Rapamycin Augments Immunomodulatory Properties of Bone Marrow-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis

Mansoureh Togha, Mehrdad Jahanshahi, Leila Alizadeh, Soodeh Razeghi Jahromi, Gelareh Vakilzadeh, Bahram Alipour, Ali Gorji, Amir Ghaemi
Molecular Neurobiology 2017, 54 (4): 2445-2457
The immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory properties of bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BM-MSCs) have been considered as an appropriate candidate for treatment of autoimmune diseases. Previous studies have revealed that treatment with BM-MSCs may modulate immune responses and alleviate the symptoms in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) mice, an animal model of multiple sclerosis. Therefore, the present study was designed to examine immunomodulatory effects of BM-MSCs in the treatment of myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) 35-55-induced EAE in C57BL/6 mice. MSCs were obtained from the bone marrow of C57BL mice, cultured with DMEM/F12, and characterized with flow cytometry for the presence of cell surface markers for BM-MSCs. Following three passages, BM-MSCs were injected intraperitoneally into EAE mice alone or in combination with rapamycin. Immunological and histopathological effects of BM-MSCs and addition of rapamycin to BM-MSCs were evaluated. The results demonstrated that adding rapamycin to BM-MSCs transplantation in EAE mice significantly reduced inflammation infiltration and demyelination, enhanced the immunomodulatory functions, and inhibited progress of neurological impairments compared to BM-MSC transplantation and control groups. The immunological effects of rapamycin and BM-MSC treatments were associated with the inhibition of the Ag-specific lymphocyte proliferation, CD8+ cytolytic activity, and the Th1-type cytokine (gamma-interferon (IFN-γ)) and the increase of Th-2 cytokine (interleukin-4 (IL-4) and IL-10) production. Addition of rapamycin to BM-MSCs was able to ameliorate neurological deficits and provide neuroprotective effects in EAE. This suggests the potential of rapamycin and BM-MSC combined therapy to play neuroprotective roles in the treatment of neuroinflammatory disorders.

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