Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a respiratory disorder affecting millions worldwide, may have a newfound ray of hope in its treatment. Cutting-edge researchers are exploring the therapeutic capacity of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in combating the debilitating effects of COPD.
COPD is characterized by abnormal inflammatory responses in the lungs to harmful particles or toxic gases. Traditional pharmacological approaches have focused on alleviating symptoms rather than addressing the underlying causes. However, recent advancements in MSC therapy offer a revolutionary perspective by tackling both the causes and symptoms of this disease.
MSCs possess unique abilities to regulate cellular death and oxidative stress while promoting tissue regeneration and exhibiting beneficial effects. Previous studies have demonstrated that MSC therapy can modulate the immune response in smoke-damaged lungs, leading to a reduction in pro-inflammatory mediators and decreased cellular apoptosis.
Furthermore, MSCs have shown beneficial effects in reducing oxidative stress in various tissues. In the case of the lungs, these cells can protect against pulmonary damage by inhibiting the inflammatory response mediated by free radicals, preventing thickening of the alveolar walls, and reducing neutrophil recruitment.
Research has explored different sources of MSCs for treating COPD and related lung conditions, including adipose-derived (A-MSC) and bone marrow-derived (BM-MSC) cells, among others. Regardless of the cell source used, studies have reported improvements in COPD and emphysema conditions. Notably, lung-derived MSCs (L-MSCs) have shown higher expression of adhesion molecules, contributing to their enhanced retention in the lungs compared to BM-MSCs.
MSCs can be administered through various routes, such as intravenous (IV) and intrathecal (IT) infiltrations. Both approaches have demonstrated positive effects on immunomodulation and lung repair mechanisms. MSC therapy has proven to be a promising treatment option to current oxidative and anti-inflammatory medications in COPD management.
This therapy has shown to be safe and holds great potential in the diagnosis and treatment of COPD. It is important to note that smoking cessation and avoidance of toxic gases are crucial for halting ongoing cellular damage.
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- Diana E, Daniel G, Anand S. Mesenchymal Stem Cell Therapy: An Alternative Approach to Treat Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Ann Stem Cell Res Ther. 2020; 4(1): 1035.