Immunogenicity and immunomodulatory properties of umbilical cord lining mesenchymal stem cells

Tobias Deuse, Mandy Stubbendorff, Karis Tang-Quan, Neil Phillips, Mark A. Kay, Thomas Eiermann, Thang T. Phan, Hans Dieter Volk, Hermann Reichenspurner, Robert C. Robbins, Sonja Schrepfer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

200 Scopus citations


We here present an immunologic head-to-head comparison between human umbilical cord lining mesenchymal stem cells (clMSCs) and adult bone marrow MSCs (bmMSCs) from patients >65 years of age. clMSCs had significantly lower HLA class I expression, higher production of tolerogenic TGF-β and IL-10, and showed significantly faster proliferation. In vitro activation of allogeneic lymphocytes and xenogeneic in vivo immune activation was significantly stronger with bmMSCs, whereas immune recognition of clMSCs was significantly weaker. Thus, bmMSCs were more quickly rejected in immunocompetent mice. IFN-γ at 25 ng/ml increased both immunogenicity by upregulation of HLA class I/ HLA-DR expression and tolerogenicity by increasing intracellular HLA-G and surface HLA-E expression, augmenting TGF-β and IL-10 release, and inducing indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) expression. Higher concentrations of IFN-γ (>50 ng/ml) further enhanced the immunosuppressive phenotype of clMSCs, more strongly downregulating HLADR expression and further increasing IDO production (at 500 ng/ml). The net functional immunosuppressive efficacy of MSCs was tested in mixed lymphocyte cultures. Although both clMSCs and bmMSCs significantly reduced in vitro immune activation, clMSCs were significantly more effective than bmMSCs. The veto function of both MSC lines was enhanced in escalating IFN-γ environments. In conclusion, clMSCs show a more beneficial immunogeneic profile and stronger overall immunosuppressive potential than aged bmMSCs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)655-667
Number of pages13
JournalCell transplantation
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Immunogenicity
  • Immunomodulation
  • Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs)
  • Stem cell transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Cell Biology
  • Transplantation


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