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Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are multipotent progenitor cells exerting immunomodulatory effects on cells of the innate and adaptive immune system. It has been shown that an inflammatory milieu is required for the activation of MSC-mediated immunomodulation, and interferon-γ (IFN-γ) plays an important role in this process. We determined the influence of IFN-γ on human adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs) and human amniotic mesenchymal stromal cells (hAMSCs). We further evaluated the effect of MSCs on stimulated T-cells and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) in a cell-contact independent setting. On IFN-γ treatment, ASCs and hAMSCs possessed significantly higher antiproliferative properties and showed surface characteristics of nonprofessional antigen presenting cells (HLA-DR(+)CD40(med+)CD54(high)) with a possible regulatory phenotype (PD-L1(+)PD-L2(+)). The effect of ASCs and hAMSCs on cytokine secretion and T-cell activation was dependent on stimulation method and cellular context. Although ASCs and hAMSCs highly inhibited cytokine secretion of stimulated PBMCs, this was not observed in the case of purified T-cells. The presence of ASCs even favored the secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines including IFN-γ by T-cells, although T-cell proliferation was efficiently inhibited. Further, ASCs enhanced the number of CD69(+) T-cells independent of the stimuli and cellular context. Interestingly, ASCs significantly suppressed CD25 expression on phytohemagglutinin stimulated PBMCs but had no effect on αCD3/αCD28 stimulated cells. Depending on the stimulation method and cellular context, immune cells create a specific cytokine milieu in vitro, thus differently influencing MSCs and, in turn, affecting their action on immune cells.

Original publication




Journal article


Stem Cells Dev

Publication Date





2115 - 2126


Adipose Tissue, Amnion, Antigens, CD, Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte, Cell Communication, Cell Culture Techniques, Cell Proliferation, Cell Separation, Chemokines, Coculture Techniques, Dinoprostone, HLA-DR Antigens, Humans, Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1, Interferon-gamma, Lectins, C-Type, Lymphocyte Activation, Lymphocyte Count, Mesenchymal Stem Cells, Solubility, T-Lymphocytes, Up-Regulation