NYMC Faculty Publications

The Efficacy of Stem Cells in Wound Healing: A Systematic Review

Author Type(s)

Resident/Fellow, Student, Faculty

Journal Title

International Journal of Molecular Sciences

Document Type


Publication Date




Second Department


Third Department

Health Sciences Library


Wound healing is an intricate process involving coordinated interactions among inflammatory cells, skin fibroblasts, keratinocytes, and endothelial cells. Successful tissue repair hinges on controlled inflammation, angiogenesis, and remodeling facilitated by the exchange of cytokines and growth factors. Comorbid conditions can disrupt this process, leading to significant morbidity and mortality. Stem cell therapy has emerged as a promising strategy for enhancing wound healing, utilizing cells from diverse sources such as endothelial progenitor cells, bone marrow, adipose tissue, dermal, and inducible pluripotent stem cells. In this systematic review, we comprehensively investigated stem cell therapies in chronic wounds, summarizing the clinical, translational, and primary literature. A systematic search across PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, Google Scholar, and Cochrane Library yielded 22,454 articles, reduced to 44 studies after rigorous screening. Notably, adipose tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells (AD-MSCs) emerged as an optimal choice due to their abundant supply, easy isolation, ex vivo proliferative capacities, and pro-angiogenic factor secretion. AD-MSCs have shown efficacy in various conditions, including peripheral arterial disease, diabetic wounds, hypertensive ulcers, bullous diabeticorum, venous ulcers, and post-Mohs micrographic surgery wounds. Delivery methods varied, encompassing topical application, scaffold incorporation, combination with plasma-rich proteins, and atelocollagen administration. Integration with local wound care practices resulted in reduced pain, shorter healing times, and improved cosmesis. Stem cell transplantation represents a potential therapeutic avenue, as transplanted stem cells not only differentiate into diverse skin cell types but also release essential cytokines and growth factors, fostering increased angiogenesis. This approach holds promise for intractable wounds, particularly chronic lower-leg wounds, and as a post-Mohs micrographic surgery intervention for healing defects through secondary intention. The potential reduction in healthcare costs and enhancement of patient quality of life further underscore the attractiveness of stem cell applications in wound care. This systematic review explores the clinical utilization of stem cells and stem cell products, providing valuable insights into their role as ancillary methods in treating chronic wounds.