Management of Rheumatoid Arthritis: Possibilities and Challenges of Mesenchymal Stromal/Stem Cell-Based Therapies

Yusuke Shimizu, Edward Hosea Ntege, Chinatsu Azuma, Fuminari Uehara, Takashi Toma, Kotaro Higa, Hiroki Yabiku, Naoki Matsuura, Yoshikazu Inoue, Hiroshi Sunami

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a highly prevalent, chronic, and progressive autoimmune disorder primarily affecting joints and muscles. The associated inflammation, pain, and motor restriction negatively impact patient quality of life (QOL) and can even contribute to premature mortality. Further, conventional treatments such as antiinflammatory drugs are only symptomatic. Substantial progress has been made on elucidating the etiopathology of overt RA, in particular the contributions of innate and adaptive immune system dysfunction to chronic inflammation. Although the precise mechanisms underlying onset and progression remain elusive, the discovery of new drug targets, early diagnosis, and new targeted treatments have greatly improved the prognosis and QOL of patients with RA. However, a sizable proportion of patients develop severe adverse effects, exhibit poor responses, or cannot tolerate long-term use of these drugs, necessitating more effective and safer therapeutic alternatives. Mounting preclinical and clinical evidence suggests that the transplantation of multipotent adult stem cells such as mesenchymal stromal/stem cells is a safe and effective treatment strategy for controlling chronic inflammation and promoting tissue regeneration in patients with intractable diseases, including RA. This review describes the current status of MSC-based therapies for RA as well as the opportunities and challenges to broader clinical application.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1905
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 07-2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology


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