Pluripotent stem cells and tolerance induction in organ transplantation

Barbara Imberti, Manuela Monti, Federica Casiraghi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Ongoing research is constantly looking for means to modulate the immune system for long-lasting engraftment of pluripotent stem cells (PSC) during stem cell-based therapies. This study reviews data on in-vitro and in-vivo immunogenicity of embryonic and induced-PSC and describes how their immunological properties can be harnessed for tolerance induction in organ transplantation. RECENT FINDINGS: Although PSC display immunomodulatory properties in vitro, they are capable of eliciting an immune response that leads to cell rejection when transplanted into immune-competent recipients. Nevertheless, long-term acceptance of PSC-derived cells/tissues in an allogeneic environment can be achieved using minimal host conditioning. Protocols for differentiating PSC towards haematopoietic stem cells, thymic epithelial precursors, dendritic cells, regulatory T cells and myeloid-derived suppressor cells are being developed, suggesting the possibility to use PSC-derived immunomodulatory cells to induce tolerance to a solid organ transplant. SUMMARY: PSC and/or their derivatives possess unique immunological properties that allow for acceptance of PSC-derived tissue with minimal host conditioning. Investigators involved either in regenerative or in transplant medicine must join their efforts with the ultimate aim of using PSC as a source of donor-specific cells that would create a protolerogenic environment to achieve tolerance in solid organ transplantation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-93
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Opinion in Organ Transplantation
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 21 2015


  • embryonic stem cells
  • immunogenicity
  • immunomodulation
  • induced-pluripotent stem cells
  • tolerance induction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Transplantation
  • Medicine(all)


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