Published online May 26, 2020. doi: 10.4252/wjsc.v12.i5.323
Peer-review started: February 6, 2020
First decision: March 5, 2020
Revised: March 31, 2020
Accepted: April 7, 2020
Article in press: April 7, 2020
Published online: May 26, 2020
Neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, are a group of incurable neurological disorders, characterized by the chronic progressive loss of different neuronal subtypes. However, despite its increasing prevalence among the ever-increasing aging population, little progress has been made in the coincident immense efforts towards development of therapeutic agents. Research interest has recently turned towards stem cells including stem cells-derived exosomes, neurotrophic factors, and their combination as potential therapeutic agents in neurodegenerative diseases. In this review, we summarize the progress in therapeutic strategies based on stem cells combined with neurotrophic factors and mesenchymal stem cells-derived exosomes for neurodegenerative diseases, with an emphasis on the combination therapy.
Core tip: Neurodegenerative diseases are currently incurable and the therapeutic strategies have been disappointing. Stem cells and neurotrophic factors are promising therapeutic agents, with the combination of the two being more attractive. This review focuses on the advances in such combination therapies in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. The combination of stem cells with neurotrophic factors can not only replenish the target neurons but also provide secreted neurotrophins to improve the microenvironment for nerve repair and regeneration, which might represent a new approach in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.