The investigation of immunomodulatory effects of adipose tissue mesenchymal stem cell educated macrophages on the CD4 T cells.


Ege University, Institute of Health Sciences, Department of Stem Cell, Izmir, Turkey. Electronic address: [Email]


Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are strong immunomodulatory cells investigated in numerous clinical studies on fatal pathologies, such as graft versus host disease and autoimmune diseases; e.g., systemic lupus erythematosus, Crohn's disease, and ulcerative colitis. Macrophages are one of the critical cells linking the innate and adaptive immune system, and it has been shown that MSCs can differentiate between pro-inflammatory M1 phenotype and anti-inflammatory M2 phenotype of macrophages. However, it has not yet been fully clarified whether these differentiated macrophages are functional. In this study, we compared the immunomodulatory effects on the CD4 T cells of M1, M2a and M2c macrophages with the macrophages that directly and indirectly cultured with MSCs. We analyzed the changes in CD14, CD64, CD80, CD163 and CD200R expression to evaluate macrophage phenotypes, and the changes in CD4, IFN-g, IL-4, IL-17a and FoxP3 expression to evaluate T helper subsets using the FACS method. The changes in IL-1b, IL-4, IL-10, IL-12p70, IL-17a and IFN-g in the media supernatants were analyzed using the Luminex method. We also performed WST-1 and Caspase-3 ELISA analyses to observe the proliferation and apoptosis status of the T cells. MSCs were found to differentiate macrophages into a distinctive phenotype, which was close to the M2c phenotype, but was not considered as an M2c cell due to the low expression of CD163, a characteristic marker for M2c. While MEM-D, MEM-ID and MSCs showed similar inhibitory effects on the Th2 and Th17 cells, the most significant increase in Treg cell frequencies was seen in MEM-D cells. Macrophages can alter their phenotypes and functions according to the stimuli from the environment. The fact that macrophages educated with MSCs suppressed the production of all the cytokines we evaluated even after the removal of MSCs suggests that these cells may be differentiated by MSCs into a suppressive macrophage subgroup. However, the Treg cell activation caused by direct interactions between MSCs and macrophage cells may be the most prominent observation of this study compared to previous work. As a result, according to our data, the interactions between MSCs and macrophages may lead to differentiation of macrophage cells into an immunosuppressive phenotype, and these macrophages may suppress the T lymphocyte subgroups at least as effectively as MSCs. However, our data obtained from in vitro experiments should be supported by future in vivo studies.


Immunomodulation,M1 macrophage,M2 macrophage,Mesenchymal stem cell,Th1,Th17,Th2,Treg,