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Tissue Eng. 2007 Jun;13(6):1173-83.

Dose-dependent immunomodulatory effect of human stem cells from amniotic membrane: a comparison with human mesenchymal stem cells from adipose tissue.

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Red Cross Blood Transfusion Service of Upper Austria, Linz, Austria.


Bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) have been used for allogeneic application in tissue engineering but have certain drawbacks. Therefore, stem cells (SC)s derived from other adult tissue sources have been considered as an alternative. However, there is only limited knowledge on their immunomodulatory properties. The aim of our study was to compare the immunomodulatory potential of human amniotic mesenchymal and human amniotic epithelial cells with that of human adipose-derived SCs under identical experimental conditions. We have demonstrated a dose-dependent inhibition of peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) immune responses in mixed lymphocyte reactions (up to 66-93% inhibition) and phytohemagglutinin activation assays (up to 67-96% inhibition). The lowest SC-to-PBMC ratio able to inhibit PBMC proliferation significantly was 1:8. Subcultivation (passage 2-6) did not alter immunoinhibitory properties, whereas cryopreservation significantly reduced the immunomodulatory potential. Using transwell systems, we have demonstrated an inhibition mechanism that is dependent on cell contact. Additionally, in coculture with allogeneic PBMCs, SCs were well tolerated and at most provoked mild alloreactions in singular cases. This study demonstrates, for the first time, contact- and dose-dependent immunosuppression of mesenchymal and epithelial amniotic SC populations, as well as of adipose tissue-derived SCs. All three cell types may be considered as possible alternatives to BMSCs for allogeneic application in tissue engineering.

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