Molecular Biology Reports

, Volume 46, Issue 1, pp 1533–1549 | Cite as

Mesenchymal stem cell-based therapy for autoimmune diseases: emerging roles of extracellular vesicles

  • Fariba Rad
  • Mohammad Ghorbani
  • Amaneh Mohammadi Roushandeh
  • Mehryar Habibi RoudkenarEmail author


In autoimmune disease body’s own immune system knows healthy cells as undesired and foreign cells. Over 80 types of autoimmune diseases have been recognized. Currently, at clinical practice, treatment strategies for autoimmune disorders are based on relieving symptoms and preventing difficulties. In other words, there is no effective and useful therapy up to now. It has been well-known that mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) possess immunomodulatory effects. This strongly suggests that MSCs might be as a novel modality for treatment of autoimmune diseases. Supporting this notion a few preclinical and clinical studies indicate that MSCs ameliorate autoimmune disorders. Interestingly, it has been found that the beneficial effects of MSCs in autoimmune disorders are not relying only on direct cell-to-cell communication but on their capability to produce a broad range of paracrine factors including growth factors, cytokines and extracellular vehicles (EVs). EVs are multi-signal messengers that play a serious role in intercellular signaling through carrying cargo such as mRNA, miRNA, and proteins. Numerous studies have shown that MSC-derived EVs are able to mimic the effects of the cell of origin on immune cells. In this review, we discuss the current studies dealing with MSC-based therapies in autoimmune diseases and provide a vision and highlight in order to introduce MSC-derived EVs as an alternative and emerging modality for autoimmune disorders.


Autoimmune diseases Mesenchymal stem cells Extracellular vesicles Cell-free therapy Immune cells 



Part of this study was supported by Guilan University of Medical Sciences (Grant No: IR.GUMS.REC.1396.343).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no potential conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fariba Rad
    • 1
  • Mohammad Ghorbani
    • 2
  • Amaneh Mohammadi Roushandeh
    • 3
  • Mehryar Habibi Roudkenar
    • 4
    • 5
    Email author
  1. 1.Cellular and Molecular Research CenterYasuj University of Medical SciencesYasujIran
  2. 2.Department of Hematology and Blood BankingGonabad University of Medical SciencesGonabadIran
  3. 3.Medical Biotechnology Research Center, Paramedicine FacultyGuilan University of Medical SciencesRashtIran
  4. 4.Cardiovascular Disease Research Center, Department of Cardiology, School of MedicineHeshmat Hospital, Guilan University of Medical SciencesRashtIran
  5. 5.Neuroscience Research CenterGuilan University of Medical SciencesRashtIran

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