Transplantation is the gold-standard treatment for the failure of several solid organs, including the kidneys, liver, heart, lung and small bowel. The use of tailored immunosuppressive agents has improved graft and patient survival remarkably in early post-transplant stages, but long-term outcomes are frequently unsatisfactory due to the development of chronic graft rejection, which ultimately leads to transplant failure. Moreover, prolonged immunosuppression entails severe side effects that severely impact patient survival and quality of life. The achievement of tolerance, i.e., stable graft function without the need for immunosuppression, is considered the Holy Grail of the field of solid organ transplantation. However, spontaneous tolerance in solid allograft recipients is a rare and unpredictable event. Several strategies that include peri-transplant administration of non-hematopoietic immunomodulatory cells can safely and effectively induce tolerance in pre-clinical models of solid organ transplantation. Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC), non-hematopoietic cells that can be obtained from several adult and fetal tissues, are among the most promising candidates. In this review, we will focus on current pre-clinical evidence of the immunomodulatory effect of MSC in solid organ transplantation, and discuss the available evidence of their safety and efficacy in clinical trials.
- Immunosuppression Therapy/methods
- Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation/methods
- Organ Transplantation
- Transplantation Tolerance/immunology