Porcine lung mesenchymal stromal cells possess differentiation and immunoregulatory properties

Mahesh Khatri, Timothy D O'Brien, Kuldeep S Chattha, Linda J Saif
Stem Cell Research & Therapy 2015 November 11, 6: 222

INTRODUCTION: Mesenchymal stem (stromal) cells (MSCs) possess self-renewal, differentiation and immunoregulatory properties, and therefore are being evaluated as cellular therapy for inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, and for tissue repair. MSCs isolated from bone marrow are extensively studied. Besides bone marrow, MSCs have been identified in almost all organs of the body including the lungs. Lung-derived MSCs may be more effective as therapy for lung diseases as compared to bone marrow-derived MSCs. Pigs are similar to humans in anatomy, physiology and immunological responses, and thus may serve as a useful large animal preclinical model to study potential cellular therapy for human diseases.

METHODS: We isolated MSCs from the lungs (L-MSCs) of 4-6-week-old germ-free pigs. We determined the self-renewal, proliferation and differentiation potential of L-MSCs. We also examined the mechanisms of immunoregulation by porcine L-MSCs.

RESULTS: MSCs isolated from porcine lungs showed spindle-shaped morphology and proliferated actively in culture. Porcine L-MSCs expressed mesenchymal markers CD29, CD44, CD90 and CD105 and lacked the expression of hematopoietic markers CD34 and CD45. These cells were multipotent and differentiated into adipocytes, osteocytes and epithelial cells. Like human MSCs, L-MSCs possessed immunoregulatory properties and inhibited proliferation of T cells and interferon-γ and tumor necrosis factor-α production by T cells and dendritic cells, respectively, and increased the production of T-helper 2 cytokines interleukin (IL)-4 and IL-13 by T cells. L-MSCs induced the production of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) in MSC-T cell co-cultures and inhibition of PGE2 significantly restored (not completely) the immune modulatory effects of L-MSCs.

CONCLUSIONS: Here, we demonstrate that MSCs can be isolated from porcine lung and that these cells, similar to human lung MSCs, possess in vitro proliferation, differentiation and immunomodulatory functions. Thus, these cells may serve as a model system to evaluate the contribution of lung MSCs in modulating the immune response, interactions with resident epithelial cells and tissue repair in a pig model of human lung diseases.

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