The field of organ donation sees challenges with not only a shortage of donors but also lifelong immunosuppression in the recipients. An alternative is the repair of damaged organs to regenerate the functions lost in an organ. Among the various types of stem cells are Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) that were first isolated from the bone marrow and later from adipose tissue, umbilical cord, amniotic fluid, skeletal muscle, blood, liver and lung for repairing organs.
According to the International Society for Cell Therapy the proposed criteria for a stem cell to be classified as MSC are (1) adherence to plastic in standard culture conditions; (2) Presence of the surface molecules CD73, CD90, and CD105 in the absence of CD34, CD45, HLA-DR, CD14 or CD11b, CD79a, or CD19 (3) The ability to differentiate into osteoblasts, chondroblasts and adipocytes in vitro. MSCs have shown the ability to also be differentiated into cardiomyocytes, renal tubular cells, retinal cells, neural cells, pancreatic islets, hepatocytes, lung and sebaceous duct cells. The cells show low immunogenicity and can lower immune reactions.
The following are few examples of the promise of Bone Marrow derived Mesenchymal stem cells (BMMSCs) in repairing organs:
BMMSCs are useful in lowering the secretion of cytokines IL-1 and TNF-α that cause inflammation in the liver. Curley and team (2012) reported in Thorax that mice models with ventilator-induced lung injury when administered BMMSCs lowered the injury and inflammation. They also boosted lung repair and systemic oxygenation.
Patients with multi-organ failure often show ischemic acute renal failure (ARF); a team led by Alfarano reported in Cell Transplant (2012) that administering one dose of BMMSCs 7 days after ischemia-reperfusion lowered extracellular matrix accumulation and tubular dilation: features of ARF. The renal function in the rats also showed improvement.
Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis are relapsing diseases termed as inflammatory bowel disease. In CD, there is inflammation due to the abnormal functioning of the immune system of the intestinal mucosa. 2012-published research in PLoS One by Castelo-Branco and team showed that the injection of cryopreserved BMMSCs underwent “homing” to the inflamed colon and assuaged the symptoms of colitis induced in a rat model.
Ming Li and Susumu Ikehara. Bone-Marrow-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells for Organ Repair. Stem Cells International. 2013; Volume 2013. Article ID 132642: https://doi.org/10.1155/2013/132642
- F. Curley, M. Hayes, B. Ansari et al., “Mesenchymal stem cells enhance recovery and repair following ventilator-induced lung injury in the rat,” Thorax, vol. 67, no. 6, pp. 496–501, 2012.
- Alfarano, C. Roubeix, R. Chaaya et al., “Intraparenchymal injection of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells reduces kidney fibrosis after ischemia-reperfusion in cyclosporine-immunosuppressed rats,” Cell Transplant, vol. 21, no. 9, pp. 2009–2019, 2012.
- T. Castelo-Branco, I. D. Soares, D. V. Lopes et al., “Intraperitoneal but not intravenous cryopreserved mesenchymal stromal cells home to the inflamed colon and ameliorate experimental colitis,” PLoS One, vol. 7, no. 3, Article ID e33360, 2012.