Stem Cell Therapy Improves Lung Inflammation, Tissue Damage in Mice

Patrícia Silva, PhD avatar

by Patrícia Silva, PhD |

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stem cell therapy for COPD

Stem cell therapy reduced lung inflammation and improved lung damage repair in a mouse model of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and cystic fibrosis. The findings were presented at the Lung Science Conference recently in Estoril, Portugal.

Mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) therapy uses stem cells (multipotent cells that can differentiate into a variety of cell types) to induce lung repair and regeneration of lung tissue. MSC therapy represents an exciting avenue for the treatment of a range of lung diseases.

Data shown at the conference, in a presentation titled “Mesenchymal Stem Cell Therapy Reduces Inflammation And Damage In A Model Of Chronic Lung Disease,” was based on a mouse model of chronic inflammatory lung disease, which has some of the features of COPD, cystic fibrosis, and other lung diseases. The team assessed the effectiveness of MSC therapy in this mouse model.

In their experiments, researchers delivered stem cells intravenously to mice at four and six weeks of age. Then they collected samples of lung tissue and lung cells at eight weeks. The team compared the results with a group of mice that were not treated with MSC therapy.

Researchers found that in the group of mice receiving MSC, there was a reduction in lung inflammation. This was determined by a reduction in the cell counts for both monocytic cells and neutrophils.

When the team analyzed the lung tissue of the animals, they found that in the group of mice under MSC therapy, there was a reduction in specific measures of lung destruction. They also found that in these mice there was an improvement in lung structure, indicating that MSC therapy may repair the damaged lung.

“These preliminary findings demonstrate the potential effectiveness of MSC treatment as a means of repairing the damage caused by chronic lung diseases such as COPD,” Declan Doherty, from Queens University Belfast, UK, who was involved in the study, said in a news release.

“The ability to counteract inflammation in the lungs by utilizing the combined anti-inflammatory and reparative properties of MSCs could potentially reduce the inflammatory response in individuals with chronic lung disease whilst also restoring lung function in these patients,” he said.

“Although further research is needed to improve our understanding of how MSCs repair this damage, these findings suggest a promising role for MSC therapy in treating patients with chronic lung disease,” Doherty added.

Rachel Chambers, director of the European Respiratory Society’s Conferences and Research Seminars, said the paper offers new results in a pre-clinical animal model “which demonstrates the potential of MSC stem cell therapy for the treatment of long-term lung conditions with exciting potential implications for the future treatment of patients with COPD and cystic fibrosis.

“Although still at an early stage in terms of translation to the human disease situation, this paper is one of many cutting-edge abstracts from the Lung Science Conference, which aims to provide an international platform to highlight novel experimental lung research with therapeutic potential,” Chamber said. “We rely on high quality basic and translational respiratory science, such as these latest findings, to develop novel therapeutic approaches for the millions of patients suffering from devastating and often fatal respiratory conditions.”