Preclinical Evidence for the Role of Stem/Stromal Cells in COPD

  • Deniz A. Bölükbas
  • Iran Augusto Neves Da Silva
  • Kristina Rydell-Törmänen
  • Darcy E. WagnerEmail author


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is one of the leading causes of death worldwide and there are currently limited treatment options for these patients. The disease is characterized by a reduction in airflow due to chronic bronchitis, as well as airspace enlargement in the distal lung, resulting in a loss of surface area available for gas exchange. At end-stage disease, oxygen therapy and lung transplantation remain the only potential options. The disease is heterogeneous and both inflammatory cells as well as structural cells are thought to play a role in disease onset and progression. Pharmaceutical approaches are ineffective at reversing disease pathology and currently aim only to provide symptomatic relief. A recent area of investigation focuses on exogenous cell therapy, including stem cell administration, and its potential for directing lung regeneration. Cell therapies from a variety of sources, as well as cell-derived products such as extracellular vesicles, have recently shown efficacy in animal models of COPD, but early clinical trials have not yet shown efficacy. In this chapter, we discuss the different animal models of COPD as well as the studies which have been conducted to date with cell therapies. We conclude the chapter with a discussion regarding the limitations of current animal models and discuss potential areas for future study.


COPD Emphysema Chronic bronchitis Cell therapy Stem cells Lung regeneration 



The Knut and Alice Wallenberg foundation, the Medical Faculty at Lund University, and Region Skåne are acknowledged for generous financial support (D.E.W).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Deniz A. Bölükbas
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Iran Augusto Neves Da Silva
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Kristina Rydell-Törmänen
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Darcy E. Wagner
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Experimental Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Lung Bioengineering and RegenerationLund UniversityLundSweden
  2. 2.Faculty of Medicine, Wallenberg Centre for Molecular Medicine at Lund UniversityLund UniversityLundSweden
  3. 3.Lund Stem Cell CenterLund UniversityLundSweden

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