Stem cell treatment for patients with COVID-19-induced pneumonia
Keywords:stem cells, cell therapy, Coronavirus, alveolar cell regeneration
Coronavirus Disease 2019 or COVID-19 is caused by a novel virus from the Coronaviridae family. The genetic material of these viruses is similar to those of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV). Therefore, SARS-CoV-2 is officially named for these novel viruses. After entering the human body, SARS-CoV-2 attaches itself to the ACE2 receptor of the host cells by using their surface spike protein. It was found that the ACE2 receptor is highly expressed in the alveolar type 2 of the lungs. After infection, the immune system of the host responds to the SARS-CoV-2 by secreting a high amount of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines resulting in a cytokine storm condition. A cytokine storm can cause pulmonary edema, decreased oxygen exchange and the subsequent failure of respiratory system. Due to the pandemic of SARS-CoV-2, physicians and researchers are urgently searching for effective ways to control the spread of the virus and to treat the patients. The immunomodulatory properties of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have gained a lot of attention from researchers, who have used MSCs for the treatment of severe acute respiratory syndrome. The researchers discovered that cytokine storm conditions can be improved by the infusion of MSCs. Moreover, MSCs enable the stimulation of alveolar cell regeneration. This review focused on basic knowledge of SARS-CoV-2, MSCs and the current application of MSCs for the alleviation of the suffering of patients with COVID-19-induced severe acute respiratory syndrome.
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