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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

Exploiting paracrine mechanisms of tissue regeneration to repair damaged organs

Diana F Anthony and Paul G Shiels*

Author Affiliations

Department of Surgery, Institute of Cancer Sciences, College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Western Infirmary, Glasgow G11 6NT, UK

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Transplantation Research 2013, 2:10  doi:10.1186/2047-1440-2-10

Published: 20 June 2013

Abstract

Stem cells have been studied for many years for their potential to repair damaged organs in the human body. Although many different mechanisms have been suggested as to how stem cells may initiate and facilitate repair processes, much remains unknown. Recently, there has been considerable interest in the idea that stem cells may exert their effects in vivo via paracrine actions. This could involve the release of cytokines, growth factors or secreted extracellular vesicles. This article reviews the role that paracrine actions may play in tissue regeneration. In particular, it considers how microvesicles, as a mediator or modulator of paracrine action, can be exploited as a tool for non-cell-based therapies in regenerative medicine.

Keywords:
Stem cells; Paracrine action; Tissue and cell regeneration; Microvesicles