Stem Cell Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

  • Bilgesu Genc
  • Hemdem Rodi Bozan
  • Sermin Genc
  • Kursad GencEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 1084)


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory, autoimmune, and neurodegenerative disease of the central nervous system (CNS). It is characterized by demyelination and neuronal loss that is induced by attack of autoreactive T cells to the myelin sheath and endogenous remyelination failure, eventually leading to functional neurological disability. Although recent evidence suggests that MS relapses are induced by environmental and exogenous triggers such as viral infections in a genetic background, its very complex pathogenesis is not completely understood. Therefore, the efficiency of current immunosuppression-based therapies of MS is too low, and emerging disease-modifying immunomodulatory agents such as fingolimod and dimethyl fumarate cannot stop progressive neurodegenerative process. Thus, the cell replacement therapy approach that aims to overcome neuronal cell loss and remyelination failure and to increase endogenous myelin repair capacity is considered as an alternative treatment option. A wide variety of preclinical studies, using experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis model of MS, have recently shown that grafted cells with different origins including mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), neural precursor and stem cells, and induced-pluripotent stem cells have the ability to repair CNS lesions and to recover functional neurological deficits. The results of ongoing autologous hematopoietic stem cell therapy studies, with the advantage of peripheral administration to the patients, have suggested that cell replacement therapy is also a feasible option for immunomodulatory treatment of MS. In this chapter, we overview cell sources and applications of the stem cell therapy for treatment of MS. We also discuss challenges including those associated with administration route, immune responses to grafted cells, integration of these cells to existing neural circuits, and risk of tumor growth. Finally, future prospects of stem cell therapy for MS are addressed.


Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis Hematopoietic stem cell Induced pluripotent stem cell Mesenchymal stem cell Multiple sclerosis Neural stem cell Reprogramming Stem cell therapy 



Adipose tissue-derived MSCs


Autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation


Antigen-presenting cells


Adult stem cells


Blood–brain barrier


Central nervous system




Dendritic cells


Disease-modifying drugs


Days of post immunization


Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis


Expanded Disability Status Scale


Embryonic stem cells


Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor


Genome-wide association studies


Human leukocyte antigen


Hematopoietic stem cell


Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation


Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase


Interferon gamma






Induced neural stem cell


Induced oligodendrocyte


Induced oligodendrocyte progenitor cell


Induced pluripotent stem cell


Myelin basic protein


Major histocompatibility complex


Myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein


Magnetic resonance imaging


Multiple sclerosis


Mesenchymal stem cell


Natural killer


Neural progenitor cells


Neural stem cell


Oligodendrocyte progenitor cell


Peripheral blood mononuclear cells


Progressive MS


Relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis


Stem cell transplantation


Single nucleotide polymorphism


Secondary progressive multiple sclerosis


Subventricular zone


T helper


Tumor necrosis factor


T cell regulatory


Transplantation related mortality



Author thanks Assistant Prof. Dr. Yavuz Oktay for critical reading and editing of this chapter.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bilgesu Genc
    • 1
  • Hemdem Rodi Bozan
    • 2
  • Sermin Genc
    • 3
    • 4
  • Kursad Genc
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Molecular Biology and GeneticsIzmir Institute of TechnologyIzmirTurkey
  2. 2.School of MedicineDokuz Eylul University Health CampusIzmirTurkey
  3. 3.Izmir Biomedicine and Genome CenterDokuz Eylul University Health CampusIzmirTurkey
  4. 4.Department of NeuroscienceInstitute of Health Sciences, Dokuz Eylul University Health CampusIzmirTurkey

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