Immunomodulatory effects of adipose-derived stem cells: fact or fiction?

Biomed Res Int. 2013;2013:383685. doi: 10.1155/2013/383685. Epub 2013 Sep 10.


Adipose-derived stromal cells (ASCs) are often referred to as adipose-derived stem cells due to their potential to undergo multilineage differentiation. Their promising role in tissue engineering and ability to modulate the immune system are the focus of extensive research. A number of clinical trials using ASCs are currently underway to better understand the role of such cell niche in enhancing or suppressing the immune response. If governable, such immunoregulatory role would find application in several conditions in which an immune response is present (i.e., autoimmune conditions) or feared (i.e., solid organ or reconstructive transplantation). Although allogeneic ASCs have been shown to prevent acute GvHD in both preclinical and clinical studies, their potential warrants further investigation. Well-designed and standardized clinical trials are necessary to prove the role of ASCs in the treatment of immune disorders or prevention of tissue rejection. In this paper we analyze the current literature on the role of ASCs in immunomodulation in vitro and in vivo and discuss their potential in regulating the immune system in the context of transplantation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipocytes / cytology*
  • Adipose Tissue / cytology
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics
  • Cell Differentiation / immunology
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Humans
  • Immune System*
  • Immunomodulation / genetics
  • Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Stromal Cells / cytology*
  • Tissue Engineering