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Open Access Autologous Mesenchymal Stem Cells Prevent Transplant Arteriosclerosis by Enhancing Local Expression of Interleukin-10, Interferon-γ, and Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase

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Transplant arteriosclerosis (TA) remains the major limitation of long-term graft survival in heart transplantation despite the advances in immunosuppressants. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been demonstrated to suppress allogeneic immune responses by numerous in vitro studies. However, the immunomodulatory effects of MSCs in vivo are controversial and the underlying molecular mechanisms are not conclusive. In this study, we investigated the therapeutic potential of autologous bone marrow-derived MSCs on TA in a porcine model of femoral artery transplantation. MSCs or saline were injected into the soft tissue surrounding the arterial grafts immediately postanastomosis. Four weeks after transplantation, neointimal formation increased significantly in untreated allografts compared with the MSC-treated grafts as assessed by intravascular ultrasound (maximum luminal area stenosis: 40 ± 12% vs. 18 ± 6%, p < 0.001). Grafts harvested at 4 weeks showed dense perivascular lymphocyte infiltration accompanied by significant intimal hyperplasia in the untreated but not in the MSC-treated allografts. Serial angiographic examination showed that all of the untreated allografts became occluded at the 8th week whereas the majority of the MSC-treated grafts remained patent at the 12th week posttransplantation (n = 12 each group, p < 0.001). Quantitative PCR analysis revealed that Foxp3 expression was comparable between the untreated and the MSC-treated groups. However, expression of interleukin-10 (IL-10), interferon-γ (IFN-γ), and indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) was increased significantly in the MSC-treated allografts compared with that in the allograft controls (p = 0.021 for IL-10, p = 0.003 for IFN-γ, and p = 0.008 for IDO). In conclusion, local delivery of autologous MSCs alleviates TA by inducing allograft tolerance via enhanced expression of IL-10, IFN-γ, and IDO but not Foxp3-positive cells in the vessel wall. These results suggest that MSCs induce immune tolerance by activating the type 1 regulatory T-like cells.

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Keywords: Immunomodulation; Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs); Transplant arteriosclerosis

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital and National Taiwan University College of Medicine, Taipei, Taiwan

Publication date: 01 May 2012

More about this publication?
  • 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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