Mesenchymal stromal cells are multipotent cells that are being used to treat a variety of medical conditions. Over the past decade, there has been considerable excitement about using MSCs to treat neurodegenerative diseases, which are diseases that are typically fatal and without other robust therapies. In this review, we discuss the proposed MSC mechanisms of action in neurodegenerative diseases, which include growth factor secretion, exosome secretion, and attenuation of neuroinflammation. We then provide a summary of preclinical and early clinical work on MSC therapies in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, multiple system atrophy, Parkinson disease, and Alzheimer disease. Continued rigorous and controlled studies of MSC therapies will be critical in order to establish efficacy and protect patients from possible untoward effects.
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