Open Access Human Amnion Epithelial Cells Prevent Bleomycin-Induced Lung Injury and Preserve Lung Function

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Human amnion epithelial cells (hAECs) have attracted recent attention as a promising source of cells for regenerative therapies, with reports that cells derived from human term amnion possess multipotent differentiation ability, low immunogenicity, and anti-inflammatory properties. Specifically, in animal models of lung disease characterized by significant loss of lung tissue secondary to chronic inflammation and fibrosis, the transplantation of hAECs has been shown to reduce both inflammation and subsequent fibrosis. To further explore the mechanisms by which hAECs reduce pulmonary fibrosis and enhance lung regeneration, we utilized a bleomycin-induced model of pulmonary fibrosis and investigated the ability of hAECs to reduce fibrosis and thereby improve pulmonary function. We aimed to determine if hAECs, injected into the peritoneal cavity could migrate to the lung, engraft, and form functional lung epithelium, and whether hAECs could modulate the inflammatory environment in the bleomycin-injured lung. We demonstrated that, compared to bleomycin alone, IP administration of hAECs 24 h after bleomcyin, decreased gene expression of the proinflammatory cytokines TNF-α, TGF-β, IFN-γ, and IL-6 and decreased subsequent pulmonary fibrosis with less pulmonary collagen deposition, reduced levels of α-smooth muscle actin and decreased inflammatory cell infiltrate. We also showed that hAECs are able to prevent a decline in pulmonary function associated with bleomycin-induced lung damage. We were unable to detect any significant engraftment of hAECs in injured, or uninjured, lung after administration. The findings from this study support the further investigation of hAECs as a potential cell therapy for inflammatory and fibrogenic diseases.

Keywords: Amnion epithelial cells (AECs); Fibrosis; Inflammation; Lung disease; Lung function

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: The Ritchie Centre, Monash Institute of Medical Research, Monash University, Clayton, Australia

Publication date: June 1, 2011

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  • Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.
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