Indirect co-cultures of healthy mesenchymal stem cells restore the physiological phenotypical profile of psoriatic mesenchymal stem cells

Clin Exp Immunol. 2018 Aug;193(2):234-240. doi: 10.1111/cei.13141. Epub 2018 May 31.


Psoriasis microenvironment, characterized by an imbalance between T helper type 1 (Th1)/Th17 and Th2 cytokines and also influences the mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) phenotypical profile. MSCs from healthy donors (H-MSCs) can exert a strong paracrine effect by secreting active soluble factors, able to modulate the inflammation in the microenvironment. To evaluate the influence of H-MSCs on MSCs from psoriatic patients (PsO-MSCs), H-MSCs and PsO-MSCs were isolated and characterized. Indirect co-culture of H-MSCs with PsO-MSCs was performed; effects on proliferation and expression of cytokines linked to Th1/Th17 and Th2 pathways were assayed before and after co-culture. The results show that before co-culture, proliferation of PsO-MSCs was significantly higher than H-MSCs (P < 0·05) and the levels of secreted cytokines confirmed the imbalance of Th1/Th17 versus the Th2 axis. After co-culture of H-MSCs with PsO-MSCs, healthy MSCs seem to exert a 'positive' influence on PsO-MSCs, driving the inflammatory phenotypical profile of PsO-MSCs towards a physiological pattern. The proliferation rate decreased towards values nearer to those observed in H-MSCs and the secretion of the cytokines that mostly identified the inflammatory microenvironment that characterized psoriasis, such as interleukin (IL)-6, IL-12, IL-13, IL-17A, tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF), is significantly lower in co-cultured PsO-MSCs than in individually cultured PSO-MSCs (P at least < 0·05). In conclusion, our preliminary results seem to provide an intriguing molecular explanation for the ever-increasing evidence of therapeutic efficacy of allogeneic MSCs infusion in psoriatic patients.

Keywords: Th pathways; cytokines; inflammation; mesenchymal stem cells; psoriasis.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cellular Microenvironment
  • Coculture Techniques
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / physiology*
  • Paracrine Communication
  • Phenotype
  • Psoriasis / immunology*
  • Psoriasis / therapy
  • Th1 Cells / immunology*
  • Th1-Th2 Balance
  • Th17 Cells / immunology*
  • Th2 Cells / immunology*
  • Transplantation, Homologous


  • Cytokines