Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma: mesenchymal stem cells and their extracellular vesicles as potential therapeutic tools

Stem Cell Res Ther. 2022 Jun 20;13(1):262. doi: 10.1186/s13287-022-02938-5.


Chronic lung diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma, are one of the most frequent causes of morbidity and mortality in the global. COPD is characterized by progressive loss of lung function through inflammation, apoptosis, and oxidative stress caused by chronic exposure to harmful environmental pollutants. Airway inflammation and epithelial remodeling are also two main characteristics of asthma. In spite of extensive efforts from researchers, there is still a great need for novel therapeutic approaches for treatment of these conditions. Accumulating evidence suggests the potential role of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in treatment of many lung injuries due to their beneficial features including immunomodulation and tissue regeneration. Besides, the therapeutic advantages of MSCs are chiefly related to their paracrine functions such as releasing extracellular vesicles (EVs). EVs comprising exosomes and microvesicles are heterogeneous bilayer membrane structures loaded with various lipids, nucleic acids and proteins. Due to their lower immunogenicity, tumorigenicity, and easier management, EVs have appeared as favorable alternatives to stem cell therapies. Therefore, in this review, we provided an overview on the current understanding of the importance of MSCs and MSC-derived EVs from different sources reported in preclinical and clinical COPD and asthmatic models.

Keywords: Asthma; COPD; Emphysema; Exosomes; Lung diseases; Mesenchymal stromal cells; Microvesicles; Regeneration.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Asthma* / therapy
  • Extracellular Vesicles* / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells* / metabolism
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive* / therapy