Mesenchymal stem cells and their therapeutic applications in inflammatory bowel disease

Fei Mao, Qiang Tu, Li Wang, Fuliang Chu, Xia Li, Haiyan S. Li and Wenrong Xu _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:38008-38021. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.16682

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Fei Mao1,*, Qiang Tu2,*, Li Wang1, Fuliang Chu3, Xia Li4, Haiyan S. Li5 and Wenrong Xu1

1 Key Laboratory of Medical Science and Laboratory Medicine of Jiangsu Province, School of Medicine, Jiangsu University, Zhenjiang, Jiangsu, P.R. China

2 Jiangning Hospital of Nanjing, Nanjing, Jiangsu, P.R. China

3 Department of Lymphoma and Myeloma, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA

4 Department of Gastroenterology, Binzhou Medical University Yantai Affiliated Hospital, Yantai, Shandong, P.R. China

5 Department of Immunology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA

* These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Wenrong Xu, email:

Haiyan S. Li, email:

Keywords: mesenchymal stem cell, inflammatory bowel disease, cell therapy, pericyte, tissue repair

Received: January 05, 2017 Accepted: March 06, 2017 Published: March 29, 2017


Mesenchymal stem or stromal cells (MSCs) are non-hematopoietic stem cells that facilitate tissue regeneration through mechanisms involving self-renewal and differentiation, supporting angiogenesis and tissue cell survival, and limiting inflammation. MSCs were originally identified and expanded in long-term cultures of cells from bone marrow and other organs; and their native identity was recently confined into pericytes and adventitial cells in vascularized tissue. The multipotency, as well as the trophic and immunosuppressive effects, of MSCs have prompted the rapid development of clinical applications for many diseases involving tissue inflammation and immune disorders, including inflammatory bowel disease. Although standard criteria have been established to define MSCs, their therapeutic efficacy has varied significantly among studies due to their natural heterogenicity. Thus, understanding the biological and immunological features of MSCs is critical to standardize and optimize MSCs-based therapy. In this review, we highlight the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in MSCs-mediated tissue repair and immunosuppression. We also provide an update on the current development of MSCs-based clinical trials, with a detailed discussion of MSC-based cell therapy in inflammatory bowel disease.

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