* To whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received May 17, 2017; Revision received July 20, 2017
Multipotent mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) are widely used for cell therapy, in particular for prophylaxis and treatment of graft-versus-host disease. Due to their immunomodulatory properties, MSCs affect the composition of lymphocyte subpopulations, which depends on the immunological state of the organism and can change in different diseases and during treatment. Administration of MSCs is not always effective. Treatment of MSCs with different cytokines (in particular IFN-γ) leads to enhancement of their immunomodulatory properties. The aim of this study was to investigate subpopulational alterations and activation markers in lymphocytes (activated and non-activated) after interaction with MSCs and MSCs pretreated with IFN-γ (γMSCs) in vitro. Lymphocytes were co-cultured with MSCs or γMSCs for 4 days. The proportion of CD4+ and CD8+ expressing CD25, CD38, CD69, HLA-DR, and PD-1 and distribution of memory and effector subsets were measured by flow cytometry after co-cultivation of lymphocytes with MSCs or γMSCs. The distribution of lymphocyte subpopulations changes during culturing. In non-activated lymphocytes cultured without MSCs, decrease in the proportion of naïve cells and increase in the number of effector cells was observed. That could be explained as activation of lymphocytes in the presence of serum in culturing medium. Co-culturing of lymphocytes with MSCs and γMSCs leads to retention of their non-activated state. Activation of lymphocytes with phytohemagglutinin increases the number of central memory cells and activates marker expression. Interaction with MSCs and γMSCs prevents activation of lymphocytes and keeps their naïve state. Priming with IFN-γ did not induce MSCs inhibitory effect on activation of lymphocytes.
KEY WORDS: mesenchymal stromal cells, immunosuppression, cell therapy, activation of lymphocytes