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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013, Article ID 383685, 8 pages
Review Article

Immunomodulatory Effects of Adipose-Derived Stem Cells: Fact or Fiction?

1Vascularized Composite Allotransplantation (VCA) Laboratory, Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
2Reconstructive Transplantation Program, Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Ross Research Building 749D, 720 Rutland Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA

Received 1 May 2013; Accepted 5 August 2013

Academic Editor: Silvia Gregori

Copyright © 2013 Angelo A. Leto Barone et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Adipose-derived stromal cells (ASCs) are often referred to as adipose-derived stem cells due to their potential to undergo multilineage differentiation. Their promising role in tissue engineering and ability to modulate the immune system are the focus of extensive research. A number of clinical trials using ASCs are currently underway to better understand the role of such cell niche in enhancing or suppressing the immune response. If governable, such immunoregulatory role would find application in several conditions in which an immune response is present (i.e., autoimmune conditions) or feared (i.e., solid organ or reconstructive transplantation). Although allogeneic ASCs have been shown to prevent acute GvHD in both preclinical and clinical studies, their potential warrants further investigation. Well-designed and standardized clinical trials are necessary to prove the role of ASCs in the treatment of immune disorders or prevention of tissue rejection. In this paper we analyze the current literature on the role of ASCs in immunomodulation in vitro and in vivo and discuss their potential in regulating the immune system in the context of transplantation.