BACKGROUND: In this study, we investigated whether the infusion of bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), combined with transient immunosuppressant treatment, could suppress allograft rejection and modulate T-cell regulation in a swine orthotopic hemi-facial composite tissue allotransplantation (CTA) model.<br /><br />METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Outbred miniature swine underwent hemi-facial allotransplantation (day 0). Group-I (n = 5) consisted of untreated control animals. Group-II (n = 3) animals received MSCs alone (given on days -1, +1, +3, +7, +14, and +21). Group-III (n = 3) animals received CsA (days 0 to +28). Group-IV (n = 5) animals received CsA (days 0 to +28) and MSCs (days -1, +1, +3, +7, +14, and +21). The transplanted face tissue was observed daily for signs of rejection. Biopsies of donor tissues and recipient blood sample were obtained at specified predetermined times (per 2 weeks post-transplant) or at the time of clinically evident rejection. Our results indicated that the MSC-CsA group had significantly prolonged allograft survival compared to the other groups (P<0.001). Histological examination of the MSC-CsA group displayed the lowest degree of rejection in alloskin and lymphoid gland tissues. TNF-α expression in circulating blood revealed significant suppression in the MSC and MSC-CsA treatment groups, as compared to that in controls. IHC staining showed CD45 and IL-6 expression were significantly decreased in MSC-CsA treatment groups compared to controls. The number of CD4+/CD25+ regulatory T-cells and IL-10 expressions in the circulating blood significantly increased in the MSC-CsA group compared to the other groups. IHC staining of alloskin tissue biopsies revealed a significant increase in the numbers of foxp3(+)T-cells and TGF-β1 positive cells in the MSC-CsA group compared to the other groups.<br /><br />CONCLUSIONS: These results demonstrate that MSCs significantly prolong hemifacial CTA survival. Our data indicate the MSCs did not only suppress inflammation and acute rejection of CTA, but also modulate T-cell regulation and related cytokines expression.
Kuo, Y. R., Chen, C. C., Goto, S., Huang, Y. T., Wang, C. T., Tsai, C. C., & Chen, C. L. (2012). Immunomodulatory effects of bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells in a swine hemi-facial allotransplantation model. PloS One, 7(4). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0035459