Impaired anti-fibrotic effect of bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cell in a mouse model of pulmonary paracoccidioidomycosis

PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2017 Oct 17;11(10):e0006006. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0006006. eCollection 2017 Oct.


Bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BMMSCs) have been consider as a promising therapy in fibrotic diseases. Experimental models suggest that BMMSCs may be used as an alternative therapy to treat chemical- or physical-induced pulmonary fibrosis. We investigated the anti-fibrotic potential of BMMSCs in an experimental model of lung fibrosis by infection with Paracoccidioides brasiliensis. BMMSCs were isolated and purified from BALB/c mice using standardized methods. BALB/c male mice were inoculated by intranasal infection of 1.5x106 P. brasiliensis yeasts. Then, 1x106 BMMSCs were administered intra venous at 8th week post-infection (p.i.). An additional group of mice was treated with itraconazole (ITC) two weeks before BMMSCs administration. Animals were sacrificed at 12th week p.i. Histopathological examination, fibrocytes counts, soluble collagen and fibrosis-related genes expression in lungs were evaluated. Additionally, human fibroblasts were treated with homogenized lung supernatants (HLS) to determine induction of collagen expression. Histological analysis showed an increase of granulomatous inflammatory areas in BMMSCs-treated mice. A significant increase of fibrocytes count, soluble collagen and collagen-3α1, TGF-β3, MMP-8 and MMP-15 genes expression were also observed in those mice. Interestingly, when combined therapy BMMSCs/ITC was used there is a decrease of TIMP-1 and MMP-13 gene expression in infected mice. Finally, human fibroblasts stimulated with HLS from infected and BMMSCs-transplanted mice showed a higher expression of collagen I. In conclusion, our findings indicate that late infusion of BMMSCs into mice infected with P. brasiliensis does not have any anti-fibrotic effect; possibly because their interaction with the fungus promotes collagen expression and tissue remodeling.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Marrow Cells*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Fibrosis / prevention & control
  • Lung Diseases, Fungal / pathology
  • Lung Diseases, Fungal / therapy*
  • Male
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Paracoccidioidomycosis / pathology
  • Paracoccidioidomycosis / therapy*
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / etiology*