Stem cell transplant alleviates symptoms in lupus animal models

July 14, 2015, Cell Transplantation Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease that produces autoantibodies and subsequent immune reactions that can lead to a variety of symptoms, including inflammation of the kidneys, or nephritis. When researchers transplanted mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) derived from human bone marrow into mice modeled with SLE, they found that inflammation was reduced and nephritis "attenuated." They suggested that their study revealed a "novel mechanism" by which the MSCs can regulate the progression of autoimmune diseases such as SLE.

"SLE can be refractory to traditional treatments and be life threatening, especially when major organs are invaded" said Dr. Jeehee Youn, Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, College of Medicine, Hanyang University . "Our study suggests that MSCs suppress the development of cells that help activate the immune components."

Their study that will be published in a future issue of Cell Transplantation and is currently freely available on-line as an unedited early e-pub.

The researchers noted that the damaging antibodies in SLE are produced with the help of follicular T helper (Tfh) cells. They found that MSCs worked to slow the progression of lupus nephritis by suppressing the emergence of the Tfh cells in the mice modeled with SLE. They speculated that, since MSCs are known to differ functionally depending on their microenvironment, they are not naturally immunosuppressant, but require a "licensing step" provided by pro-inflammatory molecules.

"The immodulatory potential of MSCs, along with their low immunogenicity, seems to offer a promising treatment for severe refractory ," concluded Dr. Youn.

"Though the survival rate for patients diagnosed with SLE is improving, there is still no cure and risk of fatality is still a concern. Currently, the disease is treated by immunosuppression, achieved by the administration of immunosuppressants that can cause deleterious side effects," said Dr. Maria Carolina de Oliveira Rodrigues of the University of São Paulo, Brazil and section editor for Cell Transplantation. "Stem cell therapy is an attractive treatment option in that it is associated with fewer side effects than pharmacotherapy and, as the researchers suggested, it may actually slow the progression of the disease rather than merely alleviate symptom severity. Before transplantation of MSCs or any other type of cell therapy can be implemented in medical practice, further studies should evaluate whether the risk of immune rejection of the cells, if not autologous, would necessitate concomitant treatment with immunosuppressants."

Explore further: Factors released following stem cell transplantation therapeutically impact serious burns

More information: Jang, E.; Jeong, M.; Kim, S.; Jang, K.; Kang, B.-K.; Lee, D. Y.; Bae, S.-C.; Kim, K. S.; Youn, J. Infusion of human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells alleviates autoimmune nephritis in a lupus model by suppressing follicular helper T cell development. Cell Transplant. Appeared or available on-line: May 13, 2015. http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/cog/ct/pre-prints/content-CT-1387_Jang_et_al

Related Stories

Factors released following stem cell transplantation therapeutically impact serious burns

June 24, 2015
Cell transplantation researchers have successfully used bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) to treat a variety of diseases and conditions. Now, using injections of MSCs, a research team in Brazil has successfully ...

Umbilical cord blood-derived stem cells studied for lupus therapy

April 11, 2011
Human umbilical cord blood-derived mensenchymal stem cells (uMSCs) have been found to offer benefits for treating lupus nephritis (LN) when transplanted into mouse models of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). SLE is an ...

Preferable treatment for MS found in allogenic bone marrow stem cells

December 18, 2013
Multiple sclerosis (MS), an inflammatory autoimmune disease affecting more than one million people worldwide, is caused by an immune reaction to myelin proteins, the proteins that help form the myelin insulating substance ...

Stem cell injections improve diabetic neuropathy in animal models

June 23, 2015
Diabetic neuropathy (DN) is a condition in which perpetually high blood sugar causes nerve damage, resulting in a myriad of symptoms such as numbness, reduced ability to detect painful stimuli, muscle weakness, pain, and ...

Pediatric discoid lupus carries significant progression risk

April 3, 2015
(HealthDay)—Pediatric discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE) carries a significant risk of progression to systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), according to a review published in the April issue of the Journal of the American ...

Steering stem cell trafficking into pancreas reverses type 1 diabetes

January 13, 2015
Researchers at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) studying mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs)—a cell type useful in treating immune-related diseases—have uncovered a way to enhance and prolong the cells' ...

Recommended for you

Deep space radiation treatment reboots brain's immune system

May 21, 2018
Planning a trip to Mars? You'll want to remember your anti-radiation pills.

Receptor proteins that respond to nicotine may help fat cells burn energy

May 21, 2018
The same proteins that moderate nicotine dependence in the brain may be involved in regulating metabolism by acting directly on certain types of fat cells, new research from the University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute ...

Atomic-level study reveals why rare disorder causes sudden paralysis

May 21, 2018
A rare genetic disorder in which people are suddenly overcome with profound muscle weakness is caused by a hole in a membrane protein that allows sodium ions to leak across cell membranes, researchers at the University of ...

New era for blood transfusions through genome sequencing

May 18, 2018
Most people are familiar with A, B, AB and O blood types, but there are hundreds of additional blood group "antigens" on red blood cells—substances that can trigger the body's immune response—that differ from person to ...

Robots grow mini-organs from human stem cells

May 17, 2018
An automated system that uses robots has been designed to rapidly produce human mini-organs derived from stem cells. Researchers at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle developed the new system.

Scientists uncover a new face of a famous protein, SWI2/SNF2 ATPase

May 17, 2018
A team of Texas A&M and Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientists now have a deeper understanding of a large switch/sucrose non-fermentable (SWI/SNF) protein complex that plays a pivotal role in plant and human gene expression ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.