Selected Stro-1-enriched bone marrow stromal cells display a major suppressive effect on lymphocyte proliferation

Int J Lab Hematol. 2009 Feb;31(1):9-19. doi: 10.1111/j.1751-553X.2007.00997.x.


Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have an immunosuppressive effect and can inhibit the proliferation of alloreactive T cells in vitro and in vivo. Cotransplantation of MSCs and hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) from HLA-identical siblings has been shown to reduce the incidence of acute graft-vs.-host disease. MSCs are heterogeneous and data on the inhibitory effects of different MSC subsets are lacking. The antigen Stro1 is a marker for a pure primitive MSC subset. We investigated whether Stro-1-enriched induce a more significant suppressive effect on lymphocytes in a mixed lymphocyte reaction (MLR), and whether this action is related to a specific gene expression profile in Stro-1-enriched compared to other MSCs. We demonstrated that the Stro-1-enriched population elicits a significantly more profound dose-dependent inhibition of lymphocyte proliferation in a MLR than MSCs. One thousand expanded Stro-1-enriched induced an inhibitory effect comparable to that of 10 times as many MSCs. Inhibition by Stro-1-enriched was more significant in contact-dependent cultures than in noncontact-dependant cultures at higher ratio. The Stro-1-enriched inhibitory effect in both culture types was linked to increased gene expression for soluble inhibitory factors such as interleukin-8 (IL-8), leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF), indoleamine oxidase (IDO), human leukocyte antigen-G (HLA-G), and vascular cell adhesion molecule (VCAM1). However, tumor growth factor-beta1 (TGF-beta) and IL-10 were only up-regulated in contact-dependant cultures. These results may support using a purified Stro-1-enriched population to augment the suppressive effect in allogeneic transplantation.

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Surface / genetics
  • Antigens, Surface / pharmacology*
  • Bone Marrow Cells* / cytology
  • Bone Marrow Cells* / immunology
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Humans
  • Lymphocyte Activation / drug effects*
  • Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Stromal Cells


  • Antigens, Surface
  • STRO-1 antigen, human