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Mesenchymal stromal cell therapy in COPD: from bench to bedside

Authors Antunes MA, Lapa e Silva JR, Rocco PRM

Received 18 July 2017

Accepted for publication 8 September 2017

Published 16 October 2017 Volume 2017:12 Pages 3017—3027


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell

Mariana A Antunes,1,2 José Roberto Lapa e Silva,3 Patricia RM Rocco1,2

1Laboratory of Pulmonary Investigation, Carlos Chagas Filho Institute of Biophysics, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), RJ, Brazil; 2National Institute of Science and Technology for Regenerative Medicine, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil; 3Institute of Thoracic Medicine, Clementino Fraga Filho University Hospital, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil

Abstract: COPD is the most frequent chronic respiratory disease and a leading cause of morbidity and mortality. The major risk factor for COPD development is cigarette smoke, and the most efficient treatment for COPD is smoking cessation. However, even after smoking cessation, inflammation, apoptosis, and oxidative stress may persist and continue contributing to disease progression. Although current therapies for COPD (primarily based on anti-inflammatory agents) contribute to the reduction of airway obstruction and minimize COPD exacerbations, none can avoid disease progression or reduce mortality. Within this context, recent advances in mesenchymal stromal cell (MSC) therapy have made this approach a strong candidate for clinical use in the treatment of several pulmonary diseases. MSCs can be readily harvested from diverse tissues and expanded with high efficiency, and have strong immunosuppressive properties. Preclinical studies have demonstrated encouraging outcomes of MSCs therapy for lung disorders, including emphysema. These findings instigated research groups to assess the impact of MSCs in human COPD/emphysema, but clinical results have fallen short of expectations. However, MSCs have demonstrated a good adjuvant role in the clinical scenario. Trials that used MSCs combined with another, primary treatment (eg, endobronchial valves) found that patients derived greater benefit in pulmonary function tests and/or quality of life reports, as well as reductions in systemic markers of inflammation. The present review summarizes and describes the more recent preclinical studies that have been published about MSC therapy for COPD/emphysema and discusses what has already been applied about MSCs treatment in COPD patients in the clinical setting.

Keywords: emphysema, mesenchymal stromal cells, inflammation, remodeling, repair

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