For their research, the scientist employed Wharton’s jelly extracted from human umbilical cords in full-term, health, live births. They then separated mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and then administered them to a mouse model of bleomycin-induced lung injury. The lung tissue was evaluated after the first, second, and fourth week post-bleomycin. The researchers observed that the MSCs were found to have migrated only to those areas of inflammation and fibrosis but not to healthy tissue.
The researchers found that the use of uMSCs reduced inflammation and inhibited the expression of signaling chemicals which contribute to inflammation, including a number of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Collegen concentration in the lungs was also significantly reduced by uMSC treatment. According to the researchers, uMScs, “have anti-fibrotic properties and may augment lung repair if used to treat acute respiratory distress syndrome."
In previous studies, it has been established that Mesenchymal stem cells produce a number of growth factors and have been shown to inhibit fibrosis in liver failure. Bone marrow mononuclear cells, which contain both hematopoietic stem cells and MSCs, have previously been used to treat pulmonary hypertension.
The researchers found that because uMSCs has anti-fibrotic properties and could be used to augment lung repair, and therefore might be possible to treat acute respiratory distress syndrome, inflammation and fibrosis. All of these diseases result in the loss of lung tissue, which the researchers believe could be treated by mesenchymal stem cells. These exciting new advancements in the use of stem cells could have long reaching consequences.