Background: Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) possess a wide range of immunomodulatory functions mostly in immune cells including dendritic cells (DCs). DCs are the key cells in the immune response and play an important role in initiating cell-mediated immunity.
Objective: To evaluate the immunomodulatory effects of MSCs supernatant on maturation and function of DCs.
Methods: Bone marrow derived mice MSCs were isolated and cultured. Twenty-four, forty-eight and seventy-two hours after passage 6, supernatants were collected and MSCs were assessed by cytometric analysis for the expression of CD34, CD44, CD45 and SCA-1. Splenic DCs were isolated using MACS and then co-cultured with MSCs supernatant. Expression of CD86, CD40 and MHC-II on DCs were also evaluated by cytometry. H 3-thymidine incorporation by proliferating T cells was determined in two separate MLR assay settings. In one setting, DCs were co-cultured with T cells in the presence of MSCs supernatant, and in the other setting DCs were treated with MSCs supernatant and then were co-cultured with T cells. Production of IL-12, IL-6 and IL-10 cytokines was measured in the supernatant of DCs treated with MSCs supernatant. We also measured IFN- γ and IL-4 levels in MLR supernatant.
Results: The results showed that 72h MSCs supernatant could decrease the expression of MHC-II and CD86. The T cell proliferation was inhibited in the presence of MSCs supernatant and MSCs supernatant treated DCs as demonstrated by MLR assay. A significant increase in IL-4 level and a non significant decrease in IFN- γ level in MLR supernatant were observed. However, IL-6, IL-10 and IL-12 production did not change significantly.
Conclusion: MSCs supernatant has a time dependent effect on the maturation of DCs. Also, it could alter cytokine production from responding T cells toward Th2. Generally, the findings of this study supported the immunomodulatory effect of MSCs supernatant on DCs maturation and function.