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Regen Ther. 2017 Nov 11;7:82-88. doi: 10.1016/j.reth.2017.10.001. eCollection 2017 Dec.

Possibility of inhibiting arthritis and joint destruction by SSEA-3 positive cells derived from synovial tissue in rheumatoid arthritis.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Hirosaki University Graduate School of Medicine, Hirosaki, Japan.
Department of Pathology, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan.
Department of Pathology, Hirosaki University Graduate School of Medicine, Hirosaki, Japan.



Joint destruction progresses irreversibly once they occur in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), even with the recent development of anti-rheumatic drugs. Cells positive for stage-specific embryonic antigen-3 (SSEA-3), a marker of human embryonic stem cell, act as stem cells in the blood. The aim of this study is to investigate the effectiveness of SSEA-3 positive cells for the treatment for RA.


Synovial tissues were harvested at the time of joint surgery in RA patients. Cultured synovial cells were sorted by anti-SSEA-3 antibody using flow cytometry and were analyzed in in vitro. To investigate inhibitory effects on arthritis by SSEA-3 positive cells, collagen antibody-induced arthritis (CAIA) mice were used and transplanted with labeled cells intravenously.


Presence of SSEA-3 positive cells was confirmed with approximately 1% in RA synovial cells. SSEA-3 positive cells were negative for CD34 and positive for CD44, CD90 and CD105. Multipotency of SSEA-3 positive cells was higher than that of SSEA-3 negative cells. Arthritis of the group transplanted with SSEA-3 positive cells in CAIA mice decreased over time.


SSEA-3 positive cells derived from RA synovial tissue might have the inhibitory effect on arthritis and would be one of cell source for new RA treatment.


Joint destruction; Rheumatoid arthritis; SSEA-3; Synovial tissue

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