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Cell J. 2017 Oct;19(3):361-374. doi: 10.22074/cellj.2017.4497. Epub 2017 Aug 19.

Multiple Sclerosis Gene Therapy with Recombinant Viral Vectors: Overexpression of IL-4, Leukemia Inhibitory Factor, and IL-10 in Wharton's Jelly Stem Cells Used in EAE Mice Model.

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Cellular and Molecular Biology Research Center, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
Department of Cell Biology and Anatomical Science, Faculty of Medicine, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran. Electronic address:
Department of Molecular Medicine, School of Advanced Technologies in Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
Iranian Institute of Cell and Gene Therapy, Tehran, Iran.
Cellular and Molecular Biology Research Center, Babol University of Medical Sciences, Babol, Iran.
Department of Genetics, Faculty of Medicine, Babol University of Medical Sciences, Babol, Iran.
Cellular and Molecular Research Center, Shahrekord University of Medical Sciences, Shahrekord, Iran.
Urogenital Stem Cell Research, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
Department of Biotechnology, Fasa University of Medical Sciences, Fasa, Iran.
BioViva USA Inc, Bainbridge Island WA, USA.



Immunotherapy and gene therapy play important roles in modern medicine. The aim of this study is to evaluate the overexpression of interleukin-4 (IL-4), IL-10 and leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) in Wharton's jelly stem cells (WJSCs) in the experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) mice model.


In this experimental study, a DNA construction containing IL- 4, IL-10 and LIF was assembled to make a polycistronic vector (as the transfer vector). Transfer and control vectors were co-transfected into Human Embryonic Kidney 293 (HEK-293T) cells with helper plasmids which produced recombinant lentiviral viruses (rLV). WJSCs were transduced with rLV to make recombinant WJSC (rWJSC). In vitro protein and mRNA overexpression of IL-4, LIF, and IL-10 were evaluated using quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and western blot (WB) analysis. EAE was induced in mice by MOG-CFA and pertussis toxin. EAE mice were injected twice with 2×105 rWJSCs. The in vivo level of IL-4, LIF, IL-10 cytokines and IL-17 were measured by ELISA. Brain tissues were analyzed histologically for evaluation of EAE lesions.


Isolated WJSCs were performed to characterize by in vitro differentiation and surface markers were analyzed by flow cytometry method. Cloning of a single lentiviral vector with five genes was done successfully. Transfection of transfer and control vectors were processed based on CaPO4 method with >90% efficiency. Recombinant viruses were produced and results of titration showed 2-3×107 infection-unit/ml. WJSCs were transduced using recombinant viruses. IL-4, IL-10 and LIF overexpression were confirmed by ELISA, WB and qPCR. The EAE mice treated with rWJSC showed reduction of Il-17, and brain lesions as well as brain cellular infiltration, in vivo. Weights and physical activity were improved in gene-treated group.


These results showed that gene therapy using anti-inflammatory cytokines can be a promising approach against multiple sclerosis (MS). In addition, considering the immunomodulatory potential of WJSCs, an approach using a combination of WJSCs and gene therapy will enhance the treatment efficacy.


Cytokines; Gene Therapy; Multiple Sclerosis; Wharton’s jelly stem cells

Conflict of interest statement

There is no conflict of interest in this study.

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