Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) exhibit immunosuppressive capabilities, which have evoked interest in their application as cell therapy in transplant patients. So far it has been unclear whether allogeneic MSCs and host regulatory T-cells (Tregs) functionally influence each other. We investigated the interaction between both cell types using perirenal adipose tissue-derived MSCs (ASCs) from kidney donors and Tregs from blood bank donors or kidney recipients 6 months after transplantation. The immunomodulatory capacity of ASCs was not prejudiced by both Tregs from healthy donors and Tregs from graft recipients, indicating that ASCs were not targeted by the inhibitory effects of Tregs and vice versa. In addition, Tregs supported ASC function, as they did not alter the secretion of IFN-γ by immune cells and hence contributed to ASC activation and efficiency. ASCs exerted their suppressive role by expressing IDO, reducing levels of TNF-α, and by inducing the production of IL-10 in effector cells and Tregs. In conclusion, this study presents evidence that donor ASCs and acceptor Tregs do not impair each other's function and therefore encourages the use of MSC therapy for the prevention of graft rejection in solid organ transplantation.

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Keywords Immunosuppression, Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), Regulatory T-cells (Tregs), Transplantation
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Journal Cell Transplantation: the regenerative medicine journal
Engela, A.U, Baan, C.C, Peeters, A, Weimar, W, & Hoogduijn, M.J. (2013). Interaction between adipose tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells and regulatory T-cells. Cell Transplantation: the regenerative medicine journal, 22(1), 41–54. doi:10.3727/096368912X636984