Therapeutic Potential of Mesenchymal Stem Cells and Their Secretome in the Treatment of SARS-CoV-2-Induced Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome

Anal Cell Pathol (Amst). 2020 Nov 20;2020:1939768. doi: 10.1155/2020/1939768. eCollection 2020.


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the etiological agent responsible for the development of a new coronavirus disease (COVID-19), is a highly transmittable virus which, in just ten months, infected more than 40 million people in 214 countries worldwide. After inhalation, aerosols containing SARS-CoV-2 penetrate to the depths of the lungs and cause severe pneumonia, alveolar injury, and life-threatening acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Since there are no specific drugs or vaccines available to cure or prevent COVID-19 infection and COVID-19-related ARDS, a new therapeutic agent which will support oxygen supply and, at the same time, efficiently alleviate SARS-CoV-2-induced lung inflammation is urgently needed. Due to their potent immuno- and angiomodulatory characteristics, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) may increase oxygen supply in the lungs and may efficiently alleviate ongoing lung inflammation, including SARS-CoV-2-induced ARDS. In this review article, we described molecular mechanisms that are responsible for MSC-based modulation of immune cells which play a pathogenic role in the development of SARS-CoV-2-induced ARDS and we provided a brief outline of already conducted and ongoing clinical studies that increase our understanding about the therapeutic potential of MSCs and their secretome in the therapy of COVID-19-related ARDS.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 / therapy
  • COVID-19 / virology
  • Coronavirus Infections / therapy
  • Coronavirus Infections / virology
  • Humans
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / physiology*
  • Pandemics
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome / therapy*
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome / virology*
  • SARS-CoV-2 / pathogenicity*