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Haematologica. 2010 Apr;95(4):651-9. doi: 10.3324/haematol.2009.015065. Epub 2010 Feb 23.

CD271 antigen defines a subset of multipotent stromal cells with immunosuppressive and lymphohematopoietic engraftment-promoting properties.

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Department of Hematology/Oncology, University Children's Hospital III, 60590 Frankfurt am Main, Germany.


Background In vitro proliferative and differentiation potential of mesenchymal stromal cells generated from CD271(+) bone marrow mononuclear cells (CD271-mesenchymal stromal cells) has been demonstrated in several earlier and recent reports. In the present study we focused, in addition to proliferative and differentiation potential, on in vitro and in vivo immunosuppressive and lymphohematopoietic engraftment-promoting potential of these mesenchymal stromal cells compared to bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal cells generated by plastic adherence (plastic adherence-mesenchymal stromal cells).


We set up a series of experimental protocols in order to determine the phenotype of CD271-mesenchymal stromal cells, and their clonogenic, proliferative, differentiation and immunosuppressive potential. The potential of CD271-mesenchymal stromal cells to improve the engraftment of CD133(+) hematopoietic stem cells at co-transplantation was evaluated in immunodeficient NOD/SCID-IL2Rgamma(null) mice.


In vitro studies demonstrated that CD271-mesenchymal stromal cells differentiate along adipogenic, osteogenic and chondrogenic lineages (trilineage potential), produce significantly higher levels of cytokines than plastic adherence-mesenchymal stromal cells, and significantly inhibit the proliferation of allogeneic T-lymphocytes in mixed lymphocyte reaction assays. Elevated levels of prostaglandin E(2), but not nitric monoxide, mediated the majority of this immunosuppressive effect. In vivo studies showed that CD271-mesenchymal stromal cells promoted significantly greater lymphoid engraftment than did plastic adherence-mesenchymal stromal cells when co-transplanted with CD133(+) hematopoietic stem cells at a ratio of 8:1 in immunodeficient NOD/SCID-IL2Rgamma(null) mice. They induced a 10.4-fold increase in the number of T cells, a 2.5-fold increase in the number of NK cells, and a 3.6-fold increase in the number of B cells, indicating a major qualitative difference between these two mesenchymal stromal cell populations. Conclusions Our results indicate that CD271 antigen provides a versatile marker for prospective isolation and expansion of multipotent mesenchymal stromal cells with immunosuppressive and lymphohematopoietic engraftment-promoting properties. The co-transplantation of such cells together with hematopoietic stem cells in patients with hematologic malignancies may prove valuable in the prevention of impaired/delayed T-cell recovery and graft-versus-host disease.

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