Bone marrow stromal cells attenuate sepsis via prostaglandin E2— dependent reprogramming of host macrophages to increase their interleukin-10 production

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Nemeth, Krisztian
Leelahavanichkul, Asada
Yuen, Peter S. T.
Mayer, Balazs
Parmelee, Alissa
Doi, Kent
Robey, Pamela G.
Leelahavanichkul, Kantima
Koller, Beverly H.
Brown, Jared

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East Carolina University


Sepsis causes over 200,000 deaths yearly in the US; better treatments are urgently needed. Administering bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs—also known as mesenchymal stem cells) to mice before or shortly after inducing sepsis by cecal ligation and puncture reduced mortality and improved organ function. The beneficial effect of BMSCs was eliminated by macrophage depletion or pretreatment with antibodies specific for interleukin-10 (IL-10) or IL-10 receptor. Monocytes and/ or macrophages from septic lungs made more IL-10 when prepared from mice treated with BMSCs versus untreated mice. Lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated macrophages produced more IL-10 when cultured with BMSCs, but this effect was eliminated if the BMSCs lacked the genes encoding Toll-like receptor 4, myeloid differentiation primary response gene-88, tumor necrosis factor (TNF) receptor-1a or cyclooxygenase-2. Our results suggest that BMSCs (activated by LPS or TNF-α) reprogram macrophages by releasing prostaglandin E2 that acts on the macrophages through the prostaglandin EP2 and EP4 receptors. Because BMSCs have been successfully given to humans and can easily be cultured and might be used without human leukocyte antigen matching, we suggest that cultured, banked human BMSCs may be effective in treating sepsis in high-risk patient groups.Sepsis, a serious medical condition that affects 18 million people per year worldwide, is characterized by a generalized inflammatory state caused by infection. Widespread activation of inflammation and coagulation pathways progresses to multiple organ dysfunction, collapse of the circulatory system (septic shock) and death. Because as many people die of sepsis annually as from acute myocardial infarction1, a new treatment regimen is desperately needed. In the last few years, it has been discovered that BMSCs are potent modulators of immune responses2-5. We wondered whether such cells could bring the immune response back into balance, thus attenuating the underlying pathophysiology that eventually leads to severe sepsis, septic shock and death6,7. As a model of sepsis, we chose cecal ligation and puncture (CLP), a procedure that has been used for more than two decades8. This mouse model closely resembles the human disease: it has a focal origin (cecum), is caused by multiple intestinal organisms, and results in septicemia with release of bacterial toxins into the circulation. With no treatment, the majority of the mice die 24-48 h postoperatively. Originally published Nature Medicine, Vol. 15, No. 1, Jan 2009



Nature Medicine; 15:1 p. 42-49