Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) have repeatedly demonstrated the capacity to limit injury and promote regeneration through signaling and secretion of trophic factors. Considering this, MSCs have been increasingly used as a treatment for a wide variety of injuries and immune-related, infectious, and degenerative diseases.
In this review, Jahromi et al. provide a brief overview of the fate and efficacy of intramuscular (IM) delivered MSCs and identify the gaps that require additional study before IM-delivered MSCs are adopted as a primary treatment of systemic diseases.
Specifically, a recent study has demonstrated significant advantages of using skeletal muscle for the delivery of MSC. While skeletal muscle has been used as a delivery route for myopathic, neurodegenerative, and vascular diseases, these studies have identified 3 main advantages of skeletal muscle MSC delivery.
Research has identified two key factors that profoundly affect observed dwell-time variations of 72 hours to 8 months observed in MSCs transplanted in the skeletal muscle; these factors include immune rejection and the methods used for MSC detections. Considering this, the authors point out that allotransplantation provides an advantage since MSCs exhibit low immunogenicity and are expected to evade the immune system.
Although little information on the IM delivery of MSCs currently exists, previously conducted clinical trials demonstrated no therapeutic advantage of using higher doses of MSCs; other studies demonstrated medium doses of MSCs to be more effective than either a lower or higher dose.
While IM-delivery has been shown to be clinically safe and increases the longevity of the secretory activity of the delivered cells, the authors point out that it is important to further evaluate the fate of MSCs post-delivery in skeletal muscle.
Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a chronic and progressive inflammatory disease that primarily affects the sacroiliac joints and the spine; in rare cases, AS can also cause issues for the peripheral joints and extra-articular organs, including the skin, eyes, and cardiovascular system.
While there are a number of drugs prescribed to treat symptoms associated with AS, there is currently not a cure for AS nor is there a non-pharmaceutical method for treating the condition and its symptoms.
Considering the potent immune-modulated activity and their ability to inhibit B cell differentiation, T cell activation, and proliferation, researchers have increasingly been exploring the use of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) as a potential treatment option for a number of autoimmune diseases.
In this current study, Li et al. evaluated the therapeutic effects of umbilical cord MSC (uMSC) transplantation in patients with AS. This review summarizes the authors’ findings.
Specifically, Li et al.’s study evaluated 5 patients with AS after receiving intravenous transfusions of uMSCs.
After receiving an intravenous uMSC transfusion, the authors reported lower levels of inflammation, slowed progression of AS, and reduced levels of ESR, CRP, and other specific markers indicative of improved spinal functions and spinal movement in subjects with AS.
Considering these findings, the authors conclude that uMSC transplantation is feasible and safe and induces limited side effects.
The authors of this study also highlight a number of limitations, including the low number of patients, limited statistical analysis, and lack of a control group that did not receive an infusion.
In light of these results, Li et al. call for future studies using a larger cohort of patients with AS to enable the systematic evaluation of uMSC in treating symptoms of AS.
Mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs) continue to be viewed as a source of cell therapy applications due to their immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory effects and because of their ability to stimulate angiogenesis. In MSCs, these benefits are mainly attributed to the secretion of factors.
Despite MSCs’ known and favorable proliferation levels, multipotency, and immune response regulation, there are other important variables that should be considered when developing cell therapy applications, including the source of MSCs.
Considering that MSCs collected from different tissues can form heterogeneous cellular populations and manifest tissue-specific functional differences, the source of MSCs should be of primary consideration when developing new therapeutic approaches.
In this review, Paladino et al. present a review of recent research related to the therapeutic application of Wharton’s jelly MSC (WJ-MSC) harvested from umbilical cords and how these cells affect immune responses in comparison with other sources of MSCs.
Bone marrow-derived stem cells BM-MSCs have long been considered the favored source of MSCs and are the most used source of MSCs in clinical research. However, BM-MSCs have a history of showing mixed results and are not always recommended for use due to the invasive and painful process used to obtain the MSCs.
While other alternative sources, including adipose tissue, dental pulp, and menstrual blood, are available, WJ-MSCs are considered an easily accessible source of MSCs that are comparable to BM-MSC and have suffered less environmental interference and demonstrate higher proliferative capacity than other sources.
Studies using WJ-MSC in this capacity have shown their robust immunomodulatory potential. Specifically, the authors of this review reference a number of studies using various sources of MSCs, including WJ-MSCs that demonstrate immunomodulatory potential similar to other MSC sources. Studies also demonstrate that WJ-MSC is a better suppressor of specific inflammatory factors, including mixed lymphocyte reaction, and possesses higher levels of IL-17A (a key mediator in the treatment of graft-versus-host disease) than MSCs collected from other sources.
Paladino et al. conclude that the available literature indicates that WJ-MSCs possess immunological features comparable to MSCs from other sources, including bone marrow-derived MSCs. The authors also call for further study to identify the best therapeutic indications for WJ-MSCs as a substitute for other sources of MSC, including BM-MSC.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that as many as 795,000 people in the United States suffer a stroke each year. A stroke is a serious condition that can range in severity but that requires some patience throughout the recovery process. Learn more about what a stroke is and the recovery tips that can help you improve faster.
What Is a Stroke?
You can think of a stroke as the brain’s equivalent of a heart attack. It occurs when a part of your brain doesn’t receive enough blood flow, either because you have a blocked artery or because you were bleeding into your brain. If something blocks blood flow to your brain, the organ doesn’t receive the oxygen it needs.
Anyone can have a stroke, including children. That said, you may have a higher risk than others if you are older than 65 or if you have high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, or irregular heart rhythms.
The warning signs of a stroke are:
Sudden vision loss in one or both eyes
Loss of balance
Muscle weakness on one side of the body
Most strokes are ischemic, which means that blood clots have blocked the blood vessels to the brain. Plaque can also cause such a blockage. Hemorrhagic strokes occur when an artery in the brain breaks open or leaks blood into the brain. This blood puts a lot of pressure on brain cells.
Stroke Recovery Tips
If you’ve suffered a stroke, take the time to make the necessary changes to your lifestyle so that you can recover faster and perhaps even prevent future strokes.
Rest When Your Body Asks for It
The stroke and the recovery process both put a lot of stress on your body, and you need to listen to what it tells you. If fatigue becomes overwhelming, allow yourself to rest. As you recover, your brain needs sleep. Sleep helps improve movement recovery after a stroke, making it as vital as your rehabilitation exercises.
Good Nutrition Is Key
Your body needs all the right nutrients to heal more efficiently. This means sticking to a diet that is rich in vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, and whole grains. Some vitamins are also essential for stroke recovery, including vitamin D, which you get from the sun but also from egg yolks, fatty fish, and cheese.
Vitamin B3, present in turkey, salmon, and chicken, is also crucial because it helps with neuroplasticity. Another excellent option is vitamin B12 because it can boost the function of nerve and brain cells. Eggs, poultry, and milk are also great sources. And If cholesterol is a concern, fish is a better option.
An additional vitamin to consider adding to your diet is vitamin C. You can find it in citrus fruits, as well as broccoli and bell peppers.
If you have dietary restrictions, consult your doctor about whether taking vitamin supplements is a good option for you. As you recover from a stroke, avoid alcohol and an excess amount of sugary foods and drinks, as well as foods rich in saturated fat.
Use the Affected Side of Your Body
Your brain focuses on efficiency. If you don’t use an affected limb or entire side of your body, your brain forgets how. For instance, if you spend days not using your right hand, it will assume it’s not an important part of the body and de-prioritize it.
As you recover, all movement is important. Even if you don’t fully control the limb or if you experience paralysis after the stroke, you can help by moving that part of your body with your hands.
Schedule Regular Visits to Your Doctor
Your doctor is one of your most powerful allies as you start healing from a stroke. They will be able to guide you through all of the stages of your recovery, offering advice and reassurance. They have experience treating strokes and can give you the right perspective on how your recovery is going. Speaking often and honestly with them is key.
Don’t Get Discouraged
Progress after a stroke tends to be slow, which can be discouraging. You may not see the kinds of huge improvements you may have expected, but that doesn’t mean that you aren’t improving at all.
One of the toughest moments in the stroke recovery process is the “plateau” that occurs after about three months. You may notice that recovery is slowing down. It doesn’t have to stop, however, if you continue with your rehabilitation programs.
To rewire itself, your brain needs constant stimulation. Speak with your doctor about finding the right therapies to perform at home so that you can continue making progress even after months after experiencing the stroke.
Communicate What You Feel
Another important aspect of recovering from a stroke is healing emotionally. Going through a serious issue like a stroke leaves you feeling vulnerable or like you’re alone with your worries.
Communicate with your loved ones and let them know what you’re feeling. If that’s not an option, reach out to support groups. Support groups allow you to meet others who have gone through similar situations and who have a good understanding of the challenges you face. For some people, turning to a therapist can be helpful, too.
Physical activity, even simply walking around a room, helps minimize high blood pressure. This means it can also assist in preventing future strokes. Exercise additionally boosts your mood by releasing endorphins.
Ask your doctor what exercise options are suitable for your needs. Never begin a regimen without the recommendation of your doctor.
Managing Life After a Stroke
Lingering stroke symptoms can be frustrating. They may leave you thinking that there’s nothing you can really do about them. That’s not necessarily true. Lately, the field of regenerative medicine has been turning to stem cell therapy options to help people manage better after a stroke.
Regenerative medicine, also known as stem cell therapy, has the potential to replace damaged brain cells and restore some lost functions for post-stroke patients. MSCs (Mesenchymal Stem Cells) can potentially help post-stroke by reducing inflammation, promoting neuroprotection, and stimulating tissue repair in the damaged brain.
As with every treatment you’re considering, speak with your doctor to find out whether it might be a good choice for your needs.
Liver disease accounts for nearly two million deaths annually and is responsible for 4% of all deaths (1 out of every 25 deaths worldwide); approximately two-thirds of all liver-related deaths occur in men.
Most forms of chronic liver disease result from viral infections, alcohol abuse, or metabolic disorders and eventually result in cirrhosis and liver failure. The only effective treatment for end-stage cirrhosis is liver transplantation. Unfortunately, considering organ shortages and the high cost associated with this type of medical procedure, liver transplants are not available in many countries.
As part of this review, Kang et al. discuss the therapeutic effects of MSCs in liver diseases to address questions regarding their efficacy and safety, evaluate recent advances in this area, and consider the potential risks and challenges in the use of MSC-based therapies for liver disease.
When considering the therapeutic effects of MSC therapy in chronic liver disease, the authors conclude that this treatment has shown to be effective, primarily due to their immunomodulation, differentiation, and antifibrotic properties exhibited by MSCs. The authors also point out that although the safety and therapeutic effects of MSC therapy have been observed in several clinical studies, to date the therapy has demonstrated only modest improvements in treating liver disease. Kang et al. attribute this modest improvement, in part, to the current limited feasibility of transplanted cells.
The authors provide a detailed review of the strategies that have been utilized to improve the effects of MSC transplantation, including tissue engineering, preconditioning, genetic engineering, and using extracellular vesicles as cell-free therapy, and summarize the future potential of each of these as ways to improve MSC transplantation.
Kang et al. also highlight several problems that must be considered and addressed before MSCs are fully accepted as clinical therapeutic treatment options for chronic liver disease; these problems include the potential for carcinogenesis and viral transmission. For example, previous animal studies have demonstrated a relationship between the development of sarcoma and the number of passages. While this has not been directly observed in clinical trials involving human MSCs, the follow-up period was too short to allow for observed evidence of this development. As a result, the authors call for a detailed study into the chromosomal integrity before MSC transplantation to ensure the safety of the procedure.
In addition to the potential for tumor cell growth, allotransplantation of MSC cells may involve the risk of viral transmission to the patients. As a result, the authors indicate that both MSC recipients and donors may need to be screened for the presence of specific viruses, including parvovirus B19, herpes simplex virus, and cytomegalovirus.
The authors conclude that the prospects of MSC-based cell therapy for treating chronic liver disease will be determined by standardizing the cell source, culture conditions, administration route, and the outcomes of future large-scale clinical trials.
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