Immunomodulatory and Regenerative Effects of MSC-Derived Extracellular Vesicles to Treat Acute GVHD

Stem Cells. 2022 Nov 29;40(11):977-990. doi: 10.1093/stmcls/sxac057.


The development of human mesenchymal stromal/stem cell (MSC)-based therapy has focused on exploring biological nanoparticles secreted from MSCs. There is emerging evidence that the immunomodulatory and regenerative effects of MSCs can be recapitulated by extracellular vesicles released from MSCs (MSC-EVs). Off-the-shelf allogeneic human MSC products are clinically available to treat acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), but real-world data have revealed the limitations of these products as well as their feasibility, safety, and efficacy. MSC-EVs may have advantages over parental MSCs as drugs because of their distinguished biodistribution and importantly dose-dependent therapeutic effects. Recent research has shed light on the role of microRNAs in the mode-of-action of MSC-EVs. A group of specific microRNAs alone or in combination with membrane proteins, membrane lipids, and soluble factors present in MSC-EVs play key roles in the regulation of GVHD. In this concise review, we review the regulation of T-cell-mediated adaptive immunity and antigen-presenting cell-mediated innate immunity by MSC-EVs and the direct regenerative effects on damaged cells in association with the immunopathology of GVHD.

Keywords: GVHD; circular RNA; exosomes; extracellular vesicles; immunity; mesenchymal stem cells; microRNA; regeneration.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Extracellular Vesicles* / metabolism
  • Graft vs Host Disease* / metabolism
  • Graft vs Host Disease* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells* / metabolism
  • MicroRNAs* / metabolism
  • Tissue Distribution


  • MicroRNAs