The therapeutic potential of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) in the treatment of liver fibrosis is predominantly based on their immunosuppressive properties, and their ability to secrete various trophic factors. This potential has been investigated in clinical and preclinical studies. Although the therapeutic mechanisms of MSC transplantation are still not fully characterised, accumulating evidence has revealed that various trophic factors secreted by MSCs play key therapeutic roles in regeneration by alleviating inflammation, apoptosis, and fibrosis as well as stimulating angiogenesis and tissue regeneration in damaged liver. In this review, we summarise the safety, efficacy, potential transplantation routes and therapeutic effects of MSCs in patients with liver fibrosis. We also discuss some of the key strategies to enhance the functionality of MSCs, which include sorting and/or priming with factors such as cytokines, as well as genetic engineering.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
MA is supported by a grant from the Saudi Arabian Cultural Bureau. PNN is supported by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Birmingham Liver Biomedical Research Unit (BRU). The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily reflect those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health.
YWE and SKB were supported by a grant of the Korea Health Technology R&D Project through the Korea Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI), funded by the Ministry of Health & Welfare, Republic of Korea (HI15C2364, HI17C1365), and a Basic Science Research Program and a Medical Research Center Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education (NRF-2017R1D1A1A02019212 and -2017R1A5A2015369, respectively).
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