Treatment with placenta-derived mesenchymal stem cells mitigates development of bronchiolitis obliterans in a murine model

Yunge Zhao, Jacob R. Gillen, David A. Harris, Irving L. Kron, Michael P. Murphy, Christine L. Lau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Objective: Bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have shown therapeutic potential in acute lung injury. Recently, placenta-derived human mesenchymal stem cells (PMSCs) have shown similarities with bone marrow-derived MSCs in terms of regenerative capabilities and immunogenicity. This study investigates the hypothesis that treatment with PMSCs reduces the development of bronchiolitis obliterans in a murine heterotopic tracheal transplant model. Methods: A murine heterotopic tracheal transplant model was used to study the continuum from acute to chronic rejection. In the treatment groups, PMSCs or PMSC-conditioned medium (PMSCCM) were injected either locally or intratracheally into the allograft. Phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) or blank medium was injected in the control groups. Tracheal luminal obliteration was assessed on sections stained with hematoxylin and eosin. Infiltration of inflammatory and immune cells and epithelial progenitor cells was assessed using immunohistochemistry and densitometric analysis. Results: Compared with injection of PBS, local injection of PMSCs significantly reduced luminal obliteration at 28 days after transplantation (P =.015). Intratracheal injection of PMSCs showed similar results to local injection of PMSCs compared with injection of PBS and blank medium (P =.022). Tracheas treated with PMSC/PMSCCM showed protection against the loss of epithelium on day 14, with an increase in P63+CK14+ epithelial progenitor cells and Foxp3+ regulatory T cells. In addition, injection of PMSCs and PMSCCM significantly reduced the number of neutrophils and CD3+ T cells on day 14. Conclusions: This study demonstrates that treatment with PMSCs is protective against the development of bronchiolitis obliterans in an heterotopic tracheal transplant model. These results indicate that PMSCs could provide a novel therapeutic option to reduce chronic rejection after lung transplant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1668-1677.e5
JournalJournal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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