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Biomed Mater. 2015 Mar 16;10(3):034101. doi: 10.1088/1748-6041/10/3/034101.

Downregulation of beta-microglobulin to diminish T-lymphocyte lysis of non-syngeneic cell sources of engineered heart tissue constructs.

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Pharmacology and Physiology Department, The George Washington University, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, 2300 Eye Street, Washington DC 20037, USA.


The presence of non-autologous major histocompatibility complex class I (MHC-I) molecules on the surface of the grafted cells is one of the main reasons for their rejection in non-syngeneic hosts. We present a straightforward strategy to decrease the presence of MHC-I by shRNA inhibition of beta-2-microglobulin (B2M), a conservative light chain of MHC-I, on the surface of two main cell types that are used to engineer heart tissue constructs. Engineered heart tissue constructs can be generated by combining mouse WT19 fibroblasts and mouse embryonic stem cell-derived cardiac myocytes (mESC-CM). WT19 fibroblasts were stably transduced with an anti-B2M shRNA, which yielded a cell line with dramatically reduced B2M expression levels (16 ± 11% of mock treated control cell line). Interferon gamma treatment increased the levels of B2M expression by >3-fold in both control and transduced fibroblasts; yet, B2M expression levels still remained very low in the transduced cells. When compared with their unmodified counterparts, transduced fibroblasts caused 5.7-fold lesser activation of cognate T-cells. B2M depletion in mESC-CM was achieved by 72 h transduction with anti-B2M shRNA lentiviral particles. Transduced mESC-CM exhibited regular beating and expressed classical cardiac markers. When compared with their unmodified counterparts, transduced mESC-CM caused 2.5-fold lesser activation of cognate T-cells. In vivo assessment of B2M downregulation was performed by analyzing the preferential survival of B2M-downregulated cells in the intraperitoneal cavity of allogeneic mice. Both B2M-downregulated fibroblasts and B2M-downregulated myocytes survived significantly better when compared to their unmodified counterparts (2.01 ± 0.4 and 5.07 ± 1.6 fold increase in survival, respectively). In contrast, when modified WT19 fibroblasts were injected into the intraperitoneal cavity of syngeneic C57Bl/6 mice, no significant survival advantage was observed. Notably, the preferential survival of B2M-downregulated cells persisted in allogeneic hosts with normal levels of natural killer cells, although the effect was lesser in magnitude. Use of shRNA against beta-2-microglobulin offers a simple and effective approach to minimize immunogenicity of the main cellular components of cardiac tissue constructs in non-syngeneic recipients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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