All three types of adult stem cells (HSCs, MSCs, NSCs) are able to restore self-tolerance, provide immunomodulation and neuroprotection, and promote regeneration in patients with chronic diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS).
Transplanting stem cells is a potentially effective and safe treatment for MS. Although HSCs and MSCs are more available than NSCs, the latter have the unique capacity of remyelination. Because MS is characterized by damage to the myelin sheath, research surrounding stem cell therapy for MS focuses largely on the therapeutic use of NSCs.
Currently, no studies have directly compared other therapies to stem cell therapies.
According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society: “In light of the urgent need for more effective treatments for MS, particularly for those with more progressive forms of the disease, we believe that the potential of all types of cell therapies must be explored.”
MSCs (mesenchymal stem cells)
Transplanted MSCs transform into neurons and endothelial cells after induction, and they also secrete factors in vitro and in vivo with various functions such as neurogenesis, inhibition of apoptosis (programmed cell death), neuronal and glial cell survival, expansion of axonal and myelin repair processes, development and protection of nervous tissue and integration, and improvement of local stem cells.
Bone marrow MSCs have the ability to transdifferentiate into (become) neuron-like cells in vitro so they might also have the same ability to deliver cell substitutes to the injured central nervous system.
Treatments using MSCs could be potentially reasonable and advanced way of repairing inflamed and impaired tissue.
MSCs therapy in MS uses either intravenous injection or the intrathecal injection route (into the spinal cord to reach the cerebrospinal fluid). The latter can possibly lead to meningeal irritation, which makes intravenous administration preferable.