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Stem Cell Finding Could Help Reduce Transplant Rejection

lung-derived cells are different from MSCs derived from bone marrow in the expression of various genes, which makes us believe that they are specific to the organ they are isolated from.”

The study appears online March 8 in advance of publication in the April print issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

MSCs are widely seen as a potential source of therapies for numerous diseases and conditions, such as heart disease, cystic fibrosis, graft-versus-host disease, muscular dystrophy, and as a possible source for improved recovery of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.

Lama’s laboratory currently is working on another study involving the lung-derived MSCs that shows potential importance of these cells in lung transplantation. That study is not yet complete, but so far it indicates a very strong ability of these MSCs to suppress the immune cells that are involved in organ rejection. In addition to helping prevent organ rejection, other possible uses for the lung-derived MSCs could be therapies related to heart attack and pulmonary fibrosis, Lama says.

MSCs are termed progenitor cells; that is, they can differentiate into only limited number of cell types such as bone, cartilage and fat cells. However, previous laboratory studies have demonstrated the beneficial effect of these cells in various diseases, such as models of heart attacks and pulmonary fibrosis.

The current study of MSCs included 172 bronchoalveolar lavage fluid samples collected and analyzed from 76 lung transplant recipients at the U-M Health System. The ability to isolate these cells with relative ease from lavage fluid is a very significant finding as it provides a potential source to isolate MSCs, says Victor J. Thannickal, M.D., associate professor of Internal Medicine in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and senior author on this study. “The specific roles of these cells in chronic lung diseases are yet to
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