Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences

, Volume 74, Issue 13, pp 2345–2360 | Cite as

Interactions between mesenchymal stem cells and the immune system

  • Na Li
  • Jinlian Hua


In addition to being multi-potent, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) possess immunomodulatory functions that have been investigated as potential treatments in various immune disorders. MSCs can robustly interact with cells of the innate and adaptive immune systems, either through direct cell–cell contact or through their secretome. In this review, we discuss current findings regarding the interplay between MSCs and different immune cell subsets. We also draw attention to the mechanisms involved.


Mesenchymal stem cell Inflammation Immune regulation Plasticity 



Mesenchymal stem cells;


Stem cell antigen-1


Embryonic stem cells


Induced pluripotent stem cells




Transforming growth factor beta


Hepatocyte growth factor




Regulatory T cell


Natural killer


Dendritic cell


Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis


Systemic lupus erythematosus


Graft-versus-host disease


Tumor necrosis factor




Nitric oxide synthase




Nitric oxide


Prostaglandin E2


CXC chemokine receptor3


C-C chemokine receptor type 5


Intercellular adhesion molecule 1


Vascular cell adhesion molecule 1


Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase


Human leukocyte antigen class I molecule G5


Extracellular vesicle


Tumor necrosis factor-induced protein 6


Regulatory B cell


Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3


B lymphocyte-induced maturation protein 1


IL-1 receptor antagonist


Antigen-presenting cell


Macrophage migration inhibitory factor.



This study was done with the support of Grants from the China National Basic Research Program (JFYS 2016YFA0100203), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31272518, 31572399), and the Program of the Shaanxi Province (2015NY157).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Veterinary Medicine, Shaanxi Center of Stem Cells Engineering and TechnologyNorthwest A&F UniversityYanglingChina

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