Comparative study of immune regulatory properties of stem cells derived from different tissues

Stem Cells Dev. 2013 Nov 15;22(22):2990-3002. doi: 10.1089/scd.2013.0204. Epub 2013 Aug 9.


Allogeneic stem cell (SC)-based therapy is a promising tool for the treatment of a range of human degenerative and inflammatory diseases. Many reports highlighted the immune modulatory properties of some SC types, such as mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs), but a comparative study with SCs of different origin, to assess whether immune regulation is a general SC property, is still lacking. To this aim, we applied highly standardized methods employed for MSC characterization to compare the immunological properties of bone marrow-MSCs, olfactory ectomesenchymal SCs, leptomeningeal SCs, and three different c-Kit-positive SC types, that is, amniotic fluid SCs, cardiac SCs, and lung SCs. We found that all the analyzed human SCs share a common pattern of immunological features, in terms of expression of activation markers ICAM-1, VCAM-1, HLA-ABC, and HLA-DR, modulatory activity toward purified T, B, and NK cells, lower immunogenicity of inflammatory-primed SCs as compared to resting SCs, and indoleamine-2,3-dioxygenase-activation as molecular inhibitory pathways, with some SC type-related peculiarities. Moreover, the SC types analyzed exert an anti-apoptotic effect toward not-activated immune effector cells (IECs). In addition, we found that the inhibitory behavior is not a constitutive property of SCs, but is acquired as a consequence of IEC activation, as previously described for MSCs. Thus, immune regulation is a general property of SCs and the characterization of this phenomenon may be useful for a proper therapeutic use of SCs.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amniotic Fluid / cytology*
  • Amniotic Fluid / immunology
  • Antigens, CD / genetics
  • Antigens, CD / immunology
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Bone Marrow Cells / cytology*
  • Bone Marrow Cells / immunology
  • Gene Expression
  • HLA Antigens / genetics
  • HLA Antigens / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Indoleamine-Pyrrole 2,3,-Dioxygenase / genetics
  • Indoleamine-Pyrrole 2,3,-Dioxygenase / immunology
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1 / genetics
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1 / immunology
  • Lung / cytology*
  • Lung / immunology
  • Lymphocyte Subsets / cytology
  • Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology
  • Meninges / cytology*
  • Meninges / immunology
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / immunology
  • Myocardium / cytology*
  • Myocardium / immunology
  • Olfactory Bulb / cytology*
  • Olfactory Bulb / immunology
  • Organ Specificity
  • Primary Cell Culture
  • Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1 / genetics
  • Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1 / immunology


  • Antigens, CD
  • Biomarkers
  • HLA Antigens
  • Indoleamine-Pyrrole 2,3,-Dioxygenase
  • Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1