Therapeutic effects of umbilical cord blood-derived mesenchymal stem cell transplantation in experimental lupus nephritis

Jei Wen Chang, Shun Pei Hung, Hao Hsiang Wu, Wen Mien Wu, An Hang Yang, Hsin Lin Tsai, Ling Yu Yang, Oscar K. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations


Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been shown to possess immunomodulatory properties. Systemic lupus erythematosus is an autoimmune disease that results in nephritis and subsequent destruction of renal microstructure. We investigated whether transplantation of human umbilical cord blood-derived MSCs (uMSCs) is useful in alleviating lupus nephritis in a murine model. It was found that uMSCs transplantation significantly delayed the development of proteinuria, decreased anti-dsDNA, alleviated renal injury, and prolonged the life span. There was a trend of decreasing T-helper (Th) 1 cytokines (IFN-γ, IL-2) and proinflammatory cytokines (TNF-α, IL-6, IL-12) and increasing Th2 cytokines (IL-4, IL-10). The in vitro coculture experiments showed that uMSCs only inhibited lymphocytes and splenocytes proliferation but not mesangial cells. Long-term engraftment of uMSCs in the kidney was not observed either. Together, these findings indicated that uMSCs were effective in decreasing renal inflammation and alleviating experimental lupus nephritis by inhibiting lymphocytes, inducing polarization of Th2 cytokines, and inhibition of proinflammatory cytokines production rather than direct engraftment and differentiating into renal tissue. Therapeutic effects demonstrated in this preclinical study support further exploration of the possibility to use uMSCs from mismatched donors in lupus nephritis treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-257
Number of pages13
JournalCell Transplantation
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2011


  • Immunomodulation
  • Lupus nephritis
  • Mesenchymal stem cells
  • Umbilical cord blood


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