The role of human umbilical cord tissue-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (UCX®) in the treatment of inflammatory arthritis

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Abstract

BACKGROUND ECBio has developed proprietary technology to consistently isolate, expand and cryopreserve a well-characterized population of stromal cells from human umbilical cord tissue (UCX® cells). The technology has recently been optimized in order to become compliant with Advanced Medicine Therapeutic Products. In this work we report the immunosuppressive capacity of UCX® cells for treating induced autoimmune inflammatory arthritis. METHODS UCX® cells were isolated using a proprietary method (PCT/IB2008/054067) that yields a well-defined number of cells using a precise proportion between tissue digestion enzyme activity units, tissue mass, digestion solution volume and void volume. The procedure includes three recovery steps to avoid non-conformities related to cell recovery. UCX® surface markers were characterized by flow cytometry and UCX® capacity to expand in vitro and to differentiate into adipocyte, chondrocyte and osteoblast-like cells was evaluated. Mixed Lymphocyte Reaction (MLR) assays were performed to evaluate the effect of UCX® cells on T-cell activation and Treg conversion assays were also performed in vitro. Furthermore, UCX® cells were administered in vivo in both a rat acute carrageenan-induced arthritis model and rat chronic adjuvant induced arthritis model for arthritic inflammation. UCX® anti-inflammatory activity was then monitored over time. RESULTS UCX® cells stained positive for CD44, CD73, CD90 and CD105; and negative for CD14, CD19 CD31, CD34, CD45 and HLA-DR; and were capable to differentiate into adipocyte, chondrocyte and osteoblast-like cells. UCX® cells were shown to repress T-cell activation and promote the expansion of Tregs better than bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BM-MSCs). Accordingly, xenogeneic UCX® administration in an acute carrageenan-induced arthritis model showed that human UCX® cells can reduce paw edema in vivo more efficiently than BM-MSCs. Finally, in a chronic adjuvant induced arthritis model, animals treated with intra-articular (i.a.) and intra-peritoneal (i.p.) infusions of UCX® cells showed faster remission of local and systemic arthritic manifestations. CONCLUSION The results suggest that UCX® cells may be an effective and promising new approach for treating both local and systemic manifestations of inflammatory arthritis.

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Santos, J. M., Bárcia, R. N., Simões, S. I., Gaspar, M. M., Calado, S., Água-Doce, A., … Cruz, H. (2013). The role of human umbilical cord tissue-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (UCX®) in the treatment of inflammatory arthritis. Journal of Translational Medicine, 11(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/1479-5876-11-18

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