Mesenchymal stem cell exosome: a novel stem cell-based therapy for cardiovascular disease

Regen Med. 2011 Jul;6(4):481-92. doi: 10.2217/rme.11.35.


Cardiovascular disease is a major target for many experimental stem cell-based therapies and mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are widely used in these therapies. Transplantation of MSCs to treat cardiac disease has always been predicated on the hypothesis that these cells would engraft, differentiate and replace damaged cardiac tissues. However, experimental or clinical observations so far have failed to demonstrate a therapeutically relevant level of transplanted MSC engraftment or differentiation. Instead, they indicate that transplanted MSCs secrete factors to reduce tissue injury and/or enhance tissue repair. Here we review the evidences supporting this hypothesis including the recent identification of exosome as a therapeutic agent in MSC secretion. In particular, we will discuss the potential and practicality of using this relatively novel entity as a therapeutic modality for the treatment of cardiac disease, particularly acute myocardial infarction.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / therapy*
  • Exosomes / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Paracrine Communication
  • Stem Cell Transplantation / methods*
  • Translational Research, Biomedical