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Mesenchymal stromal cells and their secreted extracellular vesicles as therapeutic tools for COVID-19 pneumonia?

  • Muraca, Maurizio1
  • Pessina, Augusto2
  • Pozzobon, Michela1
  • Dominici, Massimo3
  • Galderisi, Umberto4
  • Lazzari, Lorenza5
  • Parolini, Ornella6
  • Lucarelli, Enrico7
  • Perilongo, Giorgio1
  • Baraldi, Eugenio1
  • 1 Department of Women's and Children's Health, University of Padova, Italy. , (Italy)
  • 2 CRC StaMeTec, Department of Biomedical, Surgical and Dental Sciences, University of MilanVia Pascal 3620133 Milano - Italy. Electronic address: [email protected] , (Italy)
  • 3 Laboratory of Cellular Therapy, University Hospital of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy. , (Italy)
  • 4 Department of Experimental Medicine, Luigi Vanvitelli University, Naples, Italy. , (Italy)
  • 5 Laboratory of Regenerative Medicine - Cell Factory, Department of Trasfusion Medicine and Hematology, Fondazione IRCCS Ca' Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Milan, Italy. , (Italy)
  • 6 Department of Life Science and Public Health, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, and Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A Gemelli IRCCS, Rome, Italy. , (Italy)
  • 7 Osteoarticolar Regeneration Laboratory, IRCCS Istituto Ortopedico Rizzoli, Bologna, Italy. , (Italy)
Published Article
Journal of controlled release : official journal of the Controlled Release Society
Publication Date
Sep 10, 2020
DOI: 10.1016/j.jconrel.2020.06.036
PMID: 32622963


The COVID-19 epidemic represents an unprecedented global health emergency, further aggravated by the lack of effective therapies. For this reason, several clinical trials are testing different off-label drugs, already approved for other pathologies. Mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs) have been tested during the last two decades for the treatment of various pathologic conditions, including acute and chronic lung diseases, both in animal models and in patients. In particular, promising results have been obtained in the experimental therapy of acute respiratory distress syndrome, which represents the most threatening complication of COVID-19 infection. Furthermore, more recently, great interest has been devoted to the possible clinical applications of extracellular vesicles secreted by MSCs, nanoparticles that convey much of the biological effects and of the therapeutic efficacy of their cells of origin. This review summarizes the experimental evidence underlying the possible use of MSCs and of MSC-EVs in severe COVID-19 infection and underlines the need to evaluate the possible efficacy of these therapeutic approaches through controlled studies under the supervision of the Regulatory Authorities. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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