Recent studies have shown the benefits of administering Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) to patients with immune-related disorders such as graft versus host disease, systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, and more.
The MSCs appeared to quell the production and function of overactive immune cells, including T- and B-lymphocytes. However, the specific mechanism behind how MSC get the immune cells under control hasn’t been fully understood.
Specifically, in mice with SS-like disorders, infusions of MSC caused T-lymphocyte death with FASL/FAS signaling and lessened symptoms of the immune disorder. However, MSC deficient in FAS-ligand failed to treat immune disorders in SS-afflicted mice.
With the hopeful results of the animal model study in mind, Shi’s colleagues in China performed a pilot study with patients suffering from systemic sclerosis. Infusions of MSCs provided similar clinical benefits to patients, and experimental analysis revealed that the FASL/FAS pathway was also at work in humans with SS.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) are highly versatile stem cells that originate from the mesoderm, or middle layer of tissue, in a developing embryo. MSC can be isolated from many different kinds of human tissue, including bone marrow and the umbilical cord.
Adapted from the Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC announcement.