Cell-Based Regenerative Therapies: Role of Major Histocompatibility Complex-1 Antigen

  • Alejandra Negro
  • Cynthia St. Hilaire
  • Manfred Boehm
Part of the Stem Cells and Cancer Stem Cells book series (STEM, volume 3)


Stem cell-based therapies hold promise for the treatment of various human diseases and disorders but also face hurdles that must be overcome to ensure their therapeutic success. Key issues determining the long-term outcome of stem cell therapies include improvements in the survival, engraftment, proliferation, and regeneration of transplanted cells. Although stem cells possess extensive replicative capacity and pluripotency that can be exploited for therapeutic use (Carpenter et al., 2009), immune rejection of donor cells by the host immune system post-transplantation is one of the most serious obstacles that must be cleared (Chidgey and Boyd, 2008). The majority of donor cell death occurs in the first hours to days after transplantation due to a combination of factors, including lack of matrix support to promote cell survival, exposure of transplanted cells to hypoxia/ischemia in host environment, and immune system-mediated cell death (Robey et al., 2008). Recent data have provided valuable insights as to why a majority of donor stem cells die in vivo, a phenomena that limits the efficacy and therapeutic potential of stem cell-based therapies. The expression of the major histocompatibility complex class I (MHC-I) molecules by donor stem cells has emerged as a key factor in determining whether or not a cell is targeted for host immune-mediated destruction post-transplantation (Bix et al., 1991) (Ma et al., 2010). The expression level of MHC-I not only depends on the source of the stem cells, such as embryonic versus adult stem cell populations, but also on the degree to which the cells have been manipulated prior to transplantation into host (Chidgey and Boyd, 2008). Such variation in MHC-I expression will influence the survival and engraftment potential post-transplantiation. Determining the mechanisms regulating donor graft tolerance by the host will be crucial for advancing the clinical application of stem cell-based therapies.


Stem cell therapies Transplantation Cell culture techniques MHC-I Embryonic stem cells Interferon-γ 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alejandra Negro
    • 1
  • Cynthia St. Hilaire
    • 1
  • Manfred Boehm
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Molecular Medicine, National Heart, Lung, and Blood InstituteBethesdaUSA

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