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Journal of Immunology Research
Volume 2015, Article ID 394917, 20 pages
Review Article

Immunoregulation by Mesenchymal Stem Cells: Biological Aspects and Clinical Applications

Mesenchymal Stem Cells Laboratory, Oncology Research Unit, Oncology Hospital, National Medical Center, IMSS, Avenue Cuauhtémoc 330 Col. Doctores, 06720 Mexico City, DF, Mexico

Received 5 September 2014; Revised 20 November 2014; Accepted 1 December 2014

Academic Editor: Marco Antonio Velasco-Velázquez

Copyright © 2015 Marta E. Castro-Manrreza and Juan J. Montesinos. 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.


Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are multipotent cells capable of differentiation into mesenchymal lineages and that can be isolated from various tissues and easily cultivated in vitro. Currently, MSCs are of considerable interest because of the biological characteristics that confer high potential applicability in the clinical treatment of many diseases. Specifically, because of their high immunoregulatory capacity, MSCs are used as tools in cellular therapies for clinical protocols involving immune system alterations. In this review, we discuss the current knowledge about the capacity of MSCs for the immunoregulation of immunocompetent cells and emphasize the effects of MSCs on T cells, principal effectors of the immune response, and the immunosuppressive effects mediated by the secretion of soluble factors and membrane molecules. We also describe the mechanisms of MSC immunoregulatory modulation and the participation of MSCs as immune response regulators in several autoimmune diseases, and we emphasize the clinical application in graft versus host disease (GVHD).