Mesenchymal stem/stromal cells as a delivery platform in cell and gene therapies

BMC Med. 2015 Aug 12:13:186. doi: 10.1186/s12916-015-0426-0.


Regenerative medicine relying on cell and gene therapies is one of the most promising approaches to repair tissues. Multipotent mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSC), a population of progenitors committing into mesoderm lineages, are progressively demonstrating therapeutic capabilities far beyond their differentiation capacities. The mechanisms by which MSC exert these actions include the release of biomolecules with anti-inflammatory, immunomodulating, anti-fibrogenic, and trophic functions. While we expect the spectra of these molecules with a therapeutic profile to progressively expand, several human pathological conditions have begun to benefit from these biomolecule-delivering properties. In addition, MSC have also been proposed to vehicle genes capable of further empowering these functions. This review deals with the therapeutic properties of MSC, focusing on their ability to secrete naturally produced or gene-induced factors that can be used in the treatment of kidney, lung, heart, liver, pancreas, nervous system, and skeletal diseases. We specifically focus on the different modalities by which MSC can exert these functions. We aim to provide an updated understanding of these paracrine mechanisms as a prerequisite to broadening the therapeutic potential and clinical impact of MSC.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell- and Tissue-Based Therapy / methods*
  • Genetic Therapy
  • Humans
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Multipotent Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Regenerative Medicine / methods*
  • Wound Healing / physiology