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Int J Mol Sci. 2012;13(7):9298-331. doi: 10.3390/ijms13079298. Epub 2012 Jul 24.

The immunomodulatory and neuroprotective effects of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE): a model of multiple sclerosis (MS).

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College of medicine, King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, King Abdullah International Medical Research Center, King Abdulaziz Medical City, National Guard Health Affairs, P.O. Box 22490, Riyadh 11426, Mail Code 1515, Saudi Arabia; E-Mail:


Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are multipotent cells that differentiate into the mesenchymal lineages of adipocytes, osteocytes and chondrocytes. MSCs can also transdifferentiate and thereby cross lineage barriers, differentiating for example into neurons under certain experimental conditions. MSCs have anti-proliferative, anti-inflammatory and anti-apoptotic effects on neurons. Therefore, MSCs were tested in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), an animal model of multiple sclerosis (MS), for their effectiveness in modulating the pathogenic process in EAE to develop effective therapies for MS. The data in the literature have shown that MSCs can inhibit the functions of autoreactive T cells in EAE and that this immunomodulation can be neuroprotective. In addition, MSCs can rescue neural cells via a mechanism that is mediated by soluble factors, which provide a suitable environment for neuron regeneration, remyelination and cerebral blood flow improvement. In this review, we discuss the effectiveness of MSCs in modulating the immunopathogenic process and in providing neuroprotection in EAE.


central nervous system (CNS); experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE); mesenchymal stem cells (MSC); microglia; neurons; neuroprotection; oligodendrocytes

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