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Curr Stem Cell Res Ther. 2019;14(8):644-653. doi: 10.2174/1574888X14666190912162504.

Mesenchymal Stem Cells and their Exosomes: Promising Therapeutics for Chronic Pain.

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Department of Anesthesiology, Second Affiliated Hospital, School of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China.
Department of Anesthesiology, Sir Run Run Shaw Hospital, School of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China.
Jiangsu Province Key Laboratory of Anesthesiology, Xuzhou Medical University, Xuzhou, China.


Chronic pain is a common condition that seriously affects the quality of human life with variable etiology and complicated symptoms; people who suffer from chronic pain may experience anxiety, depression, insomnia, and other harmful emotions. Currently, chronic pain treatments are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and opioids; these drugs are demonstrated to be insufficient and cause severe side effects. Therefore, research into new therapeutic strategies for chronic pain is a top priority. In recent years, stem cell transplantation has been demonstrated to be a potent alternative for the treatment of chronic pain. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), a type of pluripotent stem cell, exhibit multi-directional differentiation, promotion of stem cell implantation, and immune regulation; they have also been shown to exert analgesic effects in several chronic pain models. Exosomes produced by MSCs have been demonstrated to relieve painful symptoms with fewer side effects. In this review, we summarize the therapeutic use of MSCs in various chronic pain studies. We also discuss ways to enhance the treatment effect of MSCs. We predict in the future, cell-free therapies for chronic pain will develop from exosomes secreted by MSCs.


Chronic pain; analgesia; cell-free; cytokines; exosomes; mesenchymal stem cells.

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