Mesenchymal stem cells for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease: from experimental models to clinical application

Rhian Stavely, Samy Sakkal, Vanesa Stojanovska, Kulmira Nurgali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a highly debilitating and potentially fatal idiopathic disorder of the intestinal tract which is exceedingly prevalent in westernized society; however there is concern of an IBD epidemic in Asia due to increasing incidence rates. There is no cure for IBD with current treatments limited by their inefficacy, toxicity and adverse side-effects; thus necessitating the search for novel therapies. In the past decade mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have become attractive candidates for the cellular based therapy of IBD. MSCs are easily isolated and expanded from adult bone-marrow and adipose tissue; they possess unique therapeutic characteristics including the ability to home to sites of tissue damage and inflammation, facilitate tissue repair and modulate the immune system. The administration of MSCs in animal models of experimental colitis and clinical trials of fistulising and luminal Crohn's disease have yielded promising results, however an unequivocal therapeutic mechanism remains elusive. This review will explore the clinical application of MSCs in IBD and current evidence from experimental models of colitis elucidating their potential to ameliorate intestinal inflammation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)184-197
Number of pages14
JournalInflammation and Regeneration
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2014
Externally publishedYes

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