Are stem cells a potential therapeutic tool in coeliac disease?

Rachele Ciccocioppo, Giuseppina Cristina Cangemi, Emanuela Anna Roselli, Peter Kruzliak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite the growing understanding of its pathogenesis, the treatment of coeliac disease is still based on a lifelong gluten-free diet that, although efficacious, is troublesome for affected patients, and a definitive cure is still an unmet need. In this regard, the development of new chemical- and biological-derived agents has often resulted in unsatisfactory effects when tested in vivo, probably because of their ability to target only a single pathway, whilst the immunological cascade responsible for tissue injury is complex and redundant. The advent of cellular therapies, mainly based on the use of stem cells, is an emerging area of interest since it has the advantage of a multi-target strategy. Both haematopoietic and mesenchymal stem cells have been employed in the treatment of refractory patients suffering from autoimmune diseases, with promising results. However, the lack of immunogenicity makes mesenchymal stem cells more suitable than their haematopoietic counterpart, since their transplantation may be performed in the absence of a myeloablative conditioning regimen. In addition, mesenchymal stem cells have been shown to harbour strong modulatory effects on almost all cells involved in immune response, together with a potent regenerative action. It is therefore conceivable that over the next few years their therapeutic use will increase as their biological interactions with injured tissues become clearer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1317-1329
Number of pages13
JournalCellular and Molecular Life Sciences
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Mar 18 2015


  • Coeliac disease
  • Haematopoietic stem cells
  • Mesenchymal stem cells
  • Therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Medicine(all)


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