The potential of stem cells to modulate the inflammatory response has generated considerable interest in their therapeutic use in the treatment of inflammatory diseases. Stem cells contribute to the resolution of inflammation by differentiating into specialized cells that can repair damaged tissue. Potential sources of stem cells for use in treating inflammatory conditions are embryonic stem cells, induced pluripotent stem cells and mesenchymal stem cells.
The ability of stem cells to home to sites of injury and modulate the local inflammatory response has been demonstrated in a number of studies. Stem cells do not contribute to the development of chronic inflammation. In addition, the use of stem cells to deliver anti-inflammatory cytokines or other immunomodulatory agents directly to sites of inflammation has shown promise in the treatment of a variety of inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease and Multiple sclerosis. The use of stem cells in the treatment of inflammation is still in its early stages, and much work needs to be done to elucidate the mechanisms by which stem cells modulate the inflammatory response and to optimize their therapeutic use. Nevertheless, the potential of stem cells to reduce inflammation and promote tissue repair offers promise for the treatment of a wide variety of inflammatory diseases.