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Open Access Characterization of Human Umbilical Cord Lining-Derived Epithelial Cells and Transplantation Potential

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In this study we describe the derivation and immunological characterization of a primary epithelial cell type from the human umbilical cord membrane. These cord lining epithelial cells (CLECs) expressed and/or secreted isoforms of the nonclassical human leukocyte antigen class I (HLA-1b) glycoproteins, HLA-G and E. Conditioned media from CLECs inhibited mitogen-stimulated T-lymphocyte responses, and in a mixed leukocyte reaction (MLR) assay, cocultured CLECs inhibited allogeneic responses with a concomitant reduction in proinflammatory cytokines. Using a transwell coculture system, it was demonstrated that these immunoregulatory effects were mediated by soluble factors secreted by CLECs, in a dose-dependent manner. Functional studies using HLA-G blocking antibody showed that the effects of CLEC-secreted products could be inhibited, thus demonstrating a significant and important role for soluble HLA-G. In vivo, we show that transplanted CLECs could be maintained for extended periods in immunocompetent mice where xenorejection rapidly destroyed primary keratinocytes, a control human epithelial cell type. Additionally, CLECs delayed the rejection of keratinocytes and extended their survival when cotransplanted, indicating an ability to protect adjacent human cell types that would otherwise be rejected if transplanted alone. We also show that CLECs transduced with a modified human proinsulin gene were transplanted intraperitoneally into streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic mice, resulting in significantly lower levels of serum glucose compared to control mice. This study has characterized the immunological properties of CLECs and tested a potential therapeutic application in the treatment of a type 1 diabetes mouse model.

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Keywords: Cell transplantation; HLA-G; Immune regulation; Tolerance; Umbilical cord lining cell

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Medicine, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore

Publication date: 2011-11-01

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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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