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Human adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells reduce inflammatory and T cell responses and induce regulatory T cells in vitro in rheumatoid arthritis
  1. E Gonzalez-Rey1,
  2. M A Gonzalez2,3,
  3. N Varela4,
  4. F O’Valle5,
  5. P Hernandez-Cortes6,
  6. L Rico1,
  7. D Büscher1,
  8. M Delgado4
  1. 1
    School of Medicine, University of Seville, Seville, Spain
  2. 2
    Cellerix SA, Tres Cantos, Spain
  3. 3
    Fundación Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares Carlos III (CNIC), Madrid, Spain
  4. 4
    Instituto de Parasitología y Biomedicina-CSIC, Granada, Spain
  5. 5
    Medical School, University of Granada, Granada, Spain
  6. 6
    San Cecilio University Hospital, Granada, Spain
  1. Correspondence to M Delgado, Instituto de Parasitología y Biomedicina-CSIC, Avda. Conocimiento, PT Ciencias de la Salud, Granada 18100, Spain; mdelgado{at}


Objectives: Adult mesenchymal stem cells were recently found to suppress effector T cell and inflammatory responses and have emerged as attractive therapeutic candidates for immune disorders. In rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a loss in the immunological self-tolerance causes the activation of autoreactive T cells against joint components and subsequent chronic inflammation. The aim of this study is to characterise the immunosuppressive activity of human adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (hASCs) on collagen-reactive T cells from patients with RA.

Methods: The effects of hASCs on collagen-reactive RA human T cell proliferation and cytokine production were investigated, as well as effects on the production of inflammatory mediators by monocytes and fibroblast-like synoviocytes from patients with RA.

Results: hASCs suppressed the antigen-specific response of T cells from patients with RA. hASCs inhibited the proliferative response and the production of inflammatory cytokines by collagen-activated CD4 and CD8 T cells. In contrast, the numbers of IL10-producing T cells and monocytes were significantly augmented upon hASC treatment. The suppressive activity of hASCs was cell-to-cell contact dependent and independent. hASCs also stimulated the generation of FoxP3 protein-expressing CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells, with the capacity to suppress collagen-specific T cell responses. Finally, hASCs downregulated the inflammatory response and the production of matrix-degrading enzymes by synovial cells isolated from patients with RA.

Conclusions: The present work identifies hASCs as key regulators of immune tolerance, with the capacity to suppress T cell and inflammatory responses and to induce the generation/activation of antigen-specific regulatory T cells.

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  • Funding This work was supported by Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and Science (PETRI), RETICS, Cellerix SA and Junta de Andalucia.

  • Competing interests This work is part of a patent application by Cellerix. MAG, DB and MD are inventors in this patent application. Since Cellerix SA and/or the inventors and/or their Institutes stands to profit from this work, the authors have a conflict of interest in this capacity, which hereby has been officially disclosed.

  • Ethics approval Ethics approval was obtained.

  • Provenance and Peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.