Mesenchymal Stromal Cells: an Antimicrobial and Host-Directed Therapy for Complex Infectious Diseases

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

142 Downloads (Pure)


There is an urgent need for new antimicrobial strategies for treating complex infections and emerging pathogens. Human mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) are adult multipotent cells with antimicrobial properties, mediated through direct bactericidal activity and modulation of host innate and adaptive immune cells. More than 30 studies have reported on the use of human MSCs for the treatment of infectious diseases, with many more studies of animal MSCs in same-species models of infection. MSCs demonstrate potent antimicrobial effects against the major classes of human pathogens (bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites) across a wide range of infection models. Mechanistic studies have yielded important insight into their immunomodulatory and bactericidal activity, which can be enhanced through various forms of preconditioning. MSCs are being investigated in over 80 clinical trials for difficult-to-treat infectious diseases, including sepsis and pulmonary, intra-abdominal, cutaneous, and viral infections. Completed trials consistently report MSCs to be safe and well tolerated, with signals of efficacy against some infectious diseases. Although significant obstacles must be overcome to produce a standardized, affordable, clinical-grade cell therapy, these studies suggest that MSCs may have particular potential as an adjunct therapy in complex or resistant infections.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00064-21
JournalClinical microbiology reviews
Issue number4
Early online date06 Oct 2021
Publication statusEarly online date - 06 Oct 2021


  • host-directed therapy
  • infectious diseases
  • cell therapy
  • antimicrobial
  • mesenchymal stromal cells
  • clinical trials
  • immunotherapy
  • pathogens
  • immunomodulation


Dive into the research topics of 'Mesenchymal Stromal Cells: an Antimicrobial and Host-Directed Therapy for Complex Infectious Diseases'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this