Bone marrow cells repair cigarette smoke-induced emphysema in rats

Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2011 Sep;301(3):L255-66. doi: 10.1152/ajplung.00253.2010. Epub 2011 May 27.


The therapeutic potential of stem cells in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is not well known although stem cell therapy is effective in models of other pulmonary diseases. We tested the capacities of bone marrow cells (BMCs), mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), and conditioned media of MSCs (MSC-CM) to repair cigarette smoke-induced emphysema. Inbred female Lewis rats were exposed to cigarette smoke for 6 mo and then received BMCs, MSCs, or MSC-CM from male Lewis rats. For 2 mo after injection, the BMC treatment gradually alleviated the cigarette smoke-induced emphysema and restored the increased mean linear intercept. The BMC treatment significantly increased cell proliferation and the number of small pulmonary vessels, reduced apoptotic cell death, attenuated the mean pulmonary arterial pressure, and inhibited muscularization in small pulmonary vessels. However, only a few male donor cells were detected from 1 day to 1 mo after BMC administration. The MSCs and cell-free MSC-CM also induced the repair of emphysema and increased the number of small pulmonary vessels. Our data show that BMC, MSCs, and MSC-CM treatment repaired cigarette smoke-induced emphysema. The repair activity of these treatments is consistent with a paracrine effect rather than stem cell engraftment because most of the donor cells disappeared and because cell-free MSC-CM also induced the repair.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Marrow Cells*
  • Bone Marrow Transplantation
  • Culture Media, Conditioned / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / therapy
  • Lung / blood supply
  • Male
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation
  • Paracrine Communication
  • Pulmonary Emphysema / chemically induced
  • Pulmonary Emphysema / therapy*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Lew
  • Smoke*
  • Tobacco*


  • Culture Media, Conditioned
  • Smoke