Mesenchymal stromal cells for systemic sclerosis treatment

Autoimmun Rev. 2021 Mar;20(3):102755. doi: 10.1016/j.autrev.2021.102755. Epub 2021 Jan 18.


Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is a rare chronic autoimmune disease characterized by vasculopathy, dysregulation of innate and adaptive immune responses, and progressive fibrosis. SSc remains an orphan disease, with high morbity and mortality in SSc patients. The mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC) demonstrate in vitro and in vivo pro-angiogenic, immuno-suppressive, and anti-fibrotic properties and appear as a promising stem cell therapy type, that may target the key pathological features of SSc disease. This review aims to summarize acquired knowledge in the field of :1) MSC definition and in vitro and in vivo functional properties, which vary according to the donor type (allogeneic or autologous), the tissue sources (bone marrow, adipose tissue or umbilical cord) or inflammatory micro-environment in the recipient; 2) preclinical studies in various SSc animal models , which showed reduction in skin and lung fibrosis after MSC infusion; 3) first clinical trials in human, with safety and early efficacy results reported in SSc patients or currently tested in several ongoing clinical trials.

Keywords: Angiogenesis; Clinical trials; Fibrosis; Immune modulation; Mesenchymal stromal cells; Systemic sclerosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Fibrosis
  • Humans
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells*
  • Scleroderma, Systemic* / pathology
  • Scleroderma, Systemic* / therapy
  • Skin / pathology