Concise review: Mesenchymal stem cells for acute lung injury: role of paracrine soluble factors

Stem Cells. 2011 Jun;29(6):913-9. doi: 10.1002/stem.643.


Morbidity and mortality have declined only modestly in patients with clinical acute lung injury (ALI) and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), despite extensive research into the pathophysiology. Current treatment remains primarily supportive with lung-protective ventilation and a fluid conservative strategy. Pharmacologic therapies that reduce the severity of lung injury in preclinical models have not yet been translated to effective clinical treatment options. Consequently, further research in translational therapies is needed. Cell-based therapy with mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) is one attractive new therapeutic approach. MSCs have the capacity to secrete multiple paracrine factors that can regulate endothelial and epithelial permeability, decrease inflammation, enhance tissue repair, and inhibit bacterial growth. This review will focus on recent studies, which support the potential therapeutic use of MSCs in ALI/ARDS, with an emphasis on the role of paracrine soluble factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Lung Injury / pathology
  • Acute Lung Injury / physiopathology
  • Acute Lung Injury / therapy*
  • Animals
  • Capillary Permeability
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Immunomodulation
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism*
  • Lung / metabolism
  • Lung / pathology
  • Lung / physiopathology*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation* / adverse effects
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / immunology
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Paracrine Communication
  • Pneumonia, Bacterial / etiology
  • Pneumonia, Bacterial / microbiology
  • Pneumonia, Bacterial / prevention & control
  • Regeneration*


  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins