Stem Cell Reviews and Reports

, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 375–392 | Cite as

Immunosuppressive Properties of Mesenchymal Stem Cells

  • Mohamed Abumaree
  • Mohammed Al Jumah
  • Rishika A. Pace
  • Bill KalionisEmail author


Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) can be isolated from different adult tissues including bone marrow, adipose tissue, cord blood and placenta. MSCs modulate the immune function of the major immune cell populations involved in alloantigen recognition and elimination, including antigen presenting cells, T cells, B cells and natural killer cells. Many clinical trials are currently underway that employ MSCs to treat human immunological diseases. However, the molecular mechanism that mediates the immunosuppressive effect of MSCs is still unclear and the safety of using MSC in patient needs further confirmation. Here, we review the cytokines that activate MSCs and the soluble factors produced by MSCs, which allow them to exert their immunosuppressive effects. We review the mechanism responsible, at least in part, for the immune suppressive effects of MSCs and highlight areas of research required for a better understanding of MSC immune modulation.


Stem cells Immunosuppression Mesenchymal stem cells Immune modulation 



We wish to acknowledge the financial support of KAIMRC Grant No. RC08/114, KACST Grant No. ARP-29-186, NHMRC Grant No. 509178, the RWH Foundation, Cecilia Kilkeary Foundation, Eirene Lucas Foundation, Harold & Cora Brennen Benevolent Trust (Equity Trustees), Jack Brockhoff Foundation, J & R McGauran Charitable Trust, Diana Brown Trust (Perpetual Trustees), Helen Macpherson Smith Trust, Thomas R & Rosalinda B Ditchfield Medical Research Endowment Fund and the Wenkart Foundation. There are no conflicts of interest with respect to the authors of this work.

Conflict of Interest Declaration

The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohamed Abumaree
    • 1
  • Mohammed Al Jumah
    • 1
  • Rishika A. Pace
    • 2
    • 3
  • Bill Kalionis
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences/King Abdullah International Medical Research Center, King Abdulaziz Medical CityNational Guard Health AffairsRiyadhSaudi Arabia
  2. 2.Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Royal Women’s HospitalUniversity of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia
  3. 3.Department of Perinatal Medicine Pregnancy Research Centre, Royal Women’s HospitalUniversity of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia

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