Mesenchymal stem cell-mediated transfer of mitochondria: mechanisms and functional impact

Francesca Velarde, Sarah Ezquerra, Xavier Delbruyere, Andres Caicedo, Yessia Hidalgo*, Maroun Khoury*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


There is a steadily growing interest in the use of mitochondria as therapeutic agents. The use of mitochondria derived from mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs) for therapeutic purposes represents an innovative approach to treat many diseases (immune deregulation, inflammation-related disorders, wound healing, ischemic events, and aging) with an increasing amount of promising evidence, ranging from preclinical to clinical research. Furthermore, the eventual reversal, induced by the intercellular mitochondrial transfer, of the metabolic and pro-inflammatory profile, opens new avenues to the understanding of diseases’ etiology, their relation to both systemic and local risk factors, and also leads to new therapeutic tools for the control of inflammatory and degenerative diseases. To this end, we illustrate in this review, the triggers and mechanisms behind the transfer of mitochondria employed by MSCs and the underlying benefits as well as the possible adverse effects of MSCs mitochondrial exchange. We relay the rationale and opportunities for the use of these organelles in the clinic as cell-based product.

Original languageEnglish
Article number177
JournalCellular and Molecular Life Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG.


  • Cell- and Tissue-Based Therapy
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases/therapy
  • Macrophages/cytology
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells/cytology
  • Mitochondria/metabolism
  • Mitochondrial Dynamics
  • Paracrine Communication


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