Pro-inflammatory cytokines, IFNγ and TNFα, influence immune properties of human bone marrow and Wharton jelly mesenchymal stem cells differentially

S. Jyothi Prasanna, Divya Gopalakrishnan, Shilpa Rani Shankar, Anoop Babu Vasandan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

381 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Wharton's jelly derived stem cells (WJMSCs) are gaining attention as a possible clinical alternative to bone marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells (BMMSCs) owing to better accessibility, higher expansion potential and low immunogenicity. Usage of allogenic mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) could be permissible in vivo only if they retain their immune properties in an inflammatory setting. Thus the focus of this study is to understand and compare the immune properties of BMMSCs and WJMSCs primed with key pro-inflammatory cytokines, Interferon-γ (IFNγ) and Tumor Necrosis Factor-α (TNFα). Methodology/Principal Findings: Initially the effect of priming on MSC mediated suppression of alloantigen and mitogen induced lymphoproliferation was evaluated in vitro. Treatment with IFNγ or TNFγ, did not ablate the immune-suppression caused by both the MSCs. Extent of immune-suppression was more with WJMSCs than BMMSCs in both the cases. Surprisingly, priming BMMSCs enhanced suppression of mitogen driven lymphoproliferation only; whereas IFNγ primed WJMSCs were better suppressors of MLRs. Further, kinetic analysis of cytokine profiles in co-cultures of primed/unprimed MSCs and Phytohematoagglutinin (PHA) activated lymphocytes was evaluated. Results indicated a decrease in levels of proinflammatory cytokines. Interestingly, a change in kinetics and thresholds of Interleukin-2 (IL-2) secretion was observed only with BMMSCs. Analysis of activation markers on PHA-stimulated lymphocytes indicated different expression patterns in cocultures of primed/unprimed WJMSCs and BMMSCs. Strikingly, co-culture with WJMSCs resulted in an early activation of a negative co-stimulatory molecule, CTLA4, which was not evident with BMMSCs. A screen for immune suppressive factors in primed/unprimed WJMSCs and BMMSCs indicated inherent differences in IFNγ inducible Indoleamine 2, 3-dioxygenase (IDO) activity, Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) and Prostaglandin E-2 (PGE2) levels which could possibly influence the mechanism of immune-modulation. Conclusion/Significance: This study demonstrates that inflammation affects the immune properties of MSCs distinctly. Importantly different tissue derived MSCs could utilize unique mechanisms of immune-modulation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere9016
JournalPLoS One
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 02-02-2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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