Intralesional Injection of Mouse Mesenchymal Stem Cells Reduces IL-10 Production and Parasite Burden in L. major Infected BALB/c Mice

Document Type : Original Article


Department of Immunology, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran


Objective: Leishmaniasis is of public health problems, especially in endemic areas. The activation of macrophages, as the main host of leishmania and promotion of the TH1 immune responses, are the main goal of im-munotherapy methods. Recently, the immunomodulatory role of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in infectious disease has been considered. Different in vitro studies demonstrated the immunostimulatory effect of MSCs on macrophages in response to L.major. In this study, the effect of MSCs on cutaneous leishmaniasis in BALB/c mice was assessed.
Materials and Methods: To do this experimental research, BALB/c mice infected with L. major that was followed by multiple subcutaneous injections of MSCs at infection site at different intervals. Footpad thickness, spleen parasite burden, lymph node, and spleen cytokine production were measured to determine the efficacy of cell therapy.
Results: Significant (P<0.05) reduction in footpad thickness and delayed wound formation was observed in MSCs treated group. The spleen of the MSCs-treated group indicated a two-fold reduction in parasite burden compared with non-treated infected mice. In addition, nitric oxide (NO), interleukin-10 (IL-10), and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) production of lymph node isolated cells and splenocytes changed to the benefit of macrophage activation in response to L. major in MSCs treated group. A two-fold increase in interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) production in the lymph node was determined in the MSCs-treated group.
Conclusion: Although MSCs therapy could not clear the parasite, the results confirm the ability of MSCs to enhance
immune responses against leishmania by induction of inflammatory responses and slowing down the spread of parasites. However, further studies needed to improve the efficacy of this method and provide a therapeutic protocol.