Immunomodulatory benefits of mesenchymal stem cells treated with Caffeine in adjuvant-induced arthritis

Life Sci. 2020 Apr 1:246:117420. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2020.117420. Epub 2020 Feb 10.


Purpose: We intend to assess the effect of the conditioned medium of Caffeine pulsed MSCS in the amelioration of rheumatoid arthritis (RA)-afflicted rats.

Methods: MSCs were incubated with 0, 0.1, 0.5 or 1 mM Caffeine for 2 weeks. RA was induced by the injection of complete Freund's adjuvant (CFA) into the base of the tail of Wistar rats. According to in vitro studies, RA rats were intraperitoneally treated with MSCs, Caffeine (0.5 mM) pulsed MSCs or vehicle on day 14 when all rats had shown signs of RA.

Results: Our results suggest that the least effective dose concentration of Caffeine that can induce potent anti-inflammatory property in the MSC population is 0.5 mM. Without any significant impact on the vitality or MScs' marker, Caffeine at this concentration could induce lower levels of IFN-γ, IL-6, and IL-1β and a higher level of IDO, TGF-β, and IL-10 compared to other groups. Therefore, MSCs pulsed with Caffeine at 0.5 mM concentration was selected for in vitro studies. Caffeine pulsed MSCs could reduce the severity of the disease and improve weight-gaining more profoundly than treatment with MSCs alone. Furthermore, Caffeine pulsed MSCs caused a significant reduction in the serum levels C-reactive protein, Nitric oxide, Myeloperoxidase, TNF-α and conversely led a significant increase in the levels of IL-10 more prominent than the similar findings brought about by MSCs alone.

Conclusion: In general, caffeine-treated MSCs may be a promising strategy for cell-based therapy of RA.

Keywords: Caffeine; Mesenchymal stem cells; Rat; Rheumatoid arthritis.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arthritis, Experimental / immunology
  • Arthritis, Experimental / therapy
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / immunology
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / therapy*
  • Caffeine / pharmacology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Immunomodulation
  • Male
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation / methods*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / drug effects*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Caffeine