Stem cell biology and regenerative medicine for neonatal lung diseases

Pediatr Res. 2018 Jan;83(1-2):291-297. doi: 10.1038/pr.2017.232. Epub 2017 Oct 18.


Lung diseases remain one of the main causes of morbidity and mortality in neonates. Cell therapy and regenerative medicine have the potential to revolutionize the management of life-threatening and debilitating lung diseases that currently lack effective treatments. Over the past decade, the repair capabilities of stem/progenitor cells have been harnessed to prevent/rescue lung damage in experimental neonatal lung diseases. Mesenchymal stromal cells and amnion epithelial cells exert pleiotropic effects and represent ideal therapeutic cells for bronchopulmonary dysplasia, a multifactorial disease. Endothelial progenitor cells are optimally suited to promote lung vascular growth and attenuate pulmonary hypertension in infants with congenital diaphragmatic hernia or a vascular bronchopulmonary dysplasia phenotype. Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are one of the most exciting breakthroughs of the past decade. Patient-specific iPSCs can be derived from somatic cells and differentiated into any cell type. iPSCs can be capitalized upon to develop personalized regenerative cell products for surfactant protein deficiencies-lethal lung disorders without treatment-that affect a single gene in a single cell type and thus lend themselves to phenotype-specific cell replacement. While the clinical translation has begun, more needs to be learned about the biology of these repair cells to make this translation successful.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amnion / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia / therapy*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology
  • Fetal Blood / cytology
  • Humans
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / cytology
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases / therapy*
  • Lung / physiopathology
  • Lung Diseases / therapy*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology
  • Mice
  • Phenotype
  • Pulmonary Alveoli / physiology
  • Regeneration
  • Regenerative Medicine / methods*
  • Stem Cell Transplantation
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Surface-Active Agents / chemistry
  • Translational Research, Biomedical


  • Surface-Active Agents