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Ther Adv Musculoskelet Dis. 2017 Jul;9(7):165-179. doi: 10.1177/1759720X17704639. Epub 2017 Apr 20.

The potential role of adult stem cells in the management of the rheumatic diseases.

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Arthritis & Regenerative Medicine Laboratory, Aberdeen Centre for Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Health, Institute of Medical Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK.


Adult stem cells are considered as appealing therapeutic candidates for inflammatory and degenerative musculoskeletal diseases. A large body of preclinical research has contributed to describing their immune-modulating properties and regenerative potential. Additionally, increasing evidence suggests that stem cell differentiation and function are disrupted in the pathogenesis of rheumatic diseases. Clinical studies have been limited, for the most part, to the application of adult stem cell-based treatments on small numbers of patients or as a 'salvage' therapy in life-threatening disease cases. Nevertheless, these preliminary studies indicate that adult stem cells are promising tools for the long-term treatment of rheumatic diseases. This review highlights recent knowledge acquired in the fields of hematopoietic and mesenchymal stem cell therapy for the management of systemic sclerosis (SSc), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA) and the potential mechanisms mediating their function.


arthritis; cartilage repair; cell therapy; immune modulation; regenerative medicine; rheumatic diseases; stem cells

Conflict of interest statement

Conflict of interest statement: The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.

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