Placenta-derived stem cells may help sufferers of lung diseases

July 27, 2009

An Italian research team, publishing in the current issue of Cell Transplantation (18:4), has found that stem cells derived from human placenta may ultimately play a role in the treatment of lung diseases, such as pulmonary fibrosis and fibrotic diseases caused by tuberculosis, chemical exposure, radiation or pathogens. These diseases can ultimately lead to loss of normal lung tissue and organ failure. No known therapy effectively reverses or stops the fibrotic process.

Placenta-derived are known to be able to engraft in solid organs, including the lungs. Human term placenta stem cells also demonstrate characteristics of high plasticity and low immunogenicity.

"The potential application of fetal membrane-derived cells as a therapeutic tool for disorders characterized by inflammation and fibrosis is supported in previous studies," says Dr. Ornella Parolini, the study's lead author. "In line with the hypothesis that cells derived from the amniotic membrane have immunomodulatory properties and have been used as an anti-inflammatory agent, we set out to evaluate the effects of fetal membrane-derived in chemically-treated (bleomycin) mice."

According to Dr. Parolini, cells delivered via intra-peritoneal transplant, regardless of the cells being allogenic or xenogenic (host's own cells or from another individual respectively), the procedure resulted in a significant anti-fibrotic effect on the lab animals. A "consistent" reduction in lung fibrosis, says Dr. Parolini, "provides convincing proof" that placenta-derived cells do confer benefits for bleomycin-induced lung injury. While the severity of inflammation did not show an overall reduction, there was a marked reduction in neutrophil (white blood cell) infiltration after both xeno-and-allo-transplantation.

"It is worth noting," says Dr. Parolini," that the presence of neutrophils is associated with poor prognosis for several lung diseases. However, the mechanism by which placenta-derived cells might affect infiltration by neutrophils is not known."

The researchers speculated that these cells may produce soluble factors that induce anti-inflammatory effects.

"Our findings suggest that fetal membrane-derived cells may prove useful for cell therapy of fibrotic diseases in the future," concludes Dr. Parolini.

Dr. Cesar Borlongan, of the University of South Florida and associate editor for Cell Transplantation, notes that the present study adds an important application of placenta , indicating their therapeutic effects in lung diseases. The cells' ability to reduce neutrophils possibly via secreted anti-inflammatory factors implies their use either as autografts or allografts, thereby increasing the numbers of the target patient population.

More information: www.ingentaconnect.com/content/cog/ct

Source: Cell Transplantation Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair

Explore further: New study hopeful on neural stem cells

Related Stories

New study hopeful on neural stem cells

August 5, 2006

Neural stem cells derived from federally approved human embryonic cells are inferior to stem cells derived from donated fetal tissue, a new study found.

Type of stem cell found to reside in transplanted lungs

March 8, 2007

A new study involving a type of stem cells from the lungs of transplant patients demonstrates for the first time that these progenitor cells reside in adult organs and are not derived from bone marrow, which leads to the ...

Study sheds light on deadly lung disease

April 14, 2008

Systemic sclerosis (SSc), also known as scleroderma, is characterized by the formation of fibrosis, or scar tissue, on internal organs as well as the skin. Beyond its disfiguring symptoms, SSc is associated with a high rate ...

Scientists discover new source for harvesting stem cells

June 23, 2009

A groundbreaking study conducted by Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland is the first to reveal a new avenue for harvesting stem cells from a woman's placenta, or more specifically the discarded placentas of healthy ...

Recommended for you

Genomes uncover life's early history

August 24, 2015

A University of Manchester scientist is part of a team which has carried out one of the biggest ever analyses of genomes on life of all forms.

Rare nautilus sighted for the first time in three decades

August 25, 2015

In early August, biologist Peter Ward returned from the South Pacific with news that he encountered an old friend, one he hadn't seen in over three decades. The University of Washington professor had seen what he considers ...

Why a mutant rice called Big Grain1 yields such big grains

August 24, 2015

(Phys.org)—Rice is one of the most important staple crops grown by humans—very possibly the most important in history. With 4.3 billion inhabitants, Asia is home to 60 percent of the world's population, so it's unsurprising ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.