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Stem Cells International
Volume 2014, Article ID 306573, 11 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/306573
Review Article

Clinical Applications of Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Chronic Diseases

Laboratorio di Cellule Staminali, Dipartimento di Fisiopatologia Medico-Chirurgica e dei Trapianti, Università degli Studi di Milano, Fondazione IRCCS Ca’ Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Centro Dino Ferrari, Via F. Sforza 35, 20122 Milano, Italy

Received 4 December 2013; Revised 14 April 2014; Accepted 15 April 2014; Published 30 April 2014

Academic Editor: Katherine Athayde Teixeira de Carvalho

Copyright © 2014 Andrea Farini 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.

Abstract

Extraordinary progress in understanding several key features of stem cells has been made in the last ten years, including definition of the niche, and identification of signals regulating mobilization and homing as well as partial understanding of the mechanisms controlling self-renewal, commitment, and differentiation. This progress produced invaluable tools for the development of rational cell therapy protocols that have yielded positive results in preclinical models of genetic and acquired diseases and, in several cases, have entered clinical experimentation with positive outcome. Adult mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are nonhematopoietic cells with multilineage potential to differentiate into various tissues of mesodermal origin. They can be isolated from bone marrow and other tissues and have the capacity to extensively proliferate in vitro. Moreover, MSCs have also been shown to produce anti-inflammatory molecules which can modulate humoral and cellular immune responses. Considering their regenerative potential and immunoregulatory effect, MSC therapy is a promising tool in the treatment of degenerative, inflammatory, and autoimmune diseases. It is obvious that much work remains to be done to increase our knowledge of the mechanisms regulating development, homeostasis, and tissue repair and thus to provide new tools to implement the efficacy of cell therapy trials.