Can Stem Cell Therapy help with weight loss?

Obesity is now a global problem and it is called “Globesity” which means many people around the world suffer from this disease. Obesity is defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents a risk to health. The rate of obesity has risen in recent decades and it is predicted to rise even more because of changing lifestyle and demography. In 2016, more than 650 million adults were obese.

Obesity is an important risk factor for type 2 diabetes, dyslipidemia, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and some types of cancers. The life-threatening increase in obesity evoked some main strategies to control it: lifestyle modification, taking medication, and undergoing surgery.

Obesity is still a major health problem which is needed to develop a novel treatment to enhance the effectiveness of obesity treatment. Nowadays, cell-based products propose promising advances in treatment of several disorders.  Accordingly, clinical application of different types of stem cells can help scientists and clinicians to treat diseases including diabetes, disc degeneration, neurodegenerative disorders and obesity.

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are multipotent cells which are considered to be a common applicable type of stem cells. These cells can be derived from various sources like bone marrow, blood, umbilical cord tissue and adipose tissue and can differentiate into several cell types like chondrocytes, osteoblasts, adipocytes and myoblasts. 

MSCs play an essential role in adipogenesis which is a fundamental part in obesity and this makes them a potential target for therapeutic use. There are complex signaling pathways of adipogenesis from MSCs and many studies have determined the pathways governing MSC adipogenesis and realize therapeutic strategies for obesity.

Results from multiple studies have shown that the use of stem cells can significantly suppress obesity and related diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes and improves dyslipidemia and insulin resistance. 

Intervention studies such as controlling the adipogenicity from MSC to brown adipocyte or from white to brown adipogenesis can be used as a therapeutic strategy for obesity. Brown adipose tissue has the role of fat burning and production of heat in the body. The activity of this type of adipose tissue is reduced with age. Future research on molecular control of brown or beige adipogenesis may result in new and novel achievements.

Obesity is an inflammatory disease, and relevant changes in the cytokine release profile are expected when comparing obese and non-obese patients and even after massive weight loss. The way that stem cell therapy can aid with weight loss is by decreasing that chronic inflammatory state by secretion of different anti-inflammatory cytokines and growth factors.  Different studies have shown that stem cell therapy can improve the metabolic control in patients with type 1 and 2 diabetes mellitus. 

In conclusion, stem cell therapy is an important therapeutic option for obesity. However, long term studies are required to evaluate the efficacy and safety of stem cell therapy to find new and novel strategies for the treatment of obesity.


Payab, M., Goodarzi, P., Heravani, N. F., Hadavandkhani, M., Zarei, Z., Falahzadeh, K., Arjmand, B. (2018). Stem Cell and Obesity: Current State and Future Perspective. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology.