Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) are a population of adherent cells that can differentiate into mesenchymal lineage populations (cartilage, bone and fat tissue). In addition, they seem to be able to differentiate also into a broader type of lineages other than the original mesodermal germ layer.
Bone marrow MSCs are a standard in the field of adult stem cell biology and clinical applications; however adipose-derived MSCs are becoming an attractive alternative due to their minimally invasive accessibility and availability in the body.
MSCs modulate several effector immune functions by interacting both with innate and adoptive immune responses. Several local signals from the tissue microenvironment, together with cytokine and soluble factors released by MSCs influence anti-inflammatory and tissue repair properties of infused MSCs. Therefore, cellular therapies utilizing ex vivo expanded MSCs may be an interesting approach for inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.
Biosafety is still one of the most important aspects; therefore the production of clinical-grade MSCs requires the careful identification and control of all the phases of cell manipulation and release.
Many clinical applications of adult MSCs are in progress and are using bone marrow or adipose tissue-derived MSCs for the treatment of Graft Versus Host Disease (GVHD), inflammatory joint diseases and osteocartilagineous defects, digestive tract, cardiovascular and neurological diseases.