Enhanced cell survival and therapeutic benefits of IL-10-expressing multipotent mesenchymal stromal cells for muscular dystrophy

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Background: Multipotent mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) are potentially therapeutic for muscle disease because they can accumulate at the sites of injury and act as immunosuppressants. MSCs are attractive candidates for cell-based strategies that target diseases with chronic inflammation, such as Duchenne muscular disease (DMD). We focused on the anti-inflammatory properties of IL-10 and hypothesized that IL-10 could increase the typically low survival of MSCs by exerting a paracrine effect after transplantation. Methods: We developed a continuous IL-10 expression system of MSCs using an adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector. To investigate the potential benefits of IL-10 expressing AAV vector-transduced MSCs (IL-10-MSCs), we examined the cell survival rates in the skeletal muscles after intramuscular injection into mice and dogs. Systemic treatment with IL-10-MSCs derived from dental pulp (DPSCs) was comprehensively analyzed using the canine X-linked muscular dystrophy model in Japan (CXMDJ), which has a severe phenotype similar to that of DMD patients. Results: In vivo bioluminescence imaging analysis revealed higher retention of IL-10-MSCs injected into the hindlimb muscle of mice. In the muscles of dogs, myofiber-like tissue was formed after the stable engraftment of IL-10-MSCs. Repeated systemic administration of IL-10-DPSCs into the CXMDJ model resulted in long-term engraftment of cells and slightly increased the serum levels of IL-10. IL-10-hDPSCs showed significantly reduced expression of pro-inflammatory MCP-1 and upregulation of stromal-derived factor-1 (SDF-1). MRI and histopathology of the hDPSC-treated CXMDJ indicated the regulation of inflammation in the muscles, but not myogenic differentiation from treated cells. hDPSC-treated CXMDJ showed improved running capability and recovery in tetanic force with concomitant increase in physical activity. Serum creatine kinase levels, which increased immediately after exercise, were suppressed in IL-10-hDPSC-treated CXMDJ. Conclusions: In case of local injection, IL-10-MSCs could maintain the long-term engraftment status and facilitate associated tissue repair. In case of repeated systemic administration, IL-10-MSCs facilitated the long-term retention of the cells in the skeletal muscle and also protected muscles from physical damage-induced injury, which improved muscle dysfunction in DMD. We can conclude that the local and systemic administration of IL-10-producing MSCs offers potential benefits for DMD therapy through the beneficial paracrine effects of IL-10 involving SDF-1.




Nitahara-Kasahara, Y., Kuraoka, M., Oda, Y., Hayashita-Kinoh, H., Takeda, S., & Okada, T. (2021). Enhanced cell survival and therapeutic benefits of IL-10-expressing multipotent mesenchymal stromal cells for muscular dystrophy. Stem Cell Research and Therapy, 12(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13287-021-02168-1

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