Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been considered as an attractive tool for the therapy of diseases. Exosomes excreted from MSCs can reduce myocardial ischemia/reperfusion damage and protect against acute tubular injury. However, whether MSC-derived exosomes can relieve liver fibrosis and its mechanism remain unknown. Previous work showed that human umbilical cord-MSCs (hucMSCs) transplanted into acutely injured and fibrotic livers could restore liver function and improve liver fibrosis. In this study, it was found that transplantation of exosomes derived from hucMSC (hucMSC-Ex) reduced the surface fibrous capsules and got their textures soft, alleviated hepatic inflammation and collagen deposition in carbon tetrachloride (CCl 4 )-induced fibrotic liver. hucMSC-Ex also significantly recovered serum aspartate aminotransferase (AST) activity, decreased collagen type I and III, transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 and phosphorylation Smad2 expression in vivo. In further experiments, we found that epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT)-associated markers E-cadherin-positive cells increased and N-cadherin- and vimentin-positive cells decreased after hucMSC-Ex transplantation. Furthermore, the human liver cell line HL7702 underwent typical EMT after induction with recombinant human TGF-β1, and then hucMSC-Ex treatment reversed spindle-shaped and EMT-associated markers expression in vitro. Taken together, these results suggest that hucMSC-Ex could ameliorate CCl 4 -induced liver fibrosis by inhibiting EMT and protecting hepatocytes. This provides a novel approach for the treatment of fibrotic liver disease.
Human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells (hucMSCs) and their exosomes have been considered as potential therapeutic tools for tissue regeneration; however, the underlying mechanisms are still not well understood. In this study, we isolated and characterized the exosomes from hucMSCs (hucMSC‐Ex) and demonstrated that hucMSC‐Ex promoted the proliferation, migration, and tube formation of endothelial cells in a dose‐dependent manner. Furthermore, we demonstrated that hucMSC‐Ex promoted wound healing and angiogenesis in vivo by using a rat skin burn model. We discovered that hucMSC‐Ex promoted β‐catenin nuclear translocation and induced the increased expression of proliferating cell nuclear antigen, cyclin D3, N‐cadherin, and β‐catenin and the decreased expression of E‐cadherin. The activation of Wnt/β‐catenin is critical in the induction of angiogenesis by hucMSC‐Ex, which could be reversed by β‐catenin inhibitor ICG‐001. Wnt4 was delivered by hucMSC‐Ex, and the knockdown of Wnt4 in hucMSC‐Ex abrogated β‐catenin nuclear translocation in endothelial cells. The in vivo proangiogenic effects were also inhibited by interference of Wnt4 expression in hucMSC‐Ex. Taken together, these results suggest that hucMSC‐Ex‐mediated Wnt4 induces β‐catenin activation in endothelial cells and exerts proangiogenic effects, which could be an important mechanism for cutaneous wound healing. Human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells (hucMSCs) and their exosomes have been considered as potential therapeutic tools for tissue regeneration; however, the underlying mechanisms are not well understood. The results of this study suggest that hucMSC‐exosome‐mediated Wnt4 induces β‐catenin activation in endothelial cells and exerts proangiogenic effects, which could be an important mechanism for cutaneous wound healing.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are promising tools for the treatment of diseases such as infarcted myocardia and strokes because of their ability to promote endogenous angiogenesis and neurogenesis via a variety of secreted factors. MSCs found in the Wharton's jelly of the human umbilical cord are easily obtained and are capable of transplantation without rejection. We isolated MSCs from Wharton's jelly and bone marrow (WJ-MSCs and BM-MSCs, respectively) and compared their secretomes. It was found that WJ-MSCs expressed more genes, especially secreted factors, involved in angiogenesis and neurogenesis. Functional validation showed that WJ-MSCs induced better neural differentiation and neural cell migration via a paracrine mechanism. Moreover, WJ-MSCs afforded better neuroprotection efficacy because they preferentially enhanced neuronal growth and reduced cell apoptotic death of primary cortical cells in an oxygen-glucose deprivation (OGD) culture model that mimics the acute ischemic stroke situation in humans. In terms of angiogenesis, WJ-MSCs induced better microvasculature formation and cell migration on co-cultured endothelial cells. Our results suggest that WJ-MSC, because of a unique secretome, is a better MSC source to promote in vivo neurorestoration and endothelium repair. This study provides a basis for the development of cell-based therapy and carrying out of follow-up mechanistic studies related to MSC biology.
Abstract The need for bone repair has increased as the population ages. Stem cell-scaffold approaches hold immense promise for bone tissue engineering. However, currently, preformed scaffolds for cell delivery have drawbacks including the difficulty to seed cells deep into the scaffold, and inability for injection in minimally-invasive surgeries. Current injectable polymeric carriers and hydrogels are too weak for load-bearing orthopedic applications. The objective of this study was to develop an injectable and mechanically-strong stem cell construct for bone tissue engineering. Calcium phosphate cement (CPC) paste was combined with hydrogel microbeads encapsulating human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells (hUCMSCs). The hUCMSC-encapsulating composite paste was fully injectable under small injection forces. Cell viability after injection matched that in hydrogel without CPC and without injection. Mechanical properties of the construct matched the reported values of cancellous bone, and were much higher than previous injectable polymeric and hydrogel carriers. hUCMSCs in the injectable constructs osteodifferentiated, yielding high alkaline phosphatase, osteocalcin, collagen type I, and osterix gene expressions at 7 d, which were 50–70 fold higher than those at 1 d. Mineralization by the hUCMSCs at 14 d was 100-fold that at 1 d. In conclusion, a fully injectable, mechanically-strong, stem cell–CPC scaffold construct was developed. The encapsulated hUCMSCs remained viable, osteodifferentiated, and synthesized bone minerals. The new injectable stem cell construct with load-bearing capability may enhance bone regeneration in minimally-invasive and other orthopedic surgeries.
Due to their self-renewal capacity, multilineage differentiation potential, paracrine effects, and immunosuppressive properties, mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) are an attractive and promising tool for regenerative medicine. MSCs can be isolated from various tissues but despite their common immunophenotypic characteristics and functional properties, source-dependent differences in MSCs properties have recently emerged and lead to different clinical applications. Considered for a long time as a medical waste, umbilical cord appears these days as a promising source of MSCs. Several reports have shown that umbilical cord-derived MSCs are more primitive, proliferative, and immunosuppressive than their adult counterparts. In this review, we aim at synthesizing the differences between umbilical cord MSCs and MSCs from other sources (bone marrow, adipose tissue, periodontal ligament, dental pulp,…) with regard to their proliferation capacity, proteic and transcriptomic profiles, and their secretome involved in their regenerative, homing, and immunomodulatory capacities. Although umbilical cord MSCs are until now not particularly used as an MSC source in clinical practice, accumulating evidence shows that they may have a therapeutic advantage to treat several diseases, especially autoimmune and neurodegenerative diseases.
Excessive scar formation caused by myofibroblast aggregations is of great clinical importance during skin wound healing. Umbilical cord‐derived mesenchymal stem cells (uMSCs) reduced scar formation and myofibroblast accumulation in a skin‐defect mouse model. A novel role of exosomal microRNAs in uMSC‐mediated therapy was demonstrated, suggesting that the clinical application of uMSC‐derived exosomes might represent a strategy to prevent scar formation during wound healing. Excessive scar formation caused by myofibroblast aggregations is of great clinical importance during skin wound healing. Studies have shown that mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) can promote skin regeneration, but whether MSCs contribute to scar formation remains undefined. We found that umbilical cord‐derived MSCs (uMSCs) reduced scar formation and myofibroblast accumulation in a skin‐defect mouse model. We found that these functions were mainly dependent on uMSC‐derived exosomes (uMSC‐Exos) and especially exosomal microRNAs. Through high‐throughput RNA sequencing and functional analysis, we demonstrated that a group of uMSC‐Exos enriched in specific microRNAs (miR‐21, ‐23a, ‐125b, and ‐145) played key roles in suppressing myofibroblast formation by inhibiting the transforming growth factor‐β2/SMAD2 pathway. Finally, using the strategy we established to block miRNAs inside the exosomes, we showed that these specific exosomal miRNAs were essential for the myofibroblast‐suppressing and anti‐scarring functions of uMSCs both in vitro and in vivo. Our study revealed a novel role of exosomal miRNAs in uMSC‐mediated therapy, suggesting that the clinical application of uMSC‐derived exosomes might represent a strategy to prevent scar formation during wound healing. Significance Exosomes have been identified as a new type of major paracrine factor released by umbilical cord‐derived mesenchymal stem cells (uMSCs). They have been reported to be an important mediator of cell‐to‐cell communication. However, it is still unclear precisely which molecule or group of molecules carried within MSC‐derived exosomes can mediate myofibroblast functions, especially in the process of wound repair. The present study explored the functional roles of uMSC‐exosomal microRNAs in the process of myofibroblast formation, which can cause excessive scarring. This is an unreported function of uMSC exosomes. Also, for the first time, the uMSC‐exosomal microRNAs were examined by high‐throughput sequencing, with a group of specific microRNAs (miR‐21, miR‐23a, miR‐125b, and miR‐145) found to play key roles in suppressing myofibroblast formation by inhibiting excess α‐smooth muscle actin and collagen deposition associated with activity of the transforming growth factor‐β/SMAD2 signaling pathway.
Background and Aim Ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) treatment is an effective medical therapy for patients with primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC); however, 40% of PBC patients show an incomplete response to the UDCA therapy. This study aimed to investigate the safety and efficacy of umbilical cord‐derived mesenchymal stem cell (UC‐MSC) transfusion in PBC patients with an incomplete response to UDCA. Methods We conducted a single‐arm trial that included seven PBC patients with a suboptimal response to UDCA treatment. UC‐MSCs were first cultured, and then 0.5 × 106 cells/kg body weights were infused through a peripheral vein. UC‐MSCs were given three times at 4‐week intervals, and patients were followed up for 48 weeks. Primary outcomes were to evaluate the safety and feasibility of UC‐MSC treatment, and secondary outcomes were to evaluate liver functions and patient's quality of life. Results No obvious side‐effects were found in the patients treated with UC‐MSCs. Symptoms such as fatigue and pruritus were obviously alleviated in most patients after UC‐MSC treatment. There was a significant decrease in serum alkaline phosphatase and γ‐glutamyltransferase levels at the end of the follow‐up period as compared with baseline. No significant changes were observed in serum alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, total bilirubin, albumin, prothrombin time activity, international normalized ratio, or immunoglobulin M levels. The Mayo risk score, a prognostic index, was also stable during the treatment and follow‐up period. Conclusions UC‐MSC transfusion is feasible and well tolerated in patients with PBC who respond only partially to UDCA treatment, thus representing a novel therapeutic approach for patients in this subgroup. A larger, randomized controlled cohort study is warranted to confirm the clinical efficacy of UC‐MSC transfusion.
Administration of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) or secreted microvesicles improves recovery from acute kidney injury (AKI). However, the potential roles and mechanisms are not well understood. In the current study, we focused on the protective effect of exosomes derived from human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells (hucMSC-ex) on cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity in vivo and in vitro. We constructed cisplatin-induced AKI rat models. At 24 h after treatment with cisplatin, hucMSC-ex were injected into the kidneys via the renal capsule; human lung fibroblast (HFL-1)-secreted exosomes (HFL-1-ex) were used as controls. All animals were killed at day 5 after administration of cisplatin. Renal function, histological changes, tubular apoptosis and proliferation, and degree of oxidative stress were evaluated. In vitro, rat renal tubular epithelial (NRK-52E) cells were treated with or without cisplatin and after 6 h treated with or without exosomes. Cells continued to be cultured for 24 h, and were then harvested for western blotting, apoptosis and detection of degree of oxidative stress. After administration of cisplatin, there was an increase in blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and creatinine (Cr) levels, apoptosis, necrosis of proximal kidney tubules and formation of abundant tubular protein casts and oxidative stress in rats. Cisplatin-induced AKI rats treated with hucMSC-ex, however, showed a significant reduction in all the above indexes. In vitro, treatment with cisplatin alone in NRK-52E cells resulted in an increase in the number of apoptotic cells, oxidative stress and activation of the p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (p38MAPK) pathway followed by a rise in the expression of caspase 3, and a decrease in cell multiplication, while those results were reversed in the hucMSCs-ex-treated group. Furthermore, it was observed that hucMSC-ex promoted cell proliferation by activation of the extracellular-signal-regulated kinase (ERK)1/2 pathway. The results in the present study indicate that hucMSC-ex can repair cisplatin-induced AKI in rats and NRK-52E cell injury by ameliorating oxidative stress and cell apoptosis, promoting cell proliferation in vivo and in vitro. This suggests that hucMSC-ex could be exploited as a potential therapeutic tool in cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity.
Although emerging evidence links mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) with cancer metastasis, the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. In the present study, we found that human umbilical cord-derived MSCs (UC-MSCs) promoted MCF-7 cell migration in vitro and metastasis in vivo. To explore the mechanisms, the characteristics of MCF-7 cells cocultured with UC-MSCs were assessed. The expression and secretion of interleukin-8 (IL-8) and IL-6 were induced in MCF-7 cells cocultured with UC-MSCs. However, neutralization of IL-8 or IL-6 secreted by UC-MSCs could attenuate the enhanced expression of IL-8 and IL-6 in MCF-7 cells cocultured with UC-MSCs, which subsequently alleviated the enhanced migration. Similar to UC-MSCs, exogenous human recombinant IL-8 or IL-6 also promoted IL-8 and IL-6 expression and MCF-7 cell migration. In addition to enhanced IL-8 and IL-6 expression, MCF-7 cells cocultured with UC-MSCs displayed enhanced mammosphere-forming ability and increased percentage of CD44 + /CD24 - cells. However, epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) was not observed in MCF-7 cells cocultured with UC-MSCs. Taken together, these results suggested that IL-8 and IL-6 secreted by UC-MSCs activated the autocrine IL-8 and IL-6 signaling in MCF-7 cells and induced CD44 + /CD24 - cells, which subsequently promoted MCF-7 cell migration in vitro and metastasis in vivo.
We have previously demonstrated the cardioprotective effects of exosomes derived from mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). It is well known that the activation of Akt is involved in stem cell‐induced cardioprotection. In the present study, we investigated whether exosomes released from Akt‐overexpressing MSCs showed a beneficial effect on cardioprotection and angiogenesis. MSCs were collected from human umbilical cord (hucMSCs), and Akt was transfected into hucMSCs (Akt‐hucMSCs) by using an adenovirus transfection system. Exosomes were isolated from control hucMSCs (Exo) and Akt‐hucMSCs (Akt‐Exo). An acute myocardial infarction model was created by ligation of the left anterior decedent coronary artery (LAD) in rats. Various source exosomes (400 µg of protein) were infused via the tail vein immediately after LAD ligation. The cardiac function was evaluated by using echocardiography after different treatments for 1 and 5 weeks, respectively. Endothelial cell proliferation, migration, and tube‐like structure formation, as well as chick allantoic membrane assay, were used to evaluate the angiogenetic effects of Akt‐Exo. The results indicated that cardiac function was significantly improved in the animals treated with Akt‐Exo. In addition, Akt‐Exo significantly accelerated endothelial cell proliferation and migration, tube‐like structure formation in vitro, and blood vessel formation in vivo. The expression of platelet‐derived growth factor D (PDGF‐D) was significantly upregulated in Akt‐Exo. However, the angiogenesis was abrogated in endothelial cells treated with the exosomes obtained from MSCs transfected with PDGF‐D‐siRNA. Our studies suggest that exosomes obtained from Akt‐modified hucMSCs are more effective in myocardial infarction therapy through promoting angiogenesis. PDGF‐D plays an important role in Akt‐Exo‐mediated angiogenesis. Stem Cells Translational Medicine 2017;6:51–59