Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic autoimmune and inflammatory disorder with involvement of several organs and systems such as the kidney, lung, brain and the hematopoietic system. As the most prevailing organ manifestation, lupus nephritis is the major cause of mortality and morbidity in SLE patients. The most classically and widely administered immunosuppressive medications, namely corticosteroids and cyclophosphamide, have eventuated in a remarkable amelioration in disease complications over the last few years and reduced the progression to end-stage multiorgan failure. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are considered as non-hematopoietic and multipotential progenitor cells, which are able to differentiate into multiple cell lineages such as chondrocytes, osteoblasts, myoblasts, endothelial cells, adipocytes, neuron-like cells, hepatocytes and cardiomyocytes. MSCs from SLE patients have demonstrated defects such as aberrant cytokine production. Moreover, impaired phenotype, growth and immunomodulatory functions of MSCs from patients with SLE in comparison to healthy controls have been reported. Therefore, it is hypothesized that SLE is potentially an MSC-mediated disease and, as a result, allogeneic rather than autologous MSC transplantation can be argued to be a potentially advantageous therapy for patients with SLE. On the other hand, the MSC senescence phenomenon may meet the current therapeutic approaches with challenges and demand more attention. Here, we discuss MSC transplantations to date in animal models and humans and focus on the MSC senescence complications in SLE patients.
Keywords: Mesenchymal stem cell; senescence; systemic lupus erythematosus; treatment.