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Open Access Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells Are Susceptible to Lysis by CD8+ T Cells and NK Cells

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There is growing interest in the use of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to improve the outcome of organ transplantation. The immunogenicity of MSCs is, however, unclear and is important for the efficacy of MSC therapy and for potential sensitization against donor antigens. We investigated the susceptibility of autologous and allogeneic MSCs for lysis by CD8+ T-lymphocytes and NK cells in a kidney transplant setting. MSCs were derived from adipose tissue of human kidney donors and were CD90+, CD105+, CD166+, and HLA class I+. They showed differentiation ability and immunosuppressive capacity. Lysis of MSCs by peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), FACS-sorted CD8+ T cells, and NK cells was measured by europium release assay. Allogeneic MSCs were susceptible for lysis by cytotoxic CD8+ T cells and NK cells, while autologous MSCs were lysed by NK cells only. NK cell-mediated lysis was inversely correlated with the expression of HLA class I on MSCs. Lysis of autologous MSCs was not dependent on culturing of MSCs in FBS, and MSCs in suspension as well as adherent to plastic were lysed by NK cells. Pretransplant recipient PBMCs did not lyse donor MSCs, but PBMCs isolated 3, 6, and 12 months after transplantation showed increasing lysing ability. After 12 months, CD8+ T-cell-mediated lysis of donor MSCs persisted, indicating there was no evidence for desensitization against donor MSCs. Lysis of MSCs is important to take into account when MSCs are considered for clinical application. Our results suggest that the HLA background of MSCs and timing of MSC administration are important for the efficacy of MSC therapy.

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Keywords: CD8+ T cells; Cytotoxicity; Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs); NK cells; Transplantation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Internal Medicine, Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Publication date: 2011-10-01

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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.

    Cell Transplantation is now being published by SAGE. Please visit their website for the most recent issues.

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