Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is a rare autoimmune disease, which is potentially lethal. The physiopathology of the disease is still incompletely elucidated although the role of fibroblasts, endothelial cells (ECs), immune cells. and the environment (i.e., oxidative stress) has been demonstrated. This is an intractable disease with an urgent need to provide better therapeutic options to patients. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) represent a promising therapeutic approach thanks to the number of trophic and pleiotropic properties they exert. Among these, MSCs display anti-fibrotic, angiogenic, and immunomodulatory capacities that might be of interest in the treatment of SSc by acting on different processes that are dysregulated in the disease. In the recent years, the therapeutic effectiveness of MSCs has been demonstrated in different preclinical animal models and is being investigated in phase I clinical trials. Both allogenic and autologous transplantation of MSCs isolated from bone marrow or adipose tissue is being evaluated. The rationale for using allogenic MSCs in SSc, as well as in other autoimmune diseases, is based on the possibility that autologous MSCs might be altered in these diseases. In SSc, reports from the literature are controversial. Nevertheless, the role of the oxidative environment and of the crosstalk with neighboring cells (fibroblasts and ECs) on the functional properties of MSCs has been reported. Here, we review the preclinical and clinical data reporting the interest of MSC-based treatment in SSc and question the use of autologous or allogeneic MSCs in perspective of clinical applications.
Keywords: HOCl; allogenic; bleomycin; cell therapy; mesenchymal stem cell; systemic sclerosis.