Mesenchymal stromal cells for the treatment of ocular autoimmune diseases

Joo Youn Oh, Ryang Hwa Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mesenchymal stromal cells, commonly referred to as MSCs, have emerged as a promising cell-based therapy for a range of autoimmune diseases thanks to several therapeutic advantages. Key among these are: 1) the ability to modulate innate and adaptive immune responses and to promote tissue regeneration, 2) the ease of their isolation from readily accessible tissues and expansion at scale in culture, 3) their low immunogenicity enabling use as an allogeneic “off-the-shelf” product, and 4) MSC therapy's safety and feasibility in humans, as demonstrated in more than one thousand clinical trials. Evidence from preclinical studies and early clinical trials indicate the therapeutic potential of MSCs and their derivatives for efficacy in ocular autoimmune diseases such as autoimmune uveoretinitis and Sjögren's syndrome-related dry eye disease. In this review, we provide an overview of the current understanding of the therapeutic mechanisms of MSCs, and summarize the results from preclinical and clinical studies that have used MSCs or their derivatives for the treatment of ocular autoimmune diseases. We also discuss the challenges to the successful clinical application of MSC therapy, and suggest strategies for overcoming them.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100967
JournalProgress in Retinal and Eye Research
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • Dry eye disease
  • Mesenchymal stem cell
  • Mesenchymal stromal cell
  • Ocular autoimmune disease
  • Sjögren's syndrome
  • Uveitis
  • Uveoretinitis


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