Subconjunctival administration of low-dose murine allogeneic mesenchymal stromal cells promotes corneal allograft survival in mice
Ryan, Aideen E.
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Treacy, Oliver, Lynch, Kevin, Murphy, Nick, Chen, Xizhe, Donohoe, Ellen, Canning, Aoife, Lohan, Paul Shaw, Georgina, Fahy, Gerry, Ryan, Aideen E., Ritter, Thomas. (2021). Subconjunctival administration of low-dose murine allogeneic mesenchymal stromal cells promotes corneal allograft survival in mice. Stem Cell Research & Therapy, 12(1), 227. doi:10.1186/s13287-021-02293-x
Systemic administration of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) has been efficacious in many inflammatory disease settings; however, little data are available on the potential immunomodulatory effects following local MSC administration in the context of corneal transplantation. The purpose of this study was to assess the potential of subconjunctival injection of MSCs to promote corneal allograft survival. MSCs were isolated from female C57BL/6 (H-2k) or Balb/c (H-2d) mice and extensively characterized. An allogeneic mouse corneal transplant model was used with Balb/c mice as recipients of C57BL/6 grafts. A dose-finding study starting with 5¿×¿105 MSCs injected subconjunctivally at day -¿7 was tested first followed by a more clinically translatable low-dose single or dual injection strategy on day -¿1 and day +¿1 before/after transplantation. Graft transparency served as the primary indicator of transplant rejection while neovascularization was also recorded. Lymphocytes (from draining lymph nodes) and splenocytes were isolated from treatment groups on day 2 post-transplantation and characterized by flow cytometry and qRT-PCR. Both high- and low-dose injection of allogeneic MSCs on day -¿7 led to 100% graft survival over the observation period. Moreover, low-dose dual subconjunctival injection of 5¿×¿104 allogeneic MSCs on day -¿1 or day +¿1 led to 100% allograft survival in transplant recipients (n¿=¿7). We also demonstrate that single administration of allogeneic MSCs on either day -¿1 or day +¿1 promotes rejection-free graft survival in 100% (n¿=¿8) and 86% (n¿=¿7) of transplanted mice, respectively. Early time point ex vivo analysis suggests modulation of innate immune responses towards anti-inflammatory, pro-repair responses by local MSC administration. This work demonstrates that low-dose subconjunctival injection of allogeneic MSCs successfully promotes corneal allograft survival and may contribute to refining future MSC immunotherapies for prevention of corneal allograft rejection.