Published online Aug 26, 2020. doi: 10.4252/wjsc.v12.i8.814
Peer-review started: March 15, 2020
First decision: April 7, 2020
Revised: April 23, 2020
Accepted: June 27, 2020
Article in press: June 27, 2020
Published online: August 26, 2020
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are multipotent stem cells with marked potential for regenerative medicine because of their strong immunosuppressive and regenerative abilities. The therapeutic effects of MSCs are based in part on their secretion of biologically active factors in extracellular vesicles known as exosomes. Exosomes have a diameter of 30-100 nm and mediate intercellular communication and material exchange. MSC-derived exosomes (MSC-Exos) have potential for cell-free therapy for diseases of, for instance, the kidney, liver, heart, nervous system, and musculoskeletal system. Hence, MSC-Exos are an alternative to MSC-based therapy for regenerative medicine. We review MSC-Exos and their therapeutic potential for a variety of diseases and injuries.
Core tip: Mesenchymal stem cell-derived exosomes (MSC-Exos) contain a variety of functional proteins, mRNAs, microRNAs, and signaling lipids. MSC-Exos are more stable than their parent cells and do not have the safety issues of living cells, such as tumorigenesis and occlusion of the microvasculature. MSC-Exos represent an alternative to MSC-based therapies for regenerative medicine. In this review, we summarize the characteristics of MSC-Exos and highlight their functions and therapeutic potential for tissue/organ regeneration and for kidney, liver, cardiovascular, neurological, and musculoskeletal diseases, as well as cutaneous wound healing.