Biodistribution, migration and homing of systemically applied mesenchymal stem/stromal cells

Stem Cell Res Ther. 2016 Jan 11;7:7. doi: 10.1186/s13287-015-0271-2.


Mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs) are increasingly used as an intravenously applied cellular therapeutic. They were found to be potent in situations such as tissue repair or severe inflammation. Still, data are lacking with regard to the biodistribution of MSCs, their cellular or molecular target structures, and the mechanisms by which MSCs reach these targets. This review discusses current hypotheses for how MSCs can reach tissue sites. Both preclinical and clinical studies using MSCs applied intravenously or intra-arterially are discussed in the context of our current understanding of how MSCs might work in physiological and pathological situations.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / metabolism
  • Cell Movement*
  • Endothelial Cells / physiology
  • Humans
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / physiology*
  • Organ Specificity
  • Regeneration
  • Regenerative Medicine


  • Cell Adhesion Molecules