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Cytotherapy. 2018 Dec;20(12):1419-1426. doi: 10.1016/j.jcyt.2018.09.008. Epub 2018 Oct 20.

Immune regulatory targets of mesenchymal stromal cell exosomes/small extracellular vesicles in tissue regeneration.

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Faculty of Dentistry, National University of Singapore, Singapore; Tissue Engineering Program, Life Sciences Institute, National University of Singapore, Singapore.
Institute of Medical Biology, Agency for Science, Technology and Research, Singapore.
Institute of Medical Biology, Agency for Science, Technology and Research, Singapore; Department of Surgery, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore. Electronic address:


Mesenchymal stromal cell (MSC) therapies have demonstrated therapeutic efficacy in a wide-ranging array of tissue injury and disease indications. An important aspect of MSC-mediated therapeutic activities is immune modulation. Consistent with the concentration of MSC therapeutic potency in its secretion, a significant proportion of MSC immune potency resides in the small extracellular vesicles (sEVs) secreted by MSCs. These sEVs, which also include exosomes, carry a large cargo enriched in proteins with potent immunomodulatory activities. They have been reported to exert potent effects on humoral and cellular components of the immune system in vitro and in vivo, and may have the potential to support the diametrically opposite pro- and anti-inflammatory functions necessary for tissue repair and regeneration following injury. Following injury, pro-inflammatory activities are necessary to neutralize injury and remove dead or injured tissue, while anti-inflammatory activities to facilitate migration and proliferation of reparative cell types and to increase vascularization and nutrient supply are necessary to repair and regenerate new tissue. Therefore, a critical immunomodulatory requisite of MSC sEVs in tissue regeneration is the capacity to support the appropriate immune activities at the appropriate time. Here, we review how some of the immune regulatory targets of MSC sEVs could support the dynamic immunomodulatory activities during tissue repair and regeneration.


exosome; extracellular vesicles; immunomodulation; mesenchymal stromal cell; proteome; tissue regeneration


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