Commonalities in immune modulation between mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and neural stem/precursor cells (NPCs)

Linda Ottoboni, Donatella De Feo, Arianna Merlini, Gianvito Martino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Owing to their unique immunomodulatory properties, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been advocated as a potential therapy for numerous pathological conditions in which immune-mediated inflammatory reactions play a crucial role, such as autoimmune disorders, cerebrovascular diseases and tumours. Increasing evidence suggest that stem cells, other than MSCs, are also capable of immunomodulation. Neural stem/precursor cells (NPCs) have been among the first stem cells to show immunomodulatory properties and nowadays represent one the most studied and promising stem cell subtype in still uncurable acute and chronic inflammatory neurological disorders. Although the ontogeny of NPCs and MSCs greatly diverges, their immunomodulatory mechanisms are similar and are largely based on the bystander (paracrine) effect through membrane-bound and soluble mediators that influence the behavior of host immune cells. This observation suggests the existence of a core stem cell signature across different stem cell lineages and that shared signalling pathways between the stem cell niche and the inflammatory immune response likely mediate both NPC and MSC immunomodulatory effect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)228-239
Number of pages12
JournalImmunology Letters
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2015


  • Cell transplantation
  • Mesenchymal stem cells
  • Neural stem cells
  • Neuroinflammation
  • Stem cell therapeutic plasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy


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