Since they were first described, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been shown to have important effector mechanisms and the potential for use in cell therapy. A great deal of research has been focused on unveiling how MSCs contribute to anti-inflammatory responses, including describing several cell populations involved and identifying soluble and other effector molecules. In this review, we discuss some of the contemporary evidence for use of MSCs in the field of immune tolerance, with a special emphasis on transplantation. Although considerable effort has been devoted to understanding the biological function of MSCs, additional resources are required to clarify the mechanisms of their induction of immune tolerance, which will undoubtedly lead to improved clinical outcomes for MSC-based therapies.
© 2017 New York Academy of Sciences.