Mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) transplantation has been explored as a new clinical approach to repair injured tissue. A growing corpus of studies have highlighted two important aspects of MSC therapy: (1) MSCs can modulate T-cell mediated immunological responses, and (2) systemically administered MSCs home to sites of ischemia or injury. In this review, we describe the known mechanisms of immunomodulation and homing of MSCs. First, we examine the low immunogenicity of MSCs and their antigen presentation capabilities. Next, we discuss the paracrine interactions between MSCs and innate (dendritic cells (DC)) and adaptive immune cells (T lymphocytes) with a focus on prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) and toll-like receptor (TLR) signaling pathways. We transition to outline the steps of activation, rolling/adhesion, and transmigration of MSCs into target tissues during inflammatory or ischemic conditions. These aspects of MSC grafts - immunomodulation and homing - are contextualized to understand a reported side-effect of MSC therapy, cancer development.
Immunosuppression; T-cell proliferation; Stem cell migration; IFN-γ; NFκB
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) can suppress dendritic cells (DCs) maturation and function, mediated by soluble factors, such as indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO), prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), and nitric oxide (NO). Interleukin-10 (IL-10) is a common immunosuppressive cytokine, and the downstream signaling of the JAK-STAT pathway has been shown to be involved with DCs differentiation and maturation in the context of cancer. Whether IL-10 and/or the JAK-STAT pathway play a role in the inhibitory effect of MSCs on DCs maturation remains controversial. In our study, we cultured MSCs and DCs derived from rat bone marrow under different culturing conditions. Using Transwell plates, we detected by ELISA that the level of IL-10 significantly increased in the supernatants of MSC-DC co-cultures at 48 hours. The cell immunofluorescence assay suggested that the MSCs secreted more IL-10 than the DCs in the co-cultures. Adding exogenous IL-10 to the DCs monoculture or MSC-DC co-cultures stimulated IL-10 and led to a decrease in IL-12, and lower expression of the DCs surface markers CD80, CD86, OX62, MHC-II and CD11b/c. Supplementing the culture with an IL-10 neutralizing antibody (IL-10NA) showed precisely the opposite effect of adding IL-10. Moreover, we demonstrated that the JAK-STAT signaling pathway is involved in inhibiting DCs maturation. Both JAK1 and STAT3 expression and IL-10 secretion decreased markedly after adding a JAK inhibitor (AG490) to the co-culture plate. We propose that there is an IL-10 positive feedback loop, which may explain our observations of elevated IL-10 and enhanced JAK1 and STAT3 expression. Overall, we demonstrated that MSCs inhibit the maturation of DCs through the stimulation of IL-10 secretion, and by activating the JAK1 and STAT3 signaling pathway.
Background: In diseased joints, the catabolic environment results in progressive joint damage. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) can have immunomodulatory effects by secreting anti-inflammatory factors. To exert these effects, MSCs need to be triggered by pro-inflammatory cytokines. To explore the potential of MSCs as a treatment for diseased joints, we studied the effect of synovial fluid (SF) from donors with different joint diseases and donors without joint pathology on the immunomodulatory capacities of human MSCs in vitro. We hypothesized that SF of diseased joints influences the immunomodulatory effects of MSCs. Materials and Methods: MSCs were cultured in medium with SF of six osteoarthritis (OA) or six rheumatoid arthritis (RA) donors and three donors without joint pathology were used as control. Gene expressions of IL-6, HGF, TNFa, TGFb1, and indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) were analyzed. l-kynurenine concentration in conditioned medium (CM) by MSCs with SF was determined as a measure of IDO activity by MSCs. Furthermore, the effect of CM with SF on proliferation of activated lymphocytes was analyzed. Results: Addition of SF significantly up-regulated the mRNA expression of IL-6 and IDO in MSCs. SF(OA) induced significantly higher expression of IDO than SF(control), although no difference in IDO activity of the MSCs could be shown with a l-kynurenine assay. Medium conditioned by MSCs with SF(OA or RA) suppressed activated lymphocyte proliferation in vitro more than medium conditioned by MSCs without SF or with SF(control). Discussion: SF can influence the expression of genes involved in immunomodulation by MSCs and the effect on lymphocyte proliferation. We found indications for disease-specific differences between SFs but the variation between donors, even within one disease group was high. These data warrant further research to examine the potential application of MSC therapy in arthritic joints.
MSC; osteoarthritis; rheumatoid arthritis; synovial fluid; immunomodulation
The ability of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) to suppress immune responses combined with their potential to actively participate in tissue repair provides a strong rationale for the use of MSCs as a new treatment option in diseases characterized by inflammation and severe tissue damage, such as Crohn's disease (CD) and perianal fistulas. Multiple studies have shown that MSCs suppress a range of immune cells, such as dendritic cells (DC), naïve and effector T cells, and natural killer (NK) cells. Recently published papers attribute the immunosuppressive capacity of MSCs to soluble factors produced by MSCs, such as prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), and indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO). Promising results are obtained from phase I and II clinical trials with autologous and allogeneic MSCs as treatment for refractory CD and perianal fistulas; however the question remains: what are the molecular mechanisms underlying the immunomodulating properties of MSCs? This paper highlights the present knowledge on the immunosuppressive effects of MSCs and its complexity in relation to CD and perianal fistulas.
In human skeletal muscle, myoblasts represent the main population of myogenic progenitors. We previously showed that, beside their myogenic differentiation capacities, myoblasts also differentiate towards osteogenic and chondrogenic lineages, some properties generally considered being hallmarks of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). MSCs are also characterized by their immunosuppressive potential, through cell-cell contacts and soluble factors, including prostaglandin E-2 (PGE-2), transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1), interleukine-10, or indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase. We and others also reported that Galectin-1 (Gal-1) and Semaphorin-3A (Sema-3A) were involved in MSCs-mediated immunosuppression. Here, we show that human myoblasts induce a significant and dose-dependant proliferation inhibition, independently of PGE-2 and TGF-β1. Our experiments revealed that myoblasts, in culture or in situ in human muscles, expressed and secreted Gal-1 and Sema-3A. Furthermore, myoblasts immunosuppressive functions were reverted by using blocking antibodies against Gal-1 or Sema-3A. Together, these results demonstrate an unsuspected immunosuppressive effect of myoblasts that may open new therapeutic perspectives.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have acquired great interests for their potential use in the clinical therapy of many diseases because of their functions including multiple lineage differentiation, low immunogenicity and immunosuppression. Many studies suggest that MSCs are strongly immunosuppressive in vitro and in vivo. MSCs exert a profound inhibitory effect on the proliferation of T cells, B cells, dendritic cells and natural killer cells. In addition, several soluble factors have been reported to involved in the immunosuppressive effects by MSCs such as TGF-β, HGF, PGE2, IDO and iNOS. These results suggest that MSCs can be used in the therapy of immune disorder diseases, prevention of organ transplantation rejection and tissue injury. In recent study, we demonstrated that MSCs in tumor inflammatory microenvironment might be elicited of immunosuppressive function. Thus, the application of MSCs in cancer therapy might have negative effect by helping tumor cells escaping from the immune surveillance.
Mesenchymal stem cells; Immunosuppression; Tumor growth
Due to their immunosuppressive properties, human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSC) represent a promising tool for cell-based therapies of autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS). Mouse MSC (mMSC) have been used extensively to characterize and optimize route of administration, motility, cellular targets, and immunosuppressive mechanisms in mouse models of autoimmune diseases, such as experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). Tryptophan (trp) catabolism by indolamine-2,3-dioxygenase 1 (IDO1) is a chief endogenous metabolic pathway that tightly regulates unwanted immune responses through depletion of trp and generation of immunosuppressive kynurenines (kyn). IDO1 activity contributes to the immunosuppressive phenotype of hMSC. Here, we demonstrate that although IDO1 is inducible in bone marrow-derived mMSC by proinflammatory stimuli such as interferon-g (IFN-g) and ligands of toll-like receptors (TLR), it does not lead to catabolism of trp in vitro. This failure to catabolize trp is not due to defective TLR signaling as demonstrated by induction of interleukin 6 (IL-6) by TLR activation. While mMSC suppressed the activation of antigen-specific myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG)-reactive T-cell receptor (TCR) transgenic T-helper (TH) cells in co-culture, neither pharmacologic inhibition nor genetic ablation of IDO1 reversed this suppressive effect. Finally, systemic administration of both, IDO1-proficient and phenotypically identical IDO1-deficient mMSC, equally resulted in amelioration of EAE. mMSC, unlike hMSC, do not display IDO1-mediated suppression of antigen-specific T-cell responses.
Previous in vivo studies have shown that mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) transplantation significantly improves the condition of a number of autoimmune diseases including autoimmune cerebrospinal meningitis, multiple sclerosis, glomerulonephritis and systemic lupus erythematosus.
To investigate the immunoregulatory effect of stem cell transplantation, human umbilical cord MSCs were co-cultured with peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Orphan nuclear receptor gamma (ROR-γ) mRNA and protein expression was detected with real-time PCR and Western blotting. Interleukin (IL)-17, IL-6 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF-α) in the cell culture supernatant were measured using a flow cytometric bead capture method.
After 72 hours of co-culture, the mRNA and protein expression levels of ROR-γ in co-cultured PBMCs were decreased compared with that in PBMC of RA patients cultured alone (p < 0.05). Moreover, the decrement was positively related to the disease activity of RA (p < 0.05). Decreased secretion of IL-17, TNF-α and IL-6 were also found in co-culture supernatants of PBMCs from patients with severe and moderate disease activity, but not in supernatant from PBMCs cultured alone. The decreased cytokine expression levels were positively correlated to the concentrations of MSCs. In contrast, PBMCs from healthy controls or patients with mild RA did not show significant differences in ROR-γ expression or cytokine secretion following co-culture with MSCs as compared with those cultured alone.
In vitro co-culture with MSCs down-regulated the inflammatory response of PBMCs from RA patients with severe disease activity, but had no significant effect on PBMCs from healthy controls or patients with mild disease activity, suggesting that the immunoregulatory role of MSCs may associate with the occurrence of inflammatory mediators.
Mesenchymal stem cell; Peripheral blood mononuclear cells; Rheumatoid arthritis; T helper 17 cells
AIM: To investigate the effect of human umbilical cord stem cells, both mesenchymal and hematopoietic (CD34+), in the treatment of arthritis.
METHODS: Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and hematopoietic (CD34+) stem cells (HSC) were isolated from human umbilical cord blood obtained from the umbilical cord of healthy pregnant donors undergoing full-term normal vaginal delivery. MSC, HSC, methotrexate (MTX) and sterile saline were injected intra-articularly into the rat hindpaw with complete freunds adjuvant (CFA) induced arthritis after the onset of disease (day 34), when arthritis had become well established (arthritis score ≥ 2). Arthritic indices were evaluated and the levels of interleukin (IL)-1, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and interferon (IFN)-γ and anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 in serum were determined using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Animals of all groups were sacrificed 34 d after beginning treatment, except positive control (PC) which was sacrificed at 10, 21 and 34 d for microscopic observation of disease progression. We used hematoxylin, eosin and Masson’s trichrome stains for histopathological examination of cartilage and synovium.
RESULTS: The mean arthritis scores were similar in all groups at 12 and 34 d post immunization, with no statistical significant difference. Upon the injection of stem cells (hematopoietic and mesenchymal), the overall arthritis signs were significantly improved around 21 d after receiving the injection and totally disappeared at day 34 post treatment in MSC group. Mean hindpaw diameter (mm) in the MSC rats was about half that of the PC and MTX groups (P = 0.007 and P = 0.021, respectively) and 0.6 mm less than the HSC group (P = 0.047), as indicated by paw swelling. Associated with these findings, serum levels of TNF-α, IFN-γ and IL-1 decreased significantly in HSC and MSC groups compared to PC and MTX groups (P < 0.05), while the expression of IL-10 was increased. Histopathological examination with H and E stain revealed that the MTX treated group showed significant reduction of leucocytic infiltrate and hypertrophy of the synovial tissue with moderate obliteration of the joint cavity. Stem cells treated groups (both hematopoietic CD34+ and mesenchymal), showed significant reduction in leucocytic infiltrate and hypertrophy of the synovial tissue with mild obliteration of the joint cavity. With Masson’s trichrome, stain sections from the PC group showed evidence of vascular edema of almost all vessels within the synovium in nearly all arthritic rats. Vacuoles were also visible in the outer vessel wall. The vessel became hemorrhagic and finally necrotic. In addition, there was extensive fibrosis completely obliterating the joint cavity. The mean color area percentage of collagen in this group was 0.324 ± 0.096, which was significantly increased when compared to the negative control group. The mean color area percentage of collagen in hematopoietic CD34+ and mesenchymal groups was 0.176 ± 0.0137 and 0.174 ± 0.0197 respectively, which showed a marked decrement compared to the PC group, denoting a mild increase in synovial tissue collagen fibers.
CONCLUSION: MSC enhance the efficacy of CFA-induced arthritis treatment, most likely through the modulation of the expression of cytokines and amelioration of pathological changes in joints.
Complete freunds adjuvant-induced arthritis; Human umbilical mesenchymal stem cell; Hematopoietic stem cell; CD34+
The therapeutic efficacy of human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) for the treatment of hypoxic-ischemic diseases is closely related to level of hypoxia in the damaged tissues. To elucidate the potential therapeutic applications and limitations of hMSCs derived from human umbilical cords, the effects of hypoxia on the morphology and proliferation of hMSCs were analyzed.
After treatment with DFO and CoCl2, hMSCs were elongated, and adjacent cells were no longer in close contact. In addition, vacuole-like structures were observed within the cytoplasm; the rough endoplasmic reticulum expanded, and expanded ridges were observed in mitochondria. In addition, DFO and CoCl2 treatments for 48 h significantly inhibited hMSCs proliferation in a concentration-dependent manner (P < 0.05). This treatment also increased the number of cells in G0/G1 phase and decreased those in G2/S/M phase.
The hypoxia-mimetic agents, DFO and CoCl2, alter umbilical cord-derived hMSCs morphology and inhibit their proliferation through influencing the cell cycle.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are an attractive source of adult stem cells for therapeutic application in clinical study. Genetic modification of MSCs with beneficial genes makes them more effective for therapeutic use. However, it is difficult to transduce genes into MSCs by common transfection methods, especially nonviral methods. In this study, we applied microporation technology as a novel electroporation technique to introduce enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) and brain-derived neurotropfic factor (BDNF) plasmid DNA into human umbilical cord blood-derived MSCs (hUCB-MSCs) with significant efficiency, and investigated the stem cell potentiality of engineered MSCs through their phenotypes, proliferative capacity, ability to differentiate into multiple lineages, and migration ability towards malignant glioma cells.
Using microporation with EGFP as a reporter gene, hUCB-MSCs were transfected with higher efficiency (83%) and only minimal cell damage than when conventional liposome-based reagent (<20%) or established electroporation methods were used (30-40%). More importantly, microporation did not affect the immunophenotype of hUCB-MSCs, their proliferation activity, ability to differentiate into mesodermal and ectodermal lineages, or migration ability towards cancer cells. In addition, the BDNF gene could be successfully transfected into hUCB-MSCs, and BDNF expression remained fairly constant for the first 2 weeks in vitro and in vivo. Moreover, microporation of BDNF gene into hUCB-MSCs promoted their in vitro differentiation into neural cells.
Taken together, the present data demonstrates the value of microporation as an efficient means of transfection of MSCs without changing their multiple properties. Gene delivery by microporation may enhance the feasibility of transgenic stem cell therapy.
Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is becoming an effective therapeutic modality for a variety of diseases. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) can be used to enhance hematopoietic engraftment, accelerate lymphocyte recovery, reduce the risk of graft failure, prevent and treat graft-versus-host disease, and repair tissue damage in patients receiving HSCT. Till now, most MSCs for human clinical application have been derived from bone marrow. However, acquiring bone-marrow-derived MSCs involves an invasive procedure. Umbilical cord is rich with MSCs. Compared to bone-marrow-derived MSCs, umbilical cord-derived MSCs (UCMSCs) are easier to obtain without harm to the donor and can proliferate faster. No severe adverse effects were noted in our previous clinical application of UCMSCs in HSCT. Accordingly, application of UCMSCs in humans appears to be feasible and safe. Further studies are warranted.
A major obstacle for the effective treatment of cancer is the invasive capacity of the tumor cells. Previous studies have demonstrated the capability of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to target these disseminated tumor cells and to serve as therapeutic delivery vehicles. However, the molecular mechanisms that would enhance the migration of MSCs towards tumor areas are not well understood. In particular, very little is known about the role that epigenetic mechanisms play in cell migration and tropism of MSCs. In this study, we investigated whether histone deacetylation was involved in repression of urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA) expression in MSCs derived from umbilical cord blood (CB) and bone marrow (BM). Induction of uPA expression by histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors trichostatin A (TSA) and sodium butyrate (SB) was observed in both CB- and BM-derived MSCs examined. In vitro migration assays showed that induction of uPA expression by HDAC inhibitors in CB- and BM-derived MSCs significantly enhanced tumor tropism of these cells. Furthermore, overexpression of uPA in CB-MSCs induced migration capacity toward human cancer cells in vitro. In addition, our results demonstrated that uPA-uPAR knockdown in PC3 prostate cancer cells significantly inhibited tumor-specific migration of uPA-overexpressing MSCs. These results have significant implications for development of MSC-mediated, tumor-selective gene therapies.
Mesenchymal stem cells; Histone modifications; Urokinase plasminogen activator; Cell migration; Tumor tropism
We recently demonstrated a novel effective therapeutic regimen for treating hamster heart failure based on injection of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) or MSC-conditioned medium into the skeletal muscle. The work highlights an important cardiac repair mechanism mediated by the myriad of trophic factors derived from the injected MSCs and local musculature that can be explored for non-invasive stem cell therapy. While this therapeutic regimen provides the ultimate proof that MSC-based cardiac repair is mediated by the trophic actions independent of MSC differentiation or stemness, the trophic factors responsible for cardiac regeneration after MSC therapy remain largely undefined. Toward this aim, we took advantage of the finding that human and porcine MSCs exhibit species-related differences in expression of trophic factors. We demonstrate that human MSCs when compared to porcine MSCs express and secrete 5-fold less vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in conditioned medium (40 ± 5 and 225 ± 17 pg/ml VEGF, respectively). This deficit in VEGF output was associated with compromised cardiac therapeutic efficacy of human MSC-conditioned medium. Overexpression of VEGF in human MSCs however completely restored the therapeutic potency of the conditioned medium. This finding indicates VEGF as a key therapeutic trophic factor in MSC-mediated myocardial regeneration, and demonstrates the feasibility of human MSC therapy using trophic factor-based cell-free strategies, which can eliminate the concern of potential stem cell transformation.
VEGF; mesenchymal stem cell; heart failure; cell therapy
Stem cell transplantation is a promising therapeutic strategy for the treatment of stroke. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are a potential cell source for clinical application because they can be easily obtained and cultivated with a high proliferative capacity. The safety and efficacy of cell therapy depends on the mode of cell administration. To determine the therapeutic potential of intrathecal administration of MSCs by lumbar puncture (LP), we administrated human umbilical cord blood-derived MSCs (hUCB-MSCs) intrathecally into the lumbar spinal cord or intravenously into the tail vein in a rat model of stroke, and then investigated whether hUCB-MSCs could enter the brain, survive, and improve post-stroke neurological functional recovery.
hUCB-MSCs (1.0 × 106) were administrated three days after stroke induced by occlusion of the middle cerebral artery. The presence of hUCB-MSCs and their survival and differentiation in the brain tissue of the rats was examined by immunohistochemistry. Recovery of coordination of movement after administration of hUCB-MSCs was examined using a Rotarod test and adhesive-removal test on the 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th days after ischemia. The volume of ischemic lesions seven days after the experimental procedure was evaluated using 2-3-5-triphenyltetrazolium (TTC) staining.
Rats receiving hUCB-MSCs intrathecally by LP had a significantly higher number of migrated cells within the ischemic area when compared with animals receiving cells intravenously. In addition, many of the cells administered intrathecally survived and a subset of them expressed mature neural-lineage markers, including the mature neuron marker NeuN and glial fibrillary acidic protein, typical of astrocytes. Animals that received hUCB-MSCs had significantly improved motor function and reduced ischemic damage when compared with untreated control animals. Regardless of the administration route, the group treated with 1 × 106 hUCB-MSCs showed better neurological recovery, without significant differences between the two treatment groups. Importantly, intrathecal administration of 5 × 105 hUCB-MSCs significantly reduced ischemic damage, but not in the intravenously treated group. Furthermore, the cells administered intrathecally survived and migrated into the ischemic area more extensively, and differentiated significantly into neurons and astrocytes.
Together, these results indicate that intrathecal administration of MSCs by LP may be useful and feasible for MSCs treatment of brain injuries, such as stroke, or neurodegenerative disorders.
The kynurenine pathway (KP) of tryptophan metabolism is linked to antimicrobial activity and modulation of immune responses but its role in stem cell biology is unknown. We show that human and mouse mesenchymal and neural stem cells (MSCs and NSCs) express the complete KP, including indoleamine 2,3 dioxygenase 1 (IDO) and IDO2, that it is highly regulated by type I (IFN-β) and II interferons (IFN-γ), and that its transcriptional modulation depends on the type of interferon, cell type and species. IFN-γ inhibited proliferation and altered human and mouse MSC neural, adipocytic and osteocytic differentiation via the activation of IDO. A functional KP present in MSCs, NSCs and perhaps other stem cell types offers novel therapeutic opportunities for optimisation of stem cell proliferation and differentiation.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), the nonhematopoietic progenitor cells found in various adult tissues, are characterized by their ease of isolation and their rapid growth in vitro while maintaining their differentiation potential, allowing for extensive culture expansion to obtain large quantities suitable for therapeutic use. These properties make MSCs an ideal candidate cell type as building blocks for tissue engineering efforts to regenerate replacement tissues and repair damaged structures as encountered in various arthritic conditions. Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common arthritic condition and, like rheumatoid arthritis (RA), presents an inflammatory environment with immunological involvement and this has been an enduring obstacle that can potentially limit the use of cartilage tissue engineering. Recent advances in our understanding of the functions of MSCs have shown that MSCs also possess potent immunosuppression and anti-inflammation effects. In addition, through secretion of various soluble factors, MSCs can influence the local tissue environment and exert protective effects with an end result of effectively stimulating regeneration in situ. This function of MSCs can be exploited for their therapeutic application in degenerative joint diseases such as RA and OA. This review surveys the advances made in the past decade which have led to our current understanding of stem cell biology as relevant to diseases of the joint. The potential involvement of MSCs in the pathophysiology of degenerative joint diseases will also be discussed. Specifically, we will explore the potential of MSC-based cell therapy of OA and RA by means of functional replacement of damaged cartilage via tissue engineering as well as their anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive activities.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) promote tumor growth by differentiating into carcinoma-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) and composing the tumor microenvironment. However, the mechanisms responsible for the transition of MSCs to CAFs are not well understood. Exosomes regulate cellular activities by mediating cell-cell communication. In this study, we aimed to investigate whether cancer cell-derived exosomes were involved in regulating the differentiation of human umbilical cord-derived MSCs (hucMSCs) to CAFs.
We first showed that gastric cancer cell-derived exosomes induced the expression of CAF markers in hucMSCs. We then demonstrated that gastric cancer cell-derived exosomes stimulated the phosphorylation of Smad-2 in hucMSCs. We further confirmed that TGF-β receptor 1 kinase inhibitor attenuated Smad-2 phosphorylation and CAF marker expression in hucMSCs after exposure to gastric cancer cell-derived exosomes.
Our results suggest that gastric cancer cells triggered the differentiation of hucMSCs to CAFs by exosomes-mediated TGF-β transfer and TGF-β/Smad pathway activation, which may represent a novel mechanism for MSCs to CAFs transition in cancer.
In recent years, a large number of studies have contributed to our understanding of the immunomodulatory mechanisms used by multipotent mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). Initially isolated from the bone marrow (BM), MSCs have been found in many tissues but the strong immunomodulatory properties are best studied in BM MSCs. The immunomodulatory effects of BM MSCs are wide, extending to T lymphocytes and dendritic cells, and are therapeutically useful for treatment of immune-related diseases including graft-versus-host disease as well as possibly autoimmune diseases. However, BM MSCs are very rare cells and require an invasive procedure for procurement. Recently, MSCs have also been found in fetal-stage embryo-proper and extra-embryonic tissues, and these human fetal MSCs (F-MSCs) have a higher proliferative profile, and are capable of multilineage differentiation as well as exert strong immunomodulatory effects. As such, these F-MSCs can be viewed as alternative sources of MSCs. We review here the current understanding of the mechanisms behind the immunomodulatory properties of BM MSCs and F-MSCs. An increase in our understanding of MSC suppressor mechanisms will offer insights for prevalent clinical use of these versatile adult stem cells in the near future.
mesenchymal stem cells; bone marrow; fetal; multilineage differentiation; immunomodulation; T lymphocytes; natural killer lymphocytes; dendritic cells; major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules
This study was to determine the effects of allogenic umbilical cord blood (UCB)-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and recombinant methionyl human granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (rmhGCSF) on a canine spinal cord injury model after balloon compression at the first lumbar vertebra. Twenty-five adult mongrel dogs were assigned to five groups according to treatment after a spinal cord injury: no treatment (CN); saline treatment (CP); rmhGCSF treatment (G); UCB-MSCs treatment (UCB-MSC); co-treatment (UCBG). The UCB-MSCs isolated from cord blood of canine fetuses were prepared as 106 cells/150 µl saline. The UCB-MSCs were directly injected into the injured site of the spinal cord and rmhGCSF was administered subcutaneously 1 week after the induction of spinal cord injury. The Olby score, magnetic resonance imaging, somatosensory evoked potentials and histopathological examinations were used to evaluate the functional recovery after transplantation. The Olby scores of all groups were zero at the 0-week evaluation. At 2 week after the transplantation, the Olby scores in the groups with the UCB-MSC and UCBG were significantly higher than in the CN and CP groups. However, there were no significant differences between the UCB-MSC and UCBG groups, and between the CN and CP groups. These comparisons remained stable at 4 and 8 week after transplantation. There was significant improvement in the nerve conduction velocity based on the somatosensory evoked potentials. In addition, a distinct structural consistency of the nerve cell bodies was noted in the lesion of the spinal cord of the UCB-MSC and UCBG groups. These results suggest that transplantation of the UCB-MSCs resulted in recovery of nerve function in dogs with a spinal cord injury and may be considered as a therapeutic modality for spinal cord injury.
dog; spinal cord injury; stem cell; transplantation; umbilical cord blood
The immunological and homing properties of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) provide a potentially attractive treatment for arthritis. The objective of this study was to determine effects of genetic disparity on the immunosuppressive potential of MSCs in vitro and in vivo within collagen induced arthritis (CIA).
The ability of DBA/1, FVB and BALB/c MSC preparations to impact the cytokine release profile of CD3/CD28 stimulated DBA/1 T cells was assessed in vitro. The effect of systemically delivered MSCs on the progression of CIA and cytokine production was assessed in vivo.
All MSC preparations suppressed the release of TNFα and augmented the secretion of IL-4 and IL-10 by stimulated DBA/1 T-cells. However, assessment of the ratio of IFNγ to IL-4 production indicated that the more genetically distant BALB/c MSCs had significantly less immunosuppressive capacity. Systemic delivery of BALB/c MSC resulted in an exacerbation of CIA disease score in vivo and a higher erosive disease burden. This was not seen after treatment with syngeneic or partially mismatched MSCs. An increase in serum levels of IL-1β was observed up to 20 days post treatment with allogeneic MSCs. An initial elevation of IL-17 in these treatment groups persisted in those treated with fully mismatched BALB/c MSCs. Over the course of the study, there was a significant suppression of serum IL-17 levels in groups treated with syngeneic MSCs.
These data demonstrate a significant difference in the immunosuppressive properties of syngeneic and allogeneic MSCs in vitro and in vivo, which needs to be appreciated when developing MSC based therapies for inflammatory arthritis.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) derived from bone marrow (BM), adipose tissue (AT), umbilical cord blood (CB), and umbilical cord tissue (CT) are increasingly being used to treat equine inflammatory and degenerative lesions. MSCs modulate the immune system in part through mediator secretion. Animal species and MSC tissue of origin are both important determinants of MSC function. In spite of widespread clinical use, how equine MSCs function to heal tissues is fully unknown. In this study, MSCs derived from BM, AT, CB, and CT were compared for their ability to inhibit lymphocyte proliferation and secrete mediators in response to activation. Five MSC lines from each tissue were isolated. Lymphocyte proliferation was assessed in a mixed leukocyte reaction, and mediator secretion was determined by ELISA. Regardless of tissue of origin, quiescent MSCs did not alter lymphocyte proliferation or secrete mediators, except for transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β1). When stimulated, MSCs of all tissue types decreased lymphocyte proliferation, increased prostaglandin (PGE2) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) secretion, and decreased production of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and interferon-γ (IFN-γ). BM-MSCs and CB-MSCs also produced nitric oxide (NO), while AT-MSCs and CT-MSCs did not. Equine MSCs did not produce indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO). These data suggest that activated equine MSCs derived from BM, AT, CT, and CB secrete high concentration of mediators and are similar to MSCs from rodents and humans in their immunomodulatory profiles. These findings have implication for the treatment of inflammatory lesions dominated by activated lymphocytes and TNF-α and IFN-γ in vivo.
Equine; Mesenchymal stem cells; Immunomodulation; Lymphocytes; Bone marrow; Umbilical cord blood; Adipose and umbilical cord tissue
Intervention with mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) represents a promising therapeutic tool in treatment-refractory autoimmune diseases. A new report by Schurgers and colleagues in a previous issue of Arthritis Research & Therapy sheds novel mechanistic insight into the pathways employed by MSCs to suppress T-cell proliferation in vitro, but, at the same time, indicates that MSCs do not influence T-cell reactivity and the disease course in an in vivo arthritis model. Such discrepancies between the in vitro and in vivo effects of potent cellular immune modulators should spark further research and should be interpreted as a sign of caution for the in vitro design of MSC-derived interventions in the setting of human autoimmune diseases.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have differentiation and immunomodulatory properties that make them interesting tools for the treatment of degenerative disorders, allograft rejection, or inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Biological properties of MSCs can be modulated by the inflammatory microenvironment they face at the sites of injury or inflammation. Indeed, MSCs do not constitutively exert their immunomodulating properties but have to be primed by inflammatory mediators released from immune cells and inflamed tissue. A polarization process, mediated by Toll-like receptors (TLRs), toward either an anti-inflammatory or a pro-inflammatory phenotype has been described for MSCs. TLRs have been linked to allograft rejection and the perpetuation of chronic inflammatory diseases (e.g., Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis) through the recognition of conserved pathogen-derived components or endogenous ligands (danger signals) produced upon injury. Interest in understanding the effects of TLR activation on MSCs has greatly increased in the last few years since MSCs will likely encounter TLR ligands at sites of injury, and it has been proven that the activation of TLRs in MSCs can modulate their function and therapeutic effect.
toll-like receptor; mesenchymal stem cells; cell therapy
5-Azacytidine (5-Aza) induces differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) into cardiomyocytes. However, the underlying mechanisms are not well understood. Our previous work showed that 5-Aza induces human bone marrow-derived MSCs to differentiate into cardiomyocytes. Here, we demonstrated that 5-Aza induced cardiac differentiation of human umbilical cord-derived MSCs (hucMSCs) and explored the potential signaling pathway. Our results showed that hucMSCs had cardiomyocyte phenotypes after 5-Aza treatment. In addition, myogenic cells differentiated from hucMSCs were positive for mRNA and protein of desmin, β-myosin heavy chain, cardiac troponin T, A-type natriuretic peptide, and Nkx2.5. Human diploid lung fibroblasts treated with 5-Aza expressed no cardiac-specific genes. 5-Aza did not induce hucMSCs to differentiate into osteoblasts. Further study revealed that 5-Aza treatment activated extracellular signal related kinases (ERK) in hucMSCs, but protein kinase C showed no response to 5-Aza administration. U0126, a specific inhibitor of ERK, could inhibit 5-Aza-induced expression of cardiac-specific genes and proteins in hucMSCs. Increased phosphorylation of signal transducers and activators of transcription 3, and up-regulation of myocyte enhancer-binding factor-2c and myogenic differentiation antigen in 5-Aza-treated hucMSCs were also suppressed by U0126. Taken together, these results suggested that sustained activation of ERK by 5-Aza contributed to the induction of the differentiation of hucMSCs into cardiomyocytes in vitro.