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Mesenchymal stem cells–based therapies have shown promising effects in experimental acute respiratory distress syndrome. Different mesenchymal stem cells sources may result in diverse effects in respiratory diseases; however, there is no information regarding the best source of mesenchymal stem cells to treat pulmonary acute respiratory distress syndrome. We tested the hypothesis that mesenchymal stem cells derived from bone marrow, adipose tissue, and lung tissue would lead to different beneficial effects on lung and distal organ damage in experimental pulmonary acute respiratory distress syndrome.Animal study and primary cell culture.Laboratory investigation.Seventy-five Wistar rats.Wistar rats received saline (control) or Escherichia coli lipopolysaccharide (acute respiratory distress syndrome) intratracheally. On day 2, acute respiratory distress syndrome animals were further randomized to receive saline or bone marrow, adipose tissue, or lung tissue mesenchymal stem cells (1 × 105 cells) IV. Lung mechanics, histology, and protein levels of inflammatory mediators and growth factors were analyzed 5 days after mesenchymal stem cells administration. RAW 264.7 cells (a macrophage cell line) were incubated with lipopolysaccharide followed by coculture or not with bone marrow, adipose tissue, and lung tissue mesenchymal stem cells (105 cells/mL medium).Regardless of mesenchymal stem cells source, cells administration improved lung function and reduced alveolar collapse, tissue cellularity, collagen, and elastic fiber content in lung tissue, as well as decreased apoptotic cell counts in liver. Bone marrow and adipose tissue mesenchymal stem cells administration also reduced levels of tumor necrosis factor–α, interleukin-1β, keratinocyte-derived chemokine, transforming growth factor–β, and vascular endothelial growth factor, as well as apoptotic cell counts in lung and kidney, while increasing expression of keratinocyte growth factor in lung tissue. Additionally, mesenchymal stem cells differently modulated the secretion of biomarkers by macrophages depending on their source.Mesenchymal stem cells from different sources led to variable responses in lungs and distal organs. Bone marrow and adipose tissue mesenchymal stem cells yielded greater beneficial effects than lung tissue mesenchymal stem cells. These findings may be regarded as promising in clinical trials.