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Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 2018 Jan 1;53(1):194-200. doi: 10.1093/ejcts/ezx257.

Bone marrow stem cells modified with human interleukin 10 attenuate acute rejection in rat lung allotransplantation.

Author information

Department of General Thoracic Surgery, University Hospital Bern, Bern, Switzerland.
Department of General Thoracic Surgery and Lung Transplantation, Pomeranian Medical University, Szczecin, Poland.
Department of Clinical Research, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.
Graduate School, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.
Promed AG, Freiburg, Switzerland.
Department of Pulmonary Medicine, University Hospital Bern, Bern, Switzerland.



The aim of this study was to investigate new therapeutic options to attenuate acute rejection in a rat lung allograft model. Cell-based gene therapies have recently been reported as a novel curative option in acute and chronic diseases for which conventional treatments are not available. We studied the effect of human interleukin 10 (hIL-10) on expressing bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) in combination with cyclosporine A (CsA) on acute rejection of lung allografts in the rat.


Lung allotransplantation was performed from male Brown Norway donor to male Fisher (F344) rats. Rat BMSCs were transfected with hIL-10 in vitro and introduced in the graft prior to implantation. Group A (n = 5) received CsA intraperitoneally (2.5 mg/kg body weight) for 5 days post-transplant; Group B (n = 5) received BMSC and CsA and Group C (n = 5) received hIL-10-BMSC before implantation and CsA. Graft function was assessed by blood gas levels only from the graft on day 5; tissue was sampled for histological grading of rejection and measurement of the wet-to-dry ratio.


All Group A control animals showed severe signs of rejection. On Day 5, all grafts in Group C showed improved gas exchange (mean arterial partial pressure of oxygen 222.2 ± 40.38 mmHg vs 92.36 ± 20.92 mmHg in Group B and 42.72 ± 18.07 mmHg in Group A). Histological examination revealed moderate-to-severe rejection in all animals in Group A [International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation Level III B (ISHLT)] in contrast to low-to-moderate rejection in Group B (II-IIIA) and much improved histological grade in Group C (I-IIA). Moreover, the wet-to-dry ratio was also reduced in Group C (4.8 ± 1.19 compared with 4.78 ± 0.62 in Group B and 9.36 ± 0.90 in Group A).


The hIL-10 BMSC represent a promising novel method for localized cell-based gene therapy for acute rejection in a rat lung allograft model.


Acute rejection; IL-10; Lung transplantation; Stem cells

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