Administering human adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells to prevent and treat experimental arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease and affecting approximately 1% of the population. Human adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (hASCs) were recently found to suppress effector T cell and inflammatory responses and, thus, to have beneficial effects in various autoimmune diseases. In this study, we examined whether hASCs could play a protective and/or therapeutic role in collagen-induced arthritis (CIA). We showed that hASCs both prevented and treated CIA by significantly reducing the incidence and severity of experimental arthritis. We further demonstrated that treatment with hASCs inhibited the production of various inflammatory mediators, decreased antigen-specific Th1/Th17 cell expansion, and induced the production of anti-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-10. Moreover, hASCs could induce the generation of antigen-specific Treg cells with the capacity to suppress collagen-specific T cell responses.