Obesity is an increasing global health problem, but its treatment is not yet optimal, especially in the long term. For this reason, preclinical studies have been conducted relating to a new therapeutic strategy for obesity based on adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (AD-MSCs). The aim of our systematic review is to summarize these findings deriving from the animal model in order to establish whether there is sufficient evidence to justify going forward to clinical studies.
Literature searches, study selection, methods and quality appraisal were performed as per the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Data were collated using a narrative approach.
Of the 578 articles retrieved, seven studies met the inclusion criteria, and their analysis revealed several main findings. There was strong evidence of the positive effect of AD-MSCs in obesity treatment in terms of body weight, glucose metabolism homeostasis, lipid profiles, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and systemic inflammation. Moreover, there was recent evidence from a few studies for a significant effect of AD-MSCs transplantation on the improvement of obesity-related hormonal status, (i.e., leptin) and body composition patterns, though these investigations may need further replication.
The effects of AD-MSCs transplantation on obesity, in terms of weight loss and obesity-related diseases, are promising in animal models. In the future, further well-designed studies should be performed to understand the mechanism of action and to overcome some methodological limitations such as the small sample sizes and risk of bias evidenced in our systematic review, before moving forward to assess AD-MSCs as a potential strategy for human obesity management.
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AD-MSCs; mesenchymal stem cells; metabolic syndrome; obesity; type 2 diabetes; weight loss