Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease which results in thickening of the vessel wall and narrowing of the lumen. It is a leading cause of death worldwide. Preventive treatment is taken into prioritized consideration since currently no effective approaches to cure atherosclerosis are available. These treatments mainly focus on lowering blood cholesterol levels, especially LDL-C, by statins. Even so, lowering lipid levels is not sufficient to reduce the risk of cardiovascular events in all patients. Recently, atherosclerosis has increasingly been recognized as a chronic inflammatory disease involving the immune system, initiating new therapeutic approaches which could alleviate or prevent atherosclerosis by modulating inflammation. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have emerged as a promising option to relieve inflammation and balance immune responses in inflammatory diseases. Several studies including our group also reported that MSCs may be a new therapeutic option for atherosclerosis. This review summarizes the updated state of our knowledge in the administration of MSCs to alleviate atherosclerosis and discusses some of the key unresolved challenges that need to be solved in future studies.
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