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Characterisation of mesenchymal stem cells from patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis


Aims Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have recently been tested in clinical trials to treat severe diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Since autologous MSCs are frequently used for therapy, we aimed to evaluate the possible influence of the disease on characteristics and function of these cells.

Methods MSCs were isolated from the bone marrow of patients with ALS and compared with MSCs from healthy controls (HC). The cells were tested for phenotype, growth properties, differentiation ability, metabolic activity, secretory potential, expression of genes for immunomodulatory molecules and for the ability to regulate proliferation of mitogen-stimulated peripheral blood leucocytes. MSCs from patients with ALS and HC were either unstimulated or treated with proinflammatory cytokines for 24 hours before testing.

Results MSCs isolated from patients with ALS have a higher differentiation potential into adipocytes, express elevated levels of mRNA for interleukin-6, but produce less hepatocyte growth factor than MSCs from HC. On the other hand, there were no significant differences between MSCs from patients with ALS and HC in the expression of phenotypic markers, growth properties, metabolic activity, osteogenic differentiation potential and immunoregulatory properties.

Conclusions The results suggest that, in spite of some differences in cytokine production, MSCs from patients with ALS can be useful as autologous cells in therapy of ALS.

  • stem cell transplants
  • immunopathology
  • neurodegeneration

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