Mesenchymal stem cells: a double-edged sword in regulating immune responses.
ABSTRACT: Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been employed successfully to treat various immune disorders in animal models and clinical settings. Our previous studies have shown that MSCs can become highly immunosuppressive upon stimulation by inflammatory cytokines, an effect exerted through the concerted action of chemokines and nitric oxide (NO). Here, we show that MSCs can also enhance immune responses. This immune-promoting effect occurred when proinflammatory cytokines were inadequate to elicit sufficient NO production. When inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) production was inhibited or genetically ablated, MSCs strongly enhance T-cell proliferation in vitro and the delayed-type hypersensitivity response in vivo. Furthermore, iNOS(-/-) MSCs significantly inhibited melanoma growth. It is likely that in the absence of NO, chemokines act to promote immune responses. Indeed, in CCR5(-/-)CXCR3(-/-) mice, the immune-promoting effect of iNOS(-/-) MSCs is greatly diminished. Thus, NO acts as a switch in MSC-mediated immunomodulation. More importantly, the dual effect on immune reactions was also observed in human MSCs, in which indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) acts as a switch. This study provides novel information about the pathophysiological roles of MSCs.
Project description:MSCs possess potent immunosuppressive capacity. We have reported that mouse MSCs inhibit T cell proliferation and function via nitric oxide. This immune regulatory capacity of MSCs is induced by the inflammatory cytokines IFN? together with either TNF? or IL-1?. This effect of inflammatory cytokines on MSCs is extraordinary; logarithmic increases in the expression of iNOS and chemokines are often observed. To investigate the molecular mechanisms underlying this robust effect of cytokines, we examined the expression of microRNAs in MSCs before and after cytokine treatment. We found that miR-155 is most significantly up-regulated. Furthermore, our results showed that miR-155 inhibits the immunosuppressive capacity of MSCs by reducing iNOS expression. We further demonstrated that miR-155 targets TAK1-binding protein 2 (TAB2) to regulate iNOS expression. Additionally, knockdown of TAB2 reduced iNOS expression. In summary, our study demonstrated that miR-155 inhibits the immunosuppressive capacity of MSCs by reducing iNOS expression by targeting TAB2. Our data revealed a novel role of miR-155 in regulating the immune modulatory activities of MSCs.
Project description:Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) are strongly immunosuppressive via producing nitric oxide (NO) and known to migrate into tumor sites to promote tumor growth, but the underlying mechanisms remain largely elusive. Here, we found that interferon alpha (IFN?)-secreting MSCs showed more dramatic inhibition effect on tumor progression than that of IFN? alone. Interestingly, IFN?-primed MSCs could also effectively suppress tumor growth. Mechanistically, we demonstrated that both IFN? and IFN? (type I IFNs) reversed the immunosuppressive effect of MSCs on splenocyte proliferation. This effect of type I IFNs was exerted through inhibiting inducible NO synthase (iNOS) expression in IFN? and TNF?-stimulated MSCs. Notably, only NO production was inhibited by IFN?; production of other cytokines or chemokines tested was not suppressed. Furthermore, IFN? promoted the switch from signal transducer and activator of transcription 1 (Stat1) homodimers to Stat1-Stat2 heterodimers. Studies using the luciferase reporter system and chromatin immunoprecipitation assay revealed that IFN? suppressed iNOS transcription through inhibiting the binding of Stat1 to iNOS promoter. Therefore, the synergistic anti-tumor effects of type I IFNs and MSCs were achieved by inhibiting NO production. This study provides essential information for understanding the mechanisms of MSC-mediated immunosuppression and for the development of better clinical strategies using IFNs and MSCs for cancer immunotherapy.
Project description:The major obstacles for the efficacy of tumor immunotherapies are their immune-related systemic adverse events. Therefore, tumor tropism property and pro-inflammatory ability of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) could be utilized in combination to potentiate local immunity for cancer eradication. We previously observed that MSCs with the type III histone deacetylase silent information regulator 2 homologue 1 (Sirt1) overexpression displayed a pro-inflammatory capacity. However, the anti-tumor effect of Sirt1-overexpressing MSCs and the role of Sirt1 in regulating the pro-inflammatory capacity of MSCs still need to be clarified. In this study, utilizing the hepatic metastasis model of colorectal carcinoma, we demonstrated that Sirt1-overexpressing MSCs significantly exerted anti-tumor activity through increasing the number of CD8<sup>+</sup> T cells. Furthermore, Sirt1 did not affect chemokine secretion in MSCs induced by inflammatory cytokines, but impaired the immunosuppressive ability of MSCs through suppressing inflammatory cytokine-stimulated inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) production via deacetylating p65. iNOS overexpression negated the anti-tumor effect of Sirt1-overexpressing MSCs. Collectively, our data defined Sirt1 as the critical regulator for modulating the pro-inflammatory ability of MSCs, and they suggested that Sirt1-overexpressing MSCs secreting chemokines but little iNOS under the inflammatory milieu were capable of attracting immune cells to close proximity without suppressing their proliferation, thereby achieving a potent anti-tumor effect.
Project description:Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are believed to exert their regenerative effects through differentiation and modulation of inflammatory responses. However, the relationship between the severity of inflammation and stem cell-mediated tissue repair has not been formally investigated. In this study, we applied different concentrations of dexamethasone (Dex) to anti-CD3-activated splenocyte cultured with or without MSCs. As expected, Dex exhibited a classical dose-dependent inhibition of T-cell proliferation. Surprisingly, although MSCs also blocked T-cell proliferation, the presence of Dex unexpectedly showed a dose-dependent reversion of T-cell proliferation. This effect of Dex was found to be exerted through interfering STAT1 phosphorylation-prompted expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS). Interestingly, inflammation-induced chemokines in MSCs was unaffected. To test the role of inflammation severity in stem cell-mediated tissue repair, we employed mice with carbon tetrachloride-induced advanced liver fibrosis and found that although MSCs alone were effective, concurrent administration of Dex abrogated the therapeutic effects of MSCs on fibrin deposition, serum levels of bilirubin, albumin, and aminotransferases, as well as T-lymphocyte infiltration, especially IFN-?(+)CD4(+) and IL-17A(+)CD4(+)T cells. Likewise, iNOS(-/-) MSCs, which produce chemokines but not nitric oxide under inflammatory conditions, are ineffective in treating advanced liver fibrosis. Therefore, inflammation has a critical role in MSC-mediated tissue repair. In addition, concomitant application of MSCs with steroids should be avoided.
Project description:Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been shown to be highly immunosuppressive and have been employed to treat various immune disorders. However, the mechanisms underlying the immunosuppressive capacity of MSCs are not fully understood. We found the suppressor of cytokine signaling 1 (SOCS1) was induced in MSCs treated with inflammatory cytokines. Knockdown of SOCS1 did not bring much difference on the proliferation and differentiation properties of MSCs. However, MSCs with SOCS1 knockdown exhibited enhanced immunosuppressive capacity, showing as inhibiting T cell proliferation at extremely low ratio (MSC to T) in vitro, significantly promoting tumor growth and inhibiting delayed-type hypersensitivity response in vivo. We further demonstrated that SOCS1 inhibited the immunosuppressive capacity of MSCs by reducing inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) expression. Additionally, we found the significantly lower SOCS1 expression and higher nitric oxide (NO) production in MSCs isolated from synovial fluid of rheumatoid arthritis patients. Collectively, our data revealed a novel role of SOCS1 in regulating the immune modulatory activities of MSCs.
Project description:IL-17 is one of the most potent and most actively investigated proinflammatory cytokines. In this study, we examined the effect of IL-17 on mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) under the influence of inflammatory cytokines. Ironically, IL-17 dramatically enhanced the immunosuppressive effect of MSCs induced by IFN? and TNF?, revealing a novel role of IL-17 in immunosuppression. Interestingly, we found that this action of IL-17 was dependent on the promoted expression of a key immune suppressive molecule, inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), in MSCs. In a concanavalin A (ConA)-induced hepatitis mouse model, we found that IL-17 also enhanced the in vivo immunosuppressive effect of MSCs in an iNOS-dependent manner. Moreover, this promoting effect of IL-17 was found to be exerted through enhancing mRNA stability by modulating the protein level of ARE/poly(U)-binding/degradation factor 1 (AUF1), a well-known factor that promotes mRNA decay. In auf1(-/-) MSCs, IFN? and TNF? could induce maximal immunosuppressive effect, both in vitro and in vivo, without the need for IL-17. Thus, our studies demonstrated that in the presence of MSCs, IL-17 promotes immunosuppression.
Project description:Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are, due to their immunomodulatory characteristics, utilized in therapy of immune-mediated diseases. We used murine model of cisplatin nephrotoxicity to explore the effects of MSCs on immune cells involved in the pathogenesis of this disease. Intraperitoneal application of MSCs significantly attenuated cisplatin nephrotoxicity, decreased inflammatory cytokines TNF-α and IL-17, and increased anti-inflammatory IL-10, IL-6, nitric oxide (NO), and kynurenine in sera of cisplatin-treated mice. MSC treatment significantly attenuated influx of leukocytes, macrophages, dendritic cells (DCs), neutrophils, CD4+ T helper (Th), and CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) in damaged kidneys and attenuated the capacity of renal-infiltrated DCs, CD4+ Th, and CD8+ CTLs to produce TNF-α and IL-17. Similar effects were observed after intraperitoneal injection of MSC-conditioned medium (MSC-CM) indicating that MSCs exert their beneficial effects in paracrine manner. Inhibition of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) in MSC-CM resulted with increased number of TNF-α-producing DCs and IL-17-producing CTLs, decreased number of IL-10-producing tolerogenic DCs and regulatory CD4+FoxP3+ T cells, and completely diminished renoprotective effects of MSC-CM. In conclusion, MSCs, in iNOS-dependent manner, attenuated inflammation in cisplatin nephrotoxicity by reducing the influx and capacity of immune cells, particularly DCs and T lymphocytes, to produce inflammatory cytokines.
Project description:Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) is a hard-to-eradicate intracellular microbe, which escapes host immune attack during latent infection. Recent studies reveal that mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) provide a protective niche for MTB to maintain latency. However, the regulation of mycobacterial residency in MSCs in the infectious microenvironment remains largely unknown. Here, we found that macrophage-mediated inflammatory response during MTB infection facilitated the clearance of bacilli residing in mouse MSCs. Higher inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) expression and nitric oxide (NO) production were observed in mouse MSCs under macrophage-mediated inflammatory circumstance. Blocking NO production in MSCs increased the survival of intracellular mycobacteria, indicating NO-mediated antimycobacterial activity. Moreover, both nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) and Janus kinase (JAK)-signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) pathways were involved in iNOS expression and NO production in inflammatory microenvironment. Furthermore, pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-1β could trigger NO production in MSCs and exert anti-mycobacterial activity via NF-κB signaling pathway. Neutralization of interleukin-1β in macrophage-mediated inflammatory microenvironment dampened the ability of mouse MSCs to produce NO. Together, our findings demonstrated that macrophage-mediated inflammatory response during mycobacterial infection promotes the clearance of bacilli in mouse MSCs by increasing NO production, which may provide a better understanding of latent MTB infection.
Project description:Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) are present in most, if not all, tissues and are believed to contribute to tissue regeneration and the tissue immune microenvironment. Murine MSCs exert immunosuppressive effects through production of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), whereas human MSCs use indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO). Thus, studies of MSC-mediated immunomodulation in mice may not be informative in the setting of human disease, although this critical difference has been mainly ignored. To address this issue, we established a novel humanized system to model human MSCs, using murine iNOS(-/-) MSCs that constitutively or inducibly express an ectopic human IDO gene. In this system, inducible IDO expression is driven by a mouse iNOS promoter that can be activated by inflammatory cytokine stimulation in a similar fashion as the human IDO promoter. These IDO-expressing humanized MSCs (MSC-IDO) were capable of suppressing T-lymphocyte proliferation in vitro. In melanoma and lymphoma tumor models, MSC-IDO promoted tumor growth in vivo, an effect that was reversed by the IDO inhibitor 1-methyl-tryptophan. We found that MSC-IDO dramatically reduced both tumor-infiltrating CD8(+) T cells and B cells. Our findings offer an important new line of evidence that interventional targeting of IDO activity could be used to restore tumor immunity in humans, by relieving IDO-mediated immune suppression of MSCs in the tumor microenvironment as well as in tumor cells themselves.
Project description:Salmonella enterica (Se) bacteria cause persistent intracellular infections while stimulating a robust interferon-?-producing CD4+ T (Th1) cell response. We addressed this paradox of concomitant infection and immunity by tracking fluorescent Se organisms in mice. Se bacteria persisted in nitric oxide synthase (iNOS)-producing resident and recruited macrophages while inducing genes related to protection from nitric oxide. Se-infected cells occupied iNOS+ splenic granulomas that excluded T cells but were surrounded by mononuclear phagocytes producing the chemokines CXCL9 and CXCL10, and Se epitope-specific Th1 cells expressing CXCR3, the receptor for these chemokines. Blockade of CXCR3 inhibited Th1 occupancy of CXCL9/10-dense regions, reduced activation of the Th1 cells, and led to increased Se growth. Thus, intracellular Se bacteria survive in their hosts by counteracting toxic products of the innate immune response and by residing in T cell-sparse granulomas, away from abundant Th1 cells positioned via CXCR3 in a bordering region that act to limit infection.