Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Homeostasis and Systemic Diseases: Hypothesis, Evidences, and Therapeutic Opportunities

Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Jul 31;20(15):3738. doi: 10.3390/ijms20153738.


Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are present in all organs and tissues, playing a well-known function in tissue regeneration. However, there is also evidence indicating a broader role of MSCs in tissue homeostasis. In vivo studies have shown MSC paracrine mechanisms displaying proliferative, immunoregulatory, anti-oxidative, or angiogenic activity. In addition, recent studies also demonstrate that depletion and/or dysfunction of MSCs are associated with several systemic diseases, such as lupus, diabetes, psoriasis, and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as with aging and frailty syndrome. In this review, we hypothesize about the role of MSCs as keepers of tissue homeostasis as well as modulators in a variety of inflammatory and degenerative systemic diseases. This scenario opens the possibility for the use of secretome-derived products from MSCs as new therapeutic agents in order to restore tissue homeostasis, instead of the classical paradigm "one disease, one drug".

Keywords: Regenerative medicine; aging diseases; conditioned medium; diabetes; exosomes; extracellular vesicles; lupus; secretome.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging / genetics
  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / genetics
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / metabolism
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / pathology
  • Cell Count
  • Diabetes Mellitus / drug therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / genetics
  • Diabetes Mellitus / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus / pathology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Exosomes / drug effects
  • Exosomes / metabolism
  • Frail Elderly
  • Homeostasis / drug effects
  • Homeostasis / genetics
  • Humans
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / drug therapy*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / genetics
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / metabolism
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / pathology
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / drug effects*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / pathology
  • Paracrine Communication / drug effects
  • Psoriasis / drug therapy*
  • Psoriasis / genetics
  • Psoriasis / metabolism
  • Psoriasis / pathology


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents