Embedding MSCs in Si-HPMC hydrogel decreased MSC-directed host immune response and increased the regenerative potential of macrophages


Embedding mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) in biomaterial is a subject of increasing interest in the field of Regenerative Medicine. Speeding up the clinical use of MSCs is dependent on the use of non-syngeneic models in accordance with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) requirements and on costs. To this end, in this study, we analyzed the in vivo host immune response following local injection of silanized hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (Si-HPMC)-embedded human MSCs in a rat model developing colorectal damage induced by ionizing radiation. Plasma and lymphocytes from mesenteric lymph nodes were harvested in addition to colonic tissue. We set up tests, using flow cytometry and a live imaging system, to highlight the response to specific antibodies and measure the cytotoxicity of lymphocytes against injected MSCs. We demonstrated that Si-HPMC protects MSCs from specific antibodies production and from apoptosis by lymphocytes. We also observed that Si-HPMC does not modify innate immune response infiltrate in vivo, and that in vitro co-culture of Si-HPMC-embedded MSCs impacts macrophage inflammatory response depending on the microenvironment but, more importantly, increases the macrophage regenerative response through Wnt-family and VEGF gene expression. This study furthers our understanding of the mechanisms involved, with a view to improving the therapeutic benefits of biomaterial-assisted cell therapy by modulating the host immune response. The decrease in specific immune response against injected MSCs protected by Si-HPMC also opens up new possibilities for allogeneic clinical use.

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