Can mesenchymal stem/stromal cells and their secretomes combat bacterial persisters?

Bicer M., FİDAN Ö.

World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology, vol.39, no.10, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Review
  • Volume: 39 Issue: 10
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s11274-023-03725-x
  • Journal Name: World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, ABI/INFORM, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), BIOSIS, Biotechnology Research Abstracts, CAB Abstracts, Compendex, Environment Index, Food Science & Technology Abstracts, MEDLINE, Veterinary Science Database
  • Keywords: Antimicrobial peptides, Bacterial persisters, Mesenchymal stem / stromal cells, Secretomes
  • Abdullah Gül University Affiliated: Yes


The increasing number of life-threatening infections caused by persister bacteria is associated with various issues, including antimicrobial resistance and biofilm formation. Infections due to persister cells are often difficult to suppress without the use of last-resort antibiotics. Throughout the world, bacterial persistence and resistance create an unmet clinical demand for the exploration of newly introduced therapeutic approaches. Mesenchymal stem / stromal cells (MSCs) have an antimicrobial activity to protect against bacterial infections, including those caused by bacterial persisters. MSCs have substantial potential to secrete antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), including cathelicidin, beta-defensins, lipocalin-2, hepcidin, indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO), cysteine proteases, and inducible nitric oxide synthases (iNOS). MSCs possess the potential to contribute to innate immunity by regulating the immune response. Recently, MSCs and their secreted components have been reported to improve antimicrobial activity. Bactericidal activity by MSCs and their secretomes has been shown to be mediated in part by the secretion of AMPs. Even though they were discovered more than 80 years ago, therapeutic options for persisters are restricted, and there is an urgent need for alternative treatment regimens. Hence, this review intends to critically assess the current literature on the effects of MSCs and their secretomes on persister bacteria. MSCs and their secretome-based therapies could be preferred as an up-and-coming approach to reinforce the antimicrobial efficiency in persister infections.