Review of current and potential applications of mesenchymal stem cells in exotic animal species

Valerie A. Johnson Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI

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 DVM, PhD, DACVECC

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Abstract

The discovery that a population of cells derived from adult tissues had regenerative properties and could be expanded and utilized therapeutically led to an abundance of research into the safety and efficacy of these cells for a variety of disease processes. Derived from tissues of mesenchymal origin, these cells were called mesenchymal stem cells or mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs). MSCs were subsequently found to have a variety of anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and regenerative properties both in vitro and in vivo. These cells have been extensively studied and demonstrated to be effective in the treatment of autoimmune diseases, inflammatory diseases, infectious diseases, and other pathologic conditions. Multiple veterinary clinical trials have been performed for diseases such as osteoarthritis, soft tissue, and tendon injuries in addition to other inflammatory and infectious conditions. Exotic animal species can pose additional challenges to the treatment of common medical conditions such as osteoarthritis due to varying metabolism and tolerance to medications as well as potential difficulty to medicate or utilize other common forms of therapy such as physical therapy, laser, massage, and acupuncture. Current knowledge of MSC use in exotic species is limited, but there is a large potential for benefit to a variety of species utilizing this novel therapeutic tool. This review includes a brief overview of mechanisms and known applications of this therapy as well as current and potential applications of MSCs in exotic animal species.

Abstract

The discovery that a population of cells derived from adult tissues had regenerative properties and could be expanded and utilized therapeutically led to an abundance of research into the safety and efficacy of these cells for a variety of disease processes. Derived from tissues of mesenchymal origin, these cells were called mesenchymal stem cells or mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs). MSCs were subsequently found to have a variety of anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and regenerative properties both in vitro and in vivo. These cells have been extensively studied and demonstrated to be effective in the treatment of autoimmune diseases, inflammatory diseases, infectious diseases, and other pathologic conditions. Multiple veterinary clinical trials have been performed for diseases such as osteoarthritis, soft tissue, and tendon injuries in addition to other inflammatory and infectious conditions. Exotic animal species can pose additional challenges to the treatment of common medical conditions such as osteoarthritis due to varying metabolism and tolerance to medications as well as potential difficulty to medicate or utilize other common forms of therapy such as physical therapy, laser, massage, and acupuncture. Current knowledge of MSC use in exotic species is limited, but there is a large potential for benefit to a variety of species utilizing this novel therapeutic tool. This review includes a brief overview of mechanisms and known applications of this therapy as well as current and potential applications of MSCs in exotic animal species.

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