Mesenchymal stem cells are multipotent progenitors able to differentiate into osteoblasts,
chondrocytes and adipocytes. These cells also exhibit remarkable immune regulatory properties, which
stimulated both in vitro and in vivo experimental studies to unravel the underlying mechanisms as well
as extensive clinical applications. Here, we describe the effects of MSCs on immune cells and their
application in animal models as well as in clinical trials of autoimmune diseases. It should be pointed
out that, while the number of clinical applications is increasing steadily, results should be interpreted with caution, in order
to avoid rising false expectations. Major issues conditioning clinical application are the heterogeneity of MSCs and
their unpredictable behavior following therapeutic administration. However, increasing knowledge on the interaction between
exogenous cell and host tissue, as well as some encouraging clinical observations suggest that the therapeutic applications
of MSCs will be further expanded on firmer grounds in the near future.
Keywords: Animal models, autoimmune diseases, clinical trials, mesenchymal stem/stromal cells.
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