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Open Access Research article

Genetic mismatch affects the immunosuppressive properties of mesenchymal stem cells in vitro and their ability to influence the course of collagen-induced arthritis

Catherine Sullivan1, J Mary Murphy1, Matthew D Griffin1, Ryan M Porter2, Christopher H Evans2, Cathal O'Flatharta1, Georgina Shaw1 and Frank Barry1*

Author Affiliations

1 Regenerative Medicine Institute, National University of Ireland Galway, University Road, Galway, Ireland

2 Centre for Advanced Orthopaedic Studies, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre, 330 Brookline Ave., RN 115, Boston , MA 02215, USA

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Arthritis Research & Therapy 2012, 14:R167  doi:10.1186/ar3916

Published: 19 July 2012

Abstract

Introduction

The immunological and homing properties of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) provide a potentially attractive treatment for arthritis. The objective of this study was to determine effects of genetic disparity on the immunosuppressive potential of MSCs in vitro and in vivo within collagen induced arthritis (CIA).

Methods

The ability of DBA/1, FVB and BALB/c MSC preparations to impact the cytokine release profile of CD3/CD28 stimulated DBA/1 T cells was assessed in vitro. The effect of systemically delivered MSCs on the progression of CIA and cytokine production was assessed in vivo.

Results

All MSC preparations suppressed the release of TNFα and augmented the secretion of IL-4 and IL-10 by stimulated DBA/1 T-cells. However, assessment of the ratio of IFNγ to IL-4 production indicated that the more genetically distant BALB/c MSCs had significantly less immunosuppressive capacity. Systemic delivery of BALB/c MSC resulted in an exacerbation of CIA disease score in vivo and a higher erosive disease burden. This was not seen after treatment with syngeneic or partially mismatched MSCs. An increase in serum levels of IL-1β was observed up to 20 days post treatment with allogeneic MSCs. An initial elevation of IL-17 in these treatment groups persisted in those treated with fully mismatched BALB/c MSCs. Over the course of the study, there was a significant suppression of serum IL-17 levels in groups treated with syngeneic MSCs.

Conclusions

These data demonstrate a significant difference in the immunosuppressive properties of syngeneic and allogeneic MSCs in vitro and in vivo, which needs to be appreciated when developing MSC based therapies for inflammatory arthritis.