Acta Pharmacologica Sinica (2013) 34: 747–754; doi: 10.1038/aps.2013.50

Mesenchymal stem cells: a new trend for cell therapy

Xin Wei1, Xue Yang2, Zhi-peng Han3, Fang-fang Qu3, Li Shao1 and Yu-fang Shi2

  1. 1Renji Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai 200127, China
  2. 2Key Laboratory of Stem Cell Biology, Institute of Health Sciences, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai 200025, China
  3. 3Tumor Immunology and Gene Therapy Center, Eastern Hepatobiliary Surgery Hospital, the Second Military Medical University, Shanghai 200433, China

Correspondence: Li Shao, E-mail;; Yu-fang Shi,

Received 11 March 2013; Accepted 5 April 2013



Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), the major stem cells for cell therapy, have been used in the clinic for approximately 10 years. From animal models to clinical trials, MSCs have afforded promise in the treatment of numerous diseases, mainly tissue injury and immune disorders. In this review, we summarize the recent opinions on methods, timing and cell sources for MSC administration in clinical applications, and provide an overview of mechanisms that are significant in MSC-mediated therapies. Although MSCs for cell therapy have been shown to be safe and effective, there are still challenges that need to be tackled before their wide application in the clinic.


mesenchymal stem cell; cell therapy; tissue injury; degenerative disease; immune disorder; graft-versus-host disease; immunomodulation; trophic factor