2) have progressive DKD, which is the most common cause of end-stage chronic kidney disease worldwide. Mesenchymal stem cell- (MSC-) based therapy has important biological and therapeutic implications for curtailing DKD progression. As a chronic disease, DM may impair MSC microenvironment, but there is compelling evidence that MSC derived from DM1 individuals maintain their cardinal properties, such as potency, secretion of trophic factors, and modulation of immune cells, so that both autologous and allogeneic MSCs are safe and effective. Conversely, MSCs derived from DM2 individuals are usually dysfunctional, exhibiting higher rates of senescence and apoptosis and a decrease in clonogenicity, proliferation, and angiogenesis potential. Therefore, more studies in humans are needed to reach a conclusion if autologous MSCs from DM2 individuals are effective for treatment of DM-related complications. Importantly, the bench to bedside pathway has been constructed in the last decade for assessing the therapeutic potential of MSCs in the DM setting. Laboratory research set the basis for establishing further translation research including preclinical development and proof of concept in model systems. Phase I clinical trials have evaluated the safety profile of MSC-based therapy in humans, and phase II clinical trials (proof of concept in trial participants) still need to answer important questions for treating DKD, yet metabolic control has already been documented. Therefore, randomized and controlled trials considering the source, optimal cell number, and route of delivery in DM patients are further required to advance MSC-based therapy. Future directions include strategies to reduce MSC heterogeneity, standardized protocols for isolation and expansion of those cells, and the development of well-designed large-scale trials to show significant efficacy during a long follow-up, mainly in individuals with DKD.

kidney

Potential and Therapeutic Efficacy of Cell-based Therapy Using Mesenchymal Stem Cells for Acute/chronic Kidney Disease

Chul Won Yun et al.

Kidney disease can be either acute kidney injury (AKI) or chronic kidney disease (CKD) and it can lead to the development of functional organ failure. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are derived from a diverse range of human tissues. They are multipotent and have immunomodulatory effects to assist in the recovery from tissue injury and the inhibition of inflammation. Numerous studies have investigated the feasibility, safety, and efficacy of MSC-based therapies for kidney disease. Although the exact mechanism of MSC-based therapy remains uncertain, their therapeutic value in the treatment of a diverse range of kidney diseases has been studied in clinical trials. The use of MSCs is a promising therapeutic strategy for both acute and chronic kidney disease. The mechanism underlying the effects of MSCs on survival rate after transplantation and functional repair of damaged tissue is still ambiguous. The paracrine effects of MSCs on renal recovery, optimization of the microenvironment for cell survival, and control of inflammatory responses are thought to be related to their interaction with the damaged kidney environment. This review discusses recent experimental and clinical findings related to kidney disease, with a focus on the role of MSCs in kidney disease recovery, differentiation, and microenvironment. The therapeutic efficacy and current applications of MSC-based kidney disease therapies are also discussed.

kidney

Therapeutic efficiency of bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells for liver fibrosis: A systematic review of in vivo studies

Zaid Al-Dhamin et al.

Although multiple drugs are accessible for recovering liver function in patients, none are considered efficient. Liver transplantation is the mainstay therapy for end-stage liver fibrosis. However, the worldwide shortage of healthy liver donors, organ rejection, complex surgery, and high costs are prompting researchers to develop novel approaches to deal with the overwhelming liver fibrosis cases. Mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) therapy is an emerging alternative method for treating patients with liver fibrosis. However, many aspects of this therapy remain unclear, such as the efficiency compared to conventional treatment, the ideal MSC sources, and the most effective way to use it. Because bone marrow (BM) is the largest source for MSCs, this paper used a systematic review approach to study the therapeutic efficiency of MSCs against liver fibrosis and related factors. We systematically searched multiple published articles to identify studies involving liver fibrosis and BM-MSC-based therapy. Analyzing the selected studies showed that compared with conventional treatment BM-MSC therapy may be more efficient for liver fibrosis in some cases. In contrast, the cotreatment presented a more efficient way. Nevertheless, BM-MSCs are lacking as a therapy for liver fibrosis; thus, this paper also reviews factors that affect BM-MSC efficiency, such as the implementation routes and strategies employed to enhance the potential in alleviating liver fibrosis. Ultimately, our review summarizes the recent advances in the BM-MSC therapy for liver fibrosis. It is grounded in recent developments underlying the efficiency of BM-MSCs as therapy, focusing on the preclinical in vivo experiments, and comparing to other treatments or sources and the strategies used to enhance its potential while mentioning the research gaps.

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Pre‐treatments enhance the therapeutic effects of mesenchymal stem cells in liver diseases

Chenxia Hu et al.

Liver diseases caused by viral infection, alcohol abuse and metabolic disorders can progress to end‐stage liver failure, liver cirrhosis and liver cancer, which are a growing cause of death worldwide. Although liver transplantation and hepatocyte transplantation are useful strategies to promote liver regeneration, they are limited by scarce sources of organs and hepatocytes. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) restore liver injury after hepatogenic differentiation and exert immunomodulatory, anti‐inflammatory, antifibrotic, antioxidative stress and antiapoptotic effects on liver cells in vivo. After isolation and culture in vitro, MSCs are faced with nutrient and oxygen deprivation, and external growth factors maintain MSC capacities for further applications. In addition, MSCs are placed in a harsh microenvironment, and anoikis and inflammation after transplantation in vivo significantly decrease their regenerative capacity. Pre‐treatment with chemical agents, hypoxia, an inflammatory microenvironment and gene modification can protect MSCs against injury, and pre‐treated MSCs show improved hepatogenic differentiation, homing capacity, survival and paracrine effects in vitro and in vivo in regard to attenuating liver injury. In this review, we mainly focus on pre‐treatments and the underlying mechanisms for improving the therapeutic effects of MSCs in various liver diseases. Thus, we provide evidence for the development of MSC‐based cell therapy to prevent acute or chronic liver injury. Mesenchymal stem cells have potential as a therapeutic to prolong the survival of patients with end‐stage liver diseases in the near future.

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Allogeneic Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation in Severe and Refractory Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: 4 Years of Experience

Dandan Wang et al.

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are multipotential nonhematopoietic progenitors and are capable of differentiating into several tissues of mesenchymal origin. We have shown that bone marrow-derived MSCs from both SLE patients and lupus-prone MRL/lpr mice are defective structurally and functionally. Here we observe the long-term safety and efficacy of allogeneic MSC transplantation (MSCT) in treatment-resistant SLE patients. Eighty-seven patients with persistently active SLE who were refractory to standard treatment or had life-threatening visceral involvement were enrolled. Allogeneic bone marrow or umbilical cord-derived MSCs were harvested and infused intravenously (1 × 106 cells/kg of body weight). Primary outcomes were rates of survival, disease remission and relapse, as well as transplantation-related adverse events. Secondary outcomes included SLE disease activity index (SLEDAI) and serologic features. During the 4-year follow-up and with a mean follow-up period of 27 months, the overall rate of survival was 94% (82/87). Complete clinical remission rate was 28% at 1 year (23/83), 31% at 2 years (12/39), 42% at 3 years (5/12), and 50% at 4 years (3/6). Rates of relapse were 12% (10/83) at 1 year, 18% (7/39) at 2 years, 17% (2/12) at 3 years, and 17% (1/6) at 4 years. The overall rate of relapse was 23% (20/87). Disease activity declined as revealed by significant changes in the SLEDAI score, levels of serum autoantibodies, albumin, and complements. A total of five patients (6%) died after MSCT from non-treatment-related events in the 4-year follow-up, and no transplantation-related adverse event was observed. Allogeneic MSCT resulted in the induction of clinical remission and improvement in organ dysfunction in drug-resistant SLE patients.

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Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Multiple Sclerosis: Recent Evidence from Pre-Clinical to Clinical Studies

Agnese Gugliandolo, Placido Bramanti, and Emanuela Mazzon

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune, demyelinating disease of the central nervous system. Nowadays, available therapies for MS can help to manage MS course and symptoms, but new therapeutic approaches are required. Stem cell therapy using mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) appeared promising in different neurodegenerative conditions, thanks to their beneficial capacities, including the immunomodulation ability, and to their secretome. The secretome is represented by growth factors, cytokines, and extracellular vesicles (EVs) released by MSCs. In this review, we focused on studies performed on in vivo MS models involving the administration of MSCs and on clinical trials evaluating MSCs administration. Experimental models of MS evidenced that MSCs were able to reduce inflammatory cell infiltration and disease score. Moreover, MSCs engineered to express different genes, preconditioned with different compounds, differentiated or in combination with other compounds also exerted beneficial actions in MS models, in some cases also superior to native MSCs. Secretome, both conditioned medium and EVs, also showed protective effects in MS models and appeared promising to develop new approaches. Clinical trials highlighted the safety and feasibility of MSC administration and reported some improvements, but other trials using larger cohorts of patients are needed.

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Safety and efficacy of stem cell therapy for treatment of neural damage in patients with multiple sclerosis

Mohammadmahdi Jafarzadeh Bejargafshe et al.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a multifocal inflammatory disease that involves the central nervous system and associated with limbs paralysis and serious problems in sensation, limbs, visual and sphincter. This disease is a result of autoimmune mechanism in which autoantibodies target the self-myelin antigens and cause demyelination. Because of the myelin dysfunction, MS is clinically identified with neurological disabilities. Furthermore, it can be entered into the progressive phase because of irreversible neurodegeneration and axons damage. Unfortunately, there is no effective therapeutic method for this disease and current medications have been focused on amelioration of symptoms and chronic inflammation. Although current immunotherapies ameliorate the reactivity of autoimmune anti-myelin and MS relapse rate, there is no approved method for improvement of the disease progression and repairing of the damaged myelin. Therefore, finding an appropriate clinical treatment for improvement of neurological damages in MS patients is essential. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are multipotent cells with high proliferative and self-renewal capacities, as well as immunomodulatory and neuroregenerative effects. Bone marrow and adipose tissues derived MSCs have been considered for the treatment of different diseases because not only they can be easily isolated from these tissues, but also a patient can be served as a donor for himself without the risk of rejection. More importantly, autologous MSCs carry a safer pattern without the risk of malignant transformation. Here, we will discuss the effectiveness of MSCs therapy for MS patients by reviewing of clinical trials.

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Mesenchymal stem/stromal cells as a valuable source for the treatment of immune-mediated disorders

Alexander Markov et al.

Over recent years, mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs) and their potential biomedical applications have received much attention from the global scientific community in an increasing manner. Firstly, MSCs were successfully isolated from human bone marrow (BM), but in the next steps, they were also extracted from other sources, mostly from the umbilical cord (UC) and adipose tissue (AT). The International Society for Cellular Therapy (ISCT) has suggested minimum criteria to identify and characterize MSCs as follows: plastic adherence, surface expression of CD73, D90, CD105 in the lack of expression of CD14, CD34, CD45, and human leucocyte antigen-DR (HLA-DR), and also the capability to differentiate to multiple cell types including adipocyte, chondrocyte, or osteoblast in vitro depends on culture conditions. However, these distinct properties, including self-renewability, multipotency, and easy accessibility are just one side of the coin; another side is their huge secretome which is comprised of hundreds of mediators, cytokines, and signaling molecules and can effectively modulate the inflammatory responses and control the infiltration process that finally leads to a regulated tissue repair/healing or regeneration process. MSC-mediated immunomodulation is a direct result of a harmonic synergy of MSC-released signaling molecules (i.e., mediators, cytokines, and chemokines), the reaction of immune cells and other target cells to those molecules, and also feedback in the MSC-molecule-target cell axis. These features make MSCs a respectable and eligible therapeutic candidate to be evaluated in immune-mediated disorders, such as graft versus host diseases (GVHD), multiple sclerosis (MS), Crohn’s disease (CD), and osteoarthritis (OA), and even in immune-dysregulating infectious diseases such as the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). This paper discussed the therapeutic applications of MSC secretome and its biomedical aspects related to immune-mediated conditions. Sources for MSC extraction, their migration and homing properties, therapeutic molecules released by MSCs, and the pathways and molecular mechanisms possibly involved in the exceptional immunoregulatory competence of MSCs were discussed. Besides, the novel discoveries and recent findings on immunomodulatory plasticity of MSCs, clinical applications, and the methods required for their use as an effective therapeutic option in patients with immune-mediated/immune-dysregulating diseases were highlighted.

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