There is no effective cure currently available for inflammatory skin disorders. Because of their ability to impact the immune system and thereby modify inflammatory processes, mesenchymal stem cells offer a promising foundation for developing a treatment for inflammatory skin disorders. A recent review published in the International Journal of Molecular Science described the evidence to date that supports the use of mesenchymal stem cells in the treatment of these skin disorders.
According to the authors of the review, their previous work in both clinical and preclinical settings has shown that mesenchymal stem cells are effective in the treatment of one specific major inflammatory skin disease, atopic dermatitis. The authors note that other researchers have also found similar results and argue that these consistent findings suggest that mesenchymal stem cells would likely be useful in treating other types of inflammatory dermatosis.
One of the most promising observations related to mesenchymal stem cells and inflammatory skin disorders are the anti-inflammatory effect that mesenchymal stem cells tend to have when implanted. Given that implantation of foreign substances tends to itself enhance inflammation, the reduction in inflammation that is seen following the transplant of mesenchymal stem cells is an impressive illustration of the power of these cells’ anti-inflammatory impact. Based on the research, these cells are able to combat inflammation by modifying activity in the cells of the immune system that cause inflammation.
The authors also point to other ways that mesenchymal stem cells could be used to treat inflammatory skin disorders, such as cell priming. Cell priming refers to the introduction of cells of the immune system to specific antigens so that an immune response will later occur when those cells are re-exposed to the same antigens. This process happens organically within the immune system but can also be used strategically in medicine to modify immune responses.
Based on the evidence put forth in this review, there is substantial evidence to support further exploration of the use of mesenchymal stem cells to treat inflammatory skin conditions. Future research will help scientists and clinicians determine how best to use these cells to improve quality of life for patients with each of these types of skin conditions.