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Open Access The Immunosuppressive Effect of Mesenchymal Stromal Cells on B Lymphocytes Is Mediated by Membrane Vesicles

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The immunomodulatory properties of mesenchymal stromal cells are the subject of increasing interest and of widening clinical applications, but the reproducibility of their effects is controversial and the underlying mechanisms have not been fully clarified. We investigated the transfer of membrane vesicles, a recently recognized pathway of intercellular communication, as possible mediator of the interaction between mesenchymal stromal cells and B lymphocytes. Mesenchymal stromal cells exhibited a strong dose-dependent inhibition of B-cell proliferation and differentiation in a CpG-stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cell coculture system. We observed that these effects could be fully reproduced by membrane vesicles isolated from mesenchymal stromal cell culture supernatants in a dose-dependent fashion. Next, we evaluated the localization of fluorescently labeled membrane vesicles within specific cell subtypes both by flow cytometry and by confocal microscopy analysis. Membrane vesicles were found to be associated with stimulated B lymphocytes, but not with other cell phenotypes (T lymphocytes, dendritic cells, natural killer cells), in peripheral blood mononuclear cell culture. These results suggest that membrane vesicles derived from mesenchymal stromal cells are the conveyors of the immunosuppressive effect on B lymphocytes. These particles should be further evaluated as immunosuppressive agents in place of the parent cells, with possible advantages in term of standardization, safety, and feasibility.
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Keywords: B lymphocytes; Differentiation; Immunomodulation; Membrane vesicles (MVs); Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs); Proliferation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Research Laboratories, Children’s Hospital “Bambino Gesù” Research Institute, Rome, Italy

Publication date: 2013-02-01

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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.

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