You are hereAugust 16, 2021 | Mesenchymal Stem Cells
Human MSC Therapy – An Efficient Alternative Treatment for Mycobacterial Infections?
Review of “Donor‐defined mesenchymal stem cell antimicrobial potency against nontuberculous mycobacterium” from STEM CELLS Translational Medicine by Stuart P. Atkinson
Recent research from the laboratory of Tracey L. Bonfield (Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, USA) underscored the antimicrobial, anti‐inflammatory, and antifibrotic potential of human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) [1-3] and their exciting ability to improve the effectiveness of antibiotics . In their new STEM CELLS Translational Medicine article, researchers from the Bonfield lab now report on the potential of human MSCs to treat non-tuberculous mycobacterial infections (a difficult to treat and significantly impair the quality of life and survival of patients ) using a previously reported protocol that monitors mycobacterial growth, metabolism, and survival over the course of a week . Bonfield et al. now report that human MSC administration may represent a safe and efficient alternative therapeutic strategy for chronic infections of hard-to-treat bacteria .
Initial in vitro studies demonstrated that human MSCs and the MSC secretome (to a lesser degree) possessed anti-mycobacterial potency and the ability to enhance the sensitivity of mycobacteria to antibiotic treatment; however, the study highlighted significant variability in the potency of human MSCs in the treatment of M. intracellulare and M. avium individually or a combined infection. Encouragingly, subsequent in vivo analyses in mice suffering from a sustained non-tuberculous mycobacterial infection in the lungs using a standardized agarose bead model revealed that human MSC treatment could attenuate various pathogenic phenotypes (See Figure).
Interestingly, the authors noted that different batches of human MSCs displayed differing anti-mycobacterial activity and, therefore, they sought to uncover potential biological response mediators linked to improved therapeutic outcomes. Their subsequent analysis suggested that the ability of human MSCs to produce heme oxygenase 1 (HMOX‐1), interleukin (IL)‐6 (which both redirect host immunity), and macrophage inflammatory protein 3α (CCL20) (an antibacterial mediator) function as potential biomarkers for the capacity of human MSCs to reduce non-tuberculous mycobacterial infections.
The authors anticipate that these findings will pave the way towards the development of human MSC therapy as a safe and effective alternative to the treatment of non-tuberculous mycobacterial infections with antibiotic macrolides, which are both toxic and often inefficient .
For more on the development of human mesenchymal stem cell therapy as an effective means to treat non-tuberculous mycobacterial infections, stay tuned to the Stem Cells Portal!
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- Bonfield TL, Sutton MT, Fletcher DR, et al., Donor-defined mesenchymal stem cell antimicrobial potency against nontuberculous mycobacterium. STEM CELLS Translational Medicine 2021;10:1202-1216.
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