Objective: Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis and Rheumatoid Arthritis associated usual interstitial pneumonia seem to have the same poor outcome as there is not an effective treatment. The aim of the study is to explore the reparative ability of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells by evaluating the system telomerase/telomeres and propose a novel therapeutic approach.
Methods: BM-MSCs were studied in 6 IPF patients, 7 patients with RA-UIP and 6 healthy controls. We evaluated the telomere length as well as the mRNA expression of both components of telomerase (human telomerase reverse transcriptase, h-TERT and RNA template complementary to the telomeric loss DNA, h-TERC).
Results: We found that BM-MSCs from IPF, RA-UIP cases do not present smaller telomere length than the controls (p = 0.170). There was no significant difference regarding the expression of both h-TERT and h-TERC genes between patients and healthy controls (p = 0.107 and p = 0.634 respectively).
Conclusions: We demonstrated same telomere length and telomerase expression in BM-MSCs of both IPF and RA-UIP which could explain similarities in pathogenesis and prognosis. Maintenance of telomere length in these cells could have future implication in cell replacement treatment with stem cells of these devastating lung disorders.