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This literature review will discuss the difference in efficacy and side effect profile between methotrexate monotherapy and mesenchymal stem cell therapy for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is a debilitating inflammatory condition that effects a person’s mobility and can cause chronic, intense pain. Due to the side effect profile of methotrexate, mesenchymal stem cell therapy is being investigated as a treatment option. There were 11 scholarly articles evaluated for the purpose of this literature review. Data compiled from these studies supports the use of Mesenchymal stem cells as treatment for rheumatoid arthritis due to immunomodulatory effect on multiple immune components that contribute to the development of rheumatoid arthritis. Mesenchymal stem cell treatment was also less likely to cause serious side effects than methotrexate therapy. However, the determination of whether mesenchymal stem cell therapy is definitively more effective than methotrexate monotherapy cannot be made. This is due to a lack of robust research available for the evaluation of mesenchymal stem cell therapy on rheumatoid arthritis. Additionally, the exact mechanism by which mesenchymal stem cells provide the desired immunomodulatory effects is not yet well understood.


Physician Assistant Studies

Degree Name

Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS)

First Advisor

Kauffman, Russell

Publication Date

Spring 2024


Medicine and Health Sciences

Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis: Immunosuppression Versus Stem Cell Therapy