Topical implantation of mesenchymal stem cells has beneficial effects on healing of experimental colitis in rats

J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2008 Aug;326(2):523-31. doi: 10.1124/jpet.108.137083. Epub 2008 Apr 30.


Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are attractive cell sources in regenerative medicine. We examined the effects of topical MSCs implantation on an experimental model of inflammatory bowel disease. Putative MSCs, isolated from bone marrow aspirates of male rats by dish adherence and expanded in vitro, were characterized by flow cytometry, reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and differentiation assays. Experimental colitis was induced by intraluminal instillation of 2,4,6-trinitrobonzene sulfonic acid (TNBS) in the colons of male rats. The putative MSCs and unselected fresh bone marrow cells were injected into the colonic submucosa surrounding the area exposed to TNBS. The healing process of the injury was examined macroscopically and immunohistologically. Multipotent MSCs positive for CD29 and CD90, and negative for CD31 and CD34, were implanted into colon tissue surrounding the lesion; a majority of the engrafted cells were positive for vimentin. The implantation significantly accelerated healing of the damaged mucosa compared with vehicle-injected controls. The MSCs expressed vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta1 in vitro and after the implantation. In conclusion, we found that MSCs were successfully topically implanted in the colon and that they were associated with accelerated healing of TNBS-induced colitis. The beneficial effects of the MSCs might be mediated, at least in part, by their ability to differentiate into colonic interstitial cells and by their ability to provide VEGF and TGF-beta1 to the injured area.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Marrow Cells / cytology
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / metabolism
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / pathology
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / therapy*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / metabolism
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / pathology
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / therapy
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Intestinal Mucosa / pathology
  • Male
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation / methods*
  • Multipotent Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Multipotent Stem Cells / transplantation*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1 / biosynthesis
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / biosynthesis
  • Wound Healing / physiology*


  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • vascular endothelial growth factor A, rat