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Human adult stem cells derived from adipose tissue protect against experimental colitis and sepsis
  1. E Gonzalez-Rey1,
  2. P Anderson2,
  3. M A González3,
  4. L Rico4,
  5. D Büscher4,
  6. M Delgado2
  1. 1
    School of Medicine, University of Seville, Seville, Spain
  2. 2
    Instituto de Parasitología y Biomedicina-CSIC, Granada, Spain
  3. 3
    Fundación Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares Carlos III (CNIC), Madrid, Spain
  4. 4
    Cellerix SA, Tres Cantos, Madrid, Spain
  1. Dr M Delgado, Instituto de Parasitología y Biomedicina-CSIC, Avda Conocimiento, PT Ciencias de la Salud, Granada 18100, Spain; mdelgado{at}


Background and aims: Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) are associated with uncontrolled innate and adaptive immunity against normal constituents, including commensal bacteria and microbial products. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) suppress effector T cell responses and have beneficial effects in various immune disorders. This work investigates the therapeutic effects of human adipose-derived MSCs (hASCs) in various models of IBD and sepsis.

Methods: Acute and chronic colitis was induced in mice with dextran sulfate sodium. Sepsis was induced by caecal ligation and puncture or by endotoxin injection. Colitic and septic mice were treated intraperitoneally with hASCs or murine ASCs, and diverse disease clinical signs and mortality were determined. The levels of various inflammatory cytokines and chemokines, T helper 1(Th1)-type response and generation of regulatory T cells (Treg) were determined in affected organs.

Results: Systemic infusion of ASCs significantly ameliorated the clinical and histopathological severity of colitis, abrogating weight loss, diarrhoea and inflammation, and increasing survival. The therapeutic effect was associated with downregulation of the Th1-driven inflammatory responses. ASCs decreased a wide panel of inflammatory cytokines and chemokines and increased interleuklin 10 (IL10), acting on macrophages. hASCs also impaired Th1 cell activation in both colonic mucosa and draining lymph nodes. The induction of IL10-secreting Treg was partially involved in the therapeutic effect of hASCs. Moreover, ASCs protected from severe sepsis by reducing the infiltration of inflammatory cells in various target organs and by downregulating the production of various inflammatory mediators.

Conclusions: hASCs emerge as key regulators of immune/inflammatory responses in vivo and as attractive candidates for cell-based treatments for IBD and sepsis.

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  • See Commentary, p 898

  • Competing interests: Declared (the declaration can be viewed on the Gut website at Additional methods, figures and a table are published online only at

  • Funding: This work was supported by Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and Science (PETRI), RETICS, Cellerix SA and Junta de Andalucia. DB had been the recipient of a Marie Curie International Integration Grant.

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