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Human Adipose Tissue-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Parkinson’s Disease: Inhibition of T Helper 17 Cell Differentiation and Regulation of Immune Balance Towards a Regulatory T Cell Phenotype

Authors Bi Y, Lin X, Liang H, Yang D, Zhang X, Ke J, Xiao J, Chen Z, Chen W, Zhang X, Wang S, Liu CF

Received 3 May 2020

Accepted for publication 28 July 2020

Published 13 August 2020 Volume 2020:15 Pages 1383—1391


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Prof. Dr. Zhi-Ying Wu

Yong Bi,1– 3 Xiaobin Lin,4 Huazheng Liang,2 Dehao Yang,4 Xiaowei Zhang,4 Jianming Ke,4 Jingjing Xiao,2 Zhilin Chen,2 Weian Chen,4 Xu Zhang,4 Shaoshi Wang,2 Chun-Feng Liu1,3

1Department of Neurology and Suzhou Clinical Research Center of Neurological Disease, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University, Suzhou, People’s Republic of China; 2Department of Neurology, Translational Research Institute of Brain and Brain-Like Intelligence, Shanghai Fourth People’s Hospital Affiliated to Tongji University School of Medicine, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China; 3Institute of Neuroscience, Soochow University, Suzhou, People’s Republic of China; 4Department of Neurology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, People’s Republic of China

Correspondence: Chun-Feng Liu Email

Background: Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder displaying a typical neuroinflammation pathology that may result from an imbalance between regulatory T cells (Treg) and T helper 17 (Th17) cells. Human adipose tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells (Ad-MSCs) exert immunomodulatory effects by inhibiting effector T cell responses and have been used to treat diverse immune disorders. We aimed to investigate the modulating effect of human Ad-MSCs on peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of patients with PD, focusing on differentiation into Th17 and Treg cells.
Methods: We isolated human peripheral blood CD4+T cells and co-cultured them with Ad-MSCs at a ratio of 4:1 under either Th17 or Treg cell polarizing conditions for 4 days to detect the proportions of IL-17-producing CD4+T (Th17) and CD4+CD25+Foxp3+regulatory T (Treg) cells by flow cytometry. We also determined the mRNA expression levels of the retinoid-related orphan nuclear receptor (RORγt) transcription factor and those of interleukin-6 receptor (IL-6R), interleukin-23 receptor (IL-23R), leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF), and LIF receptor (LIFR) by quantitative reverse transcription PCR. We detected levels of cytokines in the supernatant (including LIF, IL-6, IL-23, IL-10, and TGF-β) using ELISA.
Results: Our results showed that Ad-MSCs specifically inhibited the differentiation of PBMCs of patients with PD into IL-17-producing CD4+T cells by decreasing expressions of IL-6R, IL-23R, and RORγt (the key transcription factor for Th17 cells). Moreover, Ad-MSCs induced a functional CD4+CD25+Foxp3+T regulatory cell phenotype as evidenced by the secretion of IL-10. The levels of IL-6, IL-23, and TGF-β remained constant after co-culture under either the Th17 or the Treg cell polarizing condition. In addition, levels of LIF protein and its receptor mRNA were significantly increased under both polarizing conditions.
Conclusion: The present in vitro study found that Ad-MSCs from healthy participants were able to correct the imbalance between Th17 and Treg found in PBMCs of PD patients, which were correlated with an increase in LIF secretion and a decrease in expression of IL-6R, IL-23R, and RORγt. These findings should be confirmed by in vivo experiments.

Keywords: Parkinson’s disease, adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells, CD4+T cell, T helper 17 cell, T regulatory cell, peripheral blood mononuclear cells, leukemia inhibitory factor

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