Human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) possess remarkable self-renewal capacity and the potential to differentiate into novel cell types, such as mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). iPSC-MSCs have been shown to enhance tissue regeneration and attenuate tissue ischaemia; however, their contribution to the immune regulation of Th2-skewed allergic rhinitis (AR) and asthma remains unclear.
This study compared the immunomodulatory effects of iPSC-MSCs and bone marrow-derived MSCs (BM-MSCs) on lymphocyte proliferation, T-cell phenotypes and cytokine production in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) in patients with AR, and investigated the possible molecular mechanisms underlying the immunomodulatory properties of iPSC-MSCs.
In co-cultures of PBMCs with iPSC-MSCs or BM-MSCs, lymphocyte proliferation was evaluated using 3H-thymidine (3H-TdR) uptake, carboxyfluorescein diacetate, succinimidyl ester (CFDA-SE) assays; the regulatory T-cell (Treg) phenotype was determined by flow cytometry, and cytokine levels were measured using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The immunomodulatory properties of both MSCs were further evaluated using NS398 and transwell experiments.
Similar to BM-MSCs, we determined that iPSC-MSCs significantly inhibit lymphocyte proliferation and promote Treg response in PBMCs (P < 0.05). Accordingly, the cytokine milieu (IFN-γ, IL-4, IL-5, IL-10 and IL-13) in the supernatants of PBMCs changed significantly (P < 0.05). The immunomodulatory properties of iPSC-MSCs and BM-MSCs were associated with prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) production and cell–cell contact.
These data demonstrate that iPSC-MSCs are capable of modulating T-cell phenotypes towards Th2 suppression through inducing Treg expansion, suggesting that iPSC-MSCs can be used as an alternative candidate to adult MSCs to treat allergic airway diseases.