Reversal of serologic, immunologic, and histologic dysfunction in mice with systemic lupus erythematosus by long-term serial adipose tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cell transplantation

Arthritis Rheum. 2012 Jan;64(1):243-53. doi: 10.1002/art.33313.


Objective: To investigate the efficacy of human adipose tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cell (AD-MSC) transplantation in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and to determine the optimal transplantation window for stem cells either before or after disease onset.

Methods: (NZB×NZW)F1 mice with SLE were administered human AD-MSCs (5×10(5)) intravenously every 2 weeks from age 6 weeks until age 60 weeks, while the control group received saline vehicle on the same schedule. Another experiment was carried out with a different initiation time point for serial transplantation (age 6 weeks or age 32 weeks).

Results: Long-term serial administration (total of 28 times) of human AD-MSCs ameliorated SLE without any adverse effects. Compared with the control group, the human AD-MSC-treated group had a significantly higher survival rate with improvement of histologic and serologic abnormalities and immunologic function, and also had a decreased incidence of proteinuria. Anti-double-stranded DNA antibodies and blood urea nitrogen levels decreased significantly with transplantation of human AD-MSCs, and serum levels of granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor, interleukin-4 (IL-4), and IL-10 increased significantly. A significant increase in the proportion of CD4+FoxP3+ cells and a marked restoration of capacity for cytokine production were observed in spleens from the human AD-MSC-treated group. In the second experiment, an early stage treatment group showed better results (higher survival rates and lower incidence of proteinuria) than an advanced stage treatment group.

Conclusion: Serial human AD-MSC transplantation had beneficial effects in the treatment of SLE, without adverse effects. Transplantation of human AD-MSCs before disease onset was preferable for amelioration of SLE and restoration of immune homeostasis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / cytology*
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Antinuclear / immunology
  • Antibodies, Antinuclear / metabolism
  • Cell Count
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longevity
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / immunology
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / pathology
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / prevention & control*
  • Lupus Nephritis / immunology
  • Lupus Nephritis / pathology
  • Lupus Nephritis / prevention & control
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation*
  • Mice
  • Organ Size
  • Proteinuria / immunology
  • Proteinuria / pathology
  • Proteinuria / prevention & control
  • Spleen / metabolism
  • Spleen / pathology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / pathology
  • Time Factors
  • Transplantation, Heterologous


  • Antibodies, Antinuclear
  • Cytokines