Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 358, Issue 2, pp 503–514 | Cite as

CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells are not required for mesenchymal stem cell function in fully MHC-mismatched mouse cardiac transplantation

  • Xiaofeng JiangEmail author
  • Chen Liu
  • Jianpeng Hao
  • Dawei Guo
  • Jinshuai Guo
  • Junchao Yao
  • Kun Jiang
  • Zheming Cui
  • Lei Zhu
  • Wenyu Sun
  • Lin Lin
  • Jian Liang


Although the immunomodulative properties of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) open up attractive possibilities in solid-organ transplantation, information concerning the optimal dose, route, timing of administration, major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-restriction and relevant mechanisms is currently lacking. Therefore, better characterization of MSC immunoregulatory activity and elucidation of its mechanisms are crucial. In this study, we confirmed that MSCs did not elicit proliferation by allogeneic CD4+ T cells, suggesting that MSCs were not immunogenic. By using C57BL/6 mouse MSCs as donor-derived or recipient-derived or as third-party MSCs, we discovered that MSCs suppressed CD4+ T cell proliferation and prolonged mouse cardiac allograft survival in a dose-dependent and non-MHC-restricted manner. We also found that intraperitoneal administration favored survival prolongation, although this prolongation was weaker than that via the intravenous route. Only infusion at earlier time points favored survival prolongation. Depletion of CD4+CD25+ T cells did not affect the immunosuppression of MSCs on CD4+ T cells. Moreover, MSCs did not induce regulatory T cells. The in vivo data revealed that MSCs did not increase the percentage of CD4+CD25+ T cells and FoxP3 expression. More importantly, we demonstrated for the first time that depletion of CD4+CD25+ T cells did not hinder MSC-induced survival prolongation, indicating that CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells were not essential for the prolongation of MSC-mediated allograft survival.


Mesenchymal stem cells Immunosuppression CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells MHC-mismatch Mouse heart transplantation 



Bone marrow


Cytotoxic T lymphocyte


Fluorescence-activated cell sorter


Fetal calf serum


Forkhead/winged helix transcription factor






Graft versus host disease


Monoclonal antibody


Magnetic-activated cell sorting


Major histocompatibility complex


Mixed lymphocyte reaction


Mesenchymal stem cells


Natural killer


Phosphate-buffered saline


Reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction


Standard deviation


CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells





This work was supported by grants from the Project Sponsored by the Scientific Research Foundation for Returned Overseas Chinese Scholars, State Education Ministry (Project-sponsored by SRF for ROCS, SEM), China (no. 2008890) and from The Educational Department of Liaoning Province, China (no. 2008824). The funders had no role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no competing interests.

Author Contributions

The experiments were conceived and designed by X.J. and C.L. The experiments were performed by J.H., D.G., J.G., J.Y., K.J., Z.C., L.Z. and L.L. The data were analyzed by J.H., W.S. and J.Y. Reagents/materials/analysis tools were contributed by D.G. and J.L. The manuscript was written by X.J., J.H. and D.G.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiaofeng Jiang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Chen Liu
    • 2
  • Jianpeng Hao
    • 1
  • Dawei Guo
    • 1
  • Jinshuai Guo
    • 1
  • Junchao Yao
    • 1
  • Kun Jiang
    • 1
  • Zheming Cui
    • 1
  • Lei Zhu
    • 1
  • Wenyu Sun
    • 1
  • Lin Lin
    • 1
  • Jian Liang
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Surgery, The Fourth Affiliated HospitalChina Medical UniversityShenyangPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Department of Biliary Surgery, Eastern Hepatobiliary Surgery HospitalThe Second Military Medical UniversityShanghaiPeople’s Republic of China

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