Mesenchymal stem cells and immunomodulation: toward new immunosuppressive strategies for the treatment of autoimmune diseases?

Rev Med Interne. 2009 Mar;30(3):287-99
Authors: Larghero J, Vija L, Lecourt S, Michel L, Verrecchia F, Farge D

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) represent a population of the bone marrow microenvironment, which participates in the regulation of haematopoietic stem cells (HSC) self-renewal and differentiation. MSC are multipotent non-haematopoietic progenitors, which have been explored as a promising treatment in tissue regeneration. Both in vitro and in vivo, the MSC inhibit the T, B, NK and dendritic cell functions. Although MSC immunomodulating properties are not yet completely understood, their low immunogenic potential can be used as a therapeutic tool not only for regenerative medicine, but also for the treatment of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) after bone marrow transplantation as well as for specific cases of severe refractory autoimmune diseases. Experimental and clinical data gave encouraging results, showing that MSC injection allowed controlling refractory GVHD, restoring bone development in children with osteogenesis imperfecta or improving heart function after myocardial infarction. Phase I-II studies are in progress in various countries to investigate the potential benefit from MSC due to their immunosuppressive properties, as an adjunctive therapy for severe refractory autoimmune disease.

PMID: 18930338 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]