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Institute for Regenerative Medicine • IREM

Generali M. et al.: "Heterogeneous Expression of ACE2 and TMPRRS2 in Mesenchymal Stromal Cells" in Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine

The outbreak of COVID-19 has become a serious public health emergency. The virus targets cells by binding the ACE2 receptor. After infection, the virus triggers in some humans an immune storm containing the release of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines followed by multiple organ failure. Several vaccines are enrolled, but an effective treatment is still missing. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have shown to secrete immunomodulatory factors that suppress this cytokine storm. Therefore, MSCs have been suggested as a potential treatment option for COVID-19. We report here that the ACE2 expression is minimal or nonexistent in MSC derived from three different human tissue sources (adipose tissue, umbilical cord Wharton`s jelly and bone marrow). In contrast, TMPRSS2 that is implicated in SARS-CoV-2 entry has been detected in all MSC samples. These results are of particular importance for future MSC-based cell therapies to treat severe cases after COVID-19 infection.