Mesenchymal stromal cell migration: possibilities to improve cellular therapy

Author(s): Maijenburg MW, van der Schoot CE, Voermans C


Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC) represent a type of multipotent cells that can be isolated from several human tissues and that can be expanded ex vivo for clinical application. The regenerative and immune modulatory capacities of MSC have raised hopes for clinical applications of MSC. At the moment, many clinical trials applying MSC for treatment of multiple diseases are being set up. Currently, extensive expansion (3-6 weeks) is required to obtain enough cells for transplantation. However, culture-expanded MSC have almost completely lost their engraftment potential. MSC expansion cultures are initiated with a heterogeneous, poorly defined cell population. It is unknown which MSC populations are expanded and how this affects homing capacity. Thus, understanding MSC migration will offer perspectives to modulate the expansion protocols to obtain cells that maintain migration and homing capacities. This review highlights our current understanding of MSC migration with particular emphasis on the possibilities to improve MSC-based therapy.

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