A Double-Blinded Placebo-Controlled Evaluation of Adipose-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Treatment of Canine Atopic Dermatitis

Document Type


Publication Date



Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have emerged as a new therapy for various immune-mediated inflammatory diseases. In this study we perform the first double-blinded, placebo-controlled evaluation of the efficacy of adipose-derived allogenic canine MSCs for the treatment of canine atopic dermatitis (cAD). Enrolled canine patients were randomly divided into placebo (PBS saline), low-dose (5 × 105 cells/kg), and high-dose (5 × 106 cells/kg) treatment groups. Each patient received three subcutaneous MSCs treatments or PBS saline at four-week intervals with injections at five sites. Patients were monitored by physical exams, pruritus visual analog scales (PVAS) signed by the primary caretaker, canine atopic dermatitis extent and severity index-4 (CADESI-4) scores by two veterinarians, and complete blood count and serum chemistry analysis along with laboratory analysis for potential biomarkers. Patients were kept off any immune-modulating drugs during the study period, and oral antibiotics and topicals were used for managing pruritus and secondary infections. The PVAS scores and the serum miR-483 levels were significantly lower in the high dose group compared to the placebo group at day90 post first-treatment. The CADESI-4 scores of the high dose group also showed downward trends. No severe adverse effects were observed in any patient in this study. The high dose MSC treatment is efficacious in alleviating the clinical signs of cAD until 30 days after the last subcutaneous administration of MSCs, and miRNA-483 may be a reliable prognostic biomarker for cAD. The MSCs efficacy and potential biomarkers should be further explored by a larger scale clinical trial.


This article was originally published in Veterinary Research Communications, volume 46, in 2021. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11259-021-09853-9

The Link to Full Text button above directs users to a free read-only version of the article.

Peer Reviewed