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Stem Cells Int. 2018 Jul 3;2018:4273107. doi: 10.1155/2018/4273107. eCollection 2018.

Effect of a Combination of Prednisone or Mycophenolate Mofetil and Mesenchymal Stem Cells on Lupus Symptoms in MRL.Faslpr Mice.

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College of Pharmacy, Chungbuk National University, Cheongju, 28160 Chungcheongbuk-do, Republic of Korea.
Corestem Inc., Seongnam, 13486 Gyeonggi-do, Republic of Korea.
Hanyang University Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, Seoul 04763, Republic of Korea.


The combination of immunosuppressants and mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) is a promising therapeutic strategy for systemic lupus erythematosus, since this approach reduces doses of immunosuppressants while maintaining the same therapeutic outcome. However, it is unavoidable for MSCs to be exposed to immunosuppressants. Here, we examined the combination effect of prednisone (PD) or mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) and MSCs. We showed that PD or MMF in combination with MSCs showed better therapeutic effect than single therapy in lupus-prone MRL.Faslpr mice, as assessed by using the following readouts: prolongation of survival, decrease in anti-dsDNA and total IgG levels in serum, decrease in cytokine gene expression in spleen cells, and decrease in inflammatory cell infiltration into the kidney. In vitro, immunosuppressants and MSCs inhibited T cell proliferation in a synergistic manner. However, immunosuppressants did not affect MSC viability and functions such as TGF-β1 and PGE2 production, migration, and immunosuppressive capacity. In summary, our study demonstrates that a combination of immunosuppressants and MSCs is a good strategy to reduce the side effects of PD and MMF without the loss of therapeutic outcome.

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