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Transplantation of Allogeneic and Xenogeneic Placenta-Derived Cells Reduces Bleomycin-Induced Lung Fibrosis

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Fetal membranes (amnion and chorion) have recently raised significant attention as potential sources of stem cells. We have recently demonstrated that cells derived from human term placenta show stem cell phenotype, high plasticity, and display low immunogenicity both in vitro and in vivo. Moreover, placenta-derived cells, after xenotransplantation, are able to engraft in solid organs including the lung. On these bases, we studied the effects of fetal membrane-derived cells on a mouse model of bleomycin-induced lung fibrosis. Fetal membrane-derived cells were infused 15 min after intratracheal bleomycin instillation. Different delivery routes were used: intraperitoneal or intratracheal for both xenogeneic and allogeneic cells, and intravenous for allogeneic cells. The effects of the transplanted cells on bleomycin-induced inflammatory and fibrotic processes were then scored and compared between transplanted and control animals at different time points. By PCR and immunohistochemistry analyses, we demonstrated the presence of transplanted cells 3, 7, 9, and 14 days after transplantation. Concomitantly, we observed a clear decrease in neutrophil infiltration and a significant reduction in the severity of bleomycin-induced lung fibrosis in mice treated with placenta-derived cells, irrespective of the source (allogeneic or xenogeneic) or delivery route. Our findings constitute further evidence in support of the hypothesis that placenta-derived cells could be useful for clinical application, and warrant further studies toward the use of these cells for the repair of tissue damage associated with inflammatory and fibrotic degeneration.
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Keywords: Amnion; Cell transplantation; Fetal membrane-derived cells; Inflammation; Lung fibrosis; Placenta

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Centro di Ricerca E. Menni, Fondazione Poliambulanza-Istituto Ospedaliero, 25124 Brescia, Italy

Publication date: 01 April 2009

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