Lung fibrosis is a severe condition resulting from several interstial lung diseases (ILD) with different etiologies. Current therapy of ILD, especially those associated with connective tissue diseases, is rather limited and new anti-fibrotic strategies are needed. In this study, we investigated the anti-fibrotic activity in vivo of human mesenchymal stromal cells obtained from whole umbilical cord (hUC-MSC). Adult immunocompetent C57BL/6 mice (n. = 8 for each experimental condition) were injected intravenously with hUC-MSC (n. = 2.5 × 105) twice, 24 hours and 7 days after endotracheal injection of bleomycin. Upon sacrifice at days 8, 14, 21, collagen content, inflammatory cytokine profile, and hUC-MSC presence in explanted lung tissue were analyzed. Systemic administration of a double dose of hUC-MSC significantly reduced bleomycin-induced lung injury (inflammation and fibrosis) in mice through a selective inhibition of the IL6-IL10-TGFβ axis involving lung M2 macrophages. Only few hUC-MSC were detected from explanted lungs, suggesting a “hit and run” mechanism of action of this cellular therapy. Our data indicate that hUC-MSC possess strong in vivo anti-fibrotic activity in a mouse model resembling an immunocompetent human subject affected by inflammatory ILD, providing proof of concept for ad-hoc clinical trials.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)