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Mesenchymal stromal cells for organ transplantation: different sources and unique characteristics?

Hoogduijn, Martin J.; Betjes, Michiel G.H.; Baan, Carla C.

Current Opinion in Organ Transplantation: February 2014 - Volume 19 - Issue 1 - p 41–46
doi: 10.1097/MOT.0000000000000036
STEM CELL TRANSPLANTATION: Edited by Giuseppe Remuzzi

Purpose of the review In this review, recent findings on the effects of tissue and donor origin, culturing conditions and preconditioning regimens on the therapeutic effect of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) in organ transplantation are discussed and the importance of understanding the characteristics of MSC for developing efficient therapy is stressed.

Recent findings MSC research in organ transplantation is currently moving from safety-feasibility studies to efficacy studies and finding the optimal MSC for therapy is therefore highly relevant. Although sharing basic properties, there are subtle differences between MSC from different tissue sources that may affect their efficacy. Furthermore, the use of MSC from diseased organ recipients, donor or third party may affect their therapeutic effect. The importance of these differences in MSC properties may however be overshadowed by the impact of culture conditions on MSC. Culture conditions dramatically change the characteristics of MSC, and this situation can be exploited by exposing MSC to preconditioning treatment to bring about the desired properties in MSC. As MSC appear to be short-lived after infusion, the specific characteristics of MSC are mostly relevant for short-term interactions between MSC and host cells, which will subsequently take over the effects of MSC. The multiple effects of MSC are by no means unique, but the full spectrum of the effects in combination with their easy isolation and expansion make MSC a suitable cell type for therapy.

Summary Tissue source, donor source and culture conditions affect the phenotypical and functional properties of MSC. The efficacy of MSC therapy will therefore depend on the source and manipulation of MSC.

Nephrology and Transplantation, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Correspondence to Martin Hoogduijn, Room Na-517, Nephrology and Transplantation, Department of Internal Medicine, Dr Molewaterplein 50, 3015 GE, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Tel: +31 107035418; e-mail:

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins