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Curr Pathobiol Rep. 2018 Jun;6(2):109-115. doi: 10.1007/s40139-018-0167-9. Epub 2018 Mar 20.

The Pro-reparative Engine: Stem Cells Aid Healing by Dampening Inflammation.

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Departments of Pathology and Bioengineering, and the McGowan, Institute for Regenerative Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, and VA Pittsburgh Health System, Pittsburgh PA 15213 USA.


Purpose of Review:

Stem cells have been proposed as sources for tissue replacement when healing does not occur. These cells could contribute directly to skin structures via differentiation, or via producing trophic factors that would 'educate' the micro-environment to encourage tissue repair. Studies in animals have supported both mechanisms, but translation to humans has been challenged by poor cell survival after transplantation. However, the improvement noted with even transient existence suggests another new possibility, that of suppressing the inflammatory response that limits regenerative healing. Herein, we will propose that this immunomodulatory aspect holds promise for promoting skin healing.

Recent Findings:

We have found that stem cell transplantation into wounds can dampen both acute and chronic inflammation, leading to more regenerative-like healing and diminished scarring.


Wound healing could be improved by dampening inflammation both initially to allow for tissue replacement to proceed and late to reduce scarring.


Multipotential stromal cells/mesenchymal stem cells; immunomodulation; inflammation; wound healing; wound matrix

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