Ex vivo immunosuppressive effects of mesenchymal stem cells on Crohn's disease mucosal T cells are largely dependent on indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase activity and cell-cell contact

Rachele Ciccocioppo, Giuseppina C. Cangemi, Peter Kruzliak, Alessandra Gallia, Elena Betti, Carla Badulli, Miryam Martinetti, Marila Cervio, Alessandro Pecci, Valeria Bozzi, Paolo Dionigi, Livia Visai, Antonella Gurrado, Costanza Alvisi, Cristina Picone, Manuela Monti, Maria E. Bernardo, Paolo Gobbi, Gino R. Corazza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Crohn's disease (CD) is a disabling chronic enteropathy sustained by a harmful T-cell response toward antigens of the gut microbiota in genetically susceptible subjects. Growing evidence highlights the safety and possible efficacy of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) as a new therapeutic tool for this condition. Therefore, we aimed to investigate the effects of bone marrow-derived MSCs on pathogenic T cells with a view to clinical application. Methods: T-cell lines from both inflamed and non-inflamed colonic mucosal specimens of CD patients and from healthy mucosa of control subjects were grown with the antigen muramyl-dipeptide in the absence or presence of donors' MSCs. The MSC effects were evaluated in terms of T-cell viability, apoptotic rate, proliferative response, immunophenotype, and cytokine profile. The role of the indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) was established by adding a specific inhibitor, the 1-methyl-DL-tryptophan, and by using MSCs transfected with the small interfering RNA (siRNA) targeting IDO. The releVance of cell-cell contact was evaluated by applying transwell membranes. Results: A significant reduction in both cell viability and proliferative response to muramyl-dipeptide, with simultaneous increase in the apoptotic rate, was found in T cells from both inflamed and non-inflamed CD mucosa when co-cultured with MSCs and was reverted by inhibiting IDO activity and expression. A reduction of the activated CD4+CD25+ subset and increase of the CD3+CD69+ population were also observed when T-cell lines from CD mucosa were co-cultured with MSCs. In parallel, an inhibitory effect was evident on the expression of the pro-inflammatory cytokines tumor necrosis factor-α, interferon-γ, interleukin-17A and -21, whereas that of the transforming growth factor-β and interleukin-6 were increased, and production of the tolerogenic molecule soluble HLA-G was high. These latter effects were almost completely eliminated by blocking the IDO, whose activity was upregulated in MSCs co-cultured with CD T cells. The use of a semipermeable membrane partially inhibited the MSC immunosuppressive effects. Finally, hardly any effects of MSCs were observed when T cells obtained from control subjects were used. Conclusion: MSCs exert potent immunomodulant effects on antigen-specific T cells in CD through a complex paracrine and cell-cell contact-mediated action, which may be exploited for widespread therapeutic use.

Original languageEnglish
Article number137
JournalStem Cell Research and Therapy
Volume6
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 24 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Cell Biology
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)

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