Mesenchymal stem cell-derived extracellular vesicles: a glimmer of hope in treating Alzheimer's disease

Int Immunol. 2017 Jan 1;29(1):11-19. doi: 10.1093/intimm/dxx002.


One of the pathological hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the presence of extracellular plaques resulting from the accumulation of beta-amyloid peptide (Aβ). To date, a definitive cure for this disease is still lacking as the currently approved drugs used are mainly symptomatic treatments. The revolutionary discovery of extracellular vesicles (EVs) has shed new light on the development of disease-modifying treatments for AD, owing to their potential in delivering the therapeutic agents to the brain. The feasibility of harnessing EVs for clinical applications is highly dependent on the donor cell, which determines the intrinsic properties of EVs. The merit of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) as therapeutic delivery vehicles, and the proven therapeutic effects of the EVs derived from these cells, make researchers esteem MSCs as ideal producers of EVs. Therefore, MSC-derived EVs (MSC-EVs) emerge to be an appealing therapeutic delivery approach for the treatment of AD. Here, we discuss perspectives on the therapeutic strategies using MSC-EVs to treat AD and the associated challenges in clinical application.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; exosomes; extracellular vesicles; mesenchymal stem cells; neurodegenerative disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / immunology
  • Alzheimer Disease / therapy*
  • Animals
  • Cell-Derived Microparticles / transplantation*
  • Humans
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells*