Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are multipotent stem cells that reside in various organs. They have the capacity to differentiate into various cell types, including cardiomyocytes, vascular endothelial cells, and vascular smooth muscle cells. Among the various MSCs, bone marrow-derived MSCs (BMMSCs) have been widely used for treating acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and ischemic heart failure (IHF) in preclinical and clinical studies. Although the beneficial effects of BMMSCs in treating AMI and IHF were originally attributed to their capacity to differentiate into cardiac cell types, recent evidence suggests that the differentiation capacity of BMMSCs appears to be minimal and that BMMSCs exert cardioprotective effects by secreting paracrine factors. In this context, MSC-derived exosomes have recently gained much attention. In this chapter, we introduce preclinical studies in which MSC-derived exosomes are used for treating cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) such as AMI, stroke, pulmonary hypertension, and septic cardiomyopathy. Future clinical studies are required to confirm the efficacy of exosome administration in treating CVDs.
Keywords: Acute myocardial infarction; Cardiovascular disease; Exosomes; Mesenchymal stem cells; MicroRNA; Stroke.