Mesenchymal Stem Cell treatment for autoimmune diseases: a critical review
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are now known to display not only stem cell multipotency, but also robust antiinflammatory and regenerative properties. After widespread in-vitro and in-vivo preclinical testing, autologous and allogeneic MSCs have been applied in a range of immune mediated conditions, including graft versus host disease, Crohn's disease, multiple sclerosis, refractory systemic lupus erythematosus and systemic sclerosis. Current data suggests that MSCs may not only replace diseased tissues, but also exert several trophic, regenerative and antiinflammatory effects. While the clinical outcome in case reports and phase I-II trials seems occasionally striking, these limited results point to the need to perform controlled multicenter trials. Future advances from stem cell science can be expected to pinpoint significant MSC subpopulations and/or stem cell markers for improved regenerative or immunoregulatory properties.