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Requirement of B7-H1 in mesenchymal stem cells for immune tolerance to cardiac allografts in combination therapy with rapamycin

Transplant Immunology
DOI: 10.1016/j.trim.2014.06.005
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cell
  • Immunosuppression
  • B7-H1
  • Heart Transplant
  • Rapamycin
  • Chemistry
  • Medicine


Abstract Background The potential of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) for immunosuppression has been tested in transplantation, but its mechanisms are not fully understood. This study investigated the role of MSC-expressing B7-H1 in the induction of immune tolerance to cardiac allografts by the combination therapy of MSCs and rapamycin (RAPA). Methods The anti-alloimmunity of donor MSCs in the presence or absence of RAPA was examined in both mouse cardiac allograft model (C57BL/6 to BALB/c mice) and a variety of cultured immune cells. Immunohistochemical staining was used for the measurement of intragraft antibody deposition, and fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) for the determination of serum alloantibodies and leukocyte phenotypes. Results B7-H1 expression in cultured MSCs was up-regulated following IFN-γ stimulation. In transplant recipients, combination therapy of MSCs and RAPA induced immune tolerance to allografts, but blockade of B7-H1 on MSCs with monoclonal antibody abrogated the combination therapy-induced immune tolerance as heart allografts were rejected. The negative effect of MSC-expressing B7-H1 neutralization on graft survival was correlated with a reduction of regulatory immune cells (CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ T cells, tolerogenic dendritic cells and IL-4highIL-10HighCD83low B cells), and also with an increase in alloantibody (IgG and IgM) levels both inside the grafts and in the circulation as compared with un-neutralized controls. In vitro MSC-mediated suppression of antibody production and B cell proliferation depended on B7-H1 function and cell contact between CD19+ B cells and MSCs. Conclusion These data suggest that MSC-expressing B7-H1 mediates the immune tolerance to cardiac allografts in recipients receiving MSC and RAPA combination therapy.

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