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Apoptosis in mesenchymal stromal cells activates an immunosuppressive secretome predicting clinical response in Crohn's disease.
journal contributionposted on 2023-12-07, 11:38 authored by Tik Shing Cheung, Chiara Giacomini, Matteo Cereda, Alvaro Avivar-Valderas, Daria Capece, Giuliana Minani Bertolino, Olga delaRosa, Ryan Hicks, Rachele Ciccocioppo, Guido Franzoso, Antonio Galleu, Francesca D Ciccarelli, Francesco Dazzi
In vivo apoptosis of human mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) plays a critical role in delivering immunomodulation. Yet, caspase activity not only mediates the dying process but also death-independent functions that may shape the immunogenicity of apoptotic cells. Therefore, a better characterization of the immunological profile of apoptotic MSCs (ApoMSCs) could shed light on their mechanistic action and therapeutic applications. We analyzed the transcriptomes of MSCs undergoing apoptosis and identified several immunomodulatory factors and chemokines dependent on caspase activation following Fas stimulation. The ApoMSC secretome inhibited human T cell proliferation and activation, and chemoattracted monocytes in vitro. Both immunomodulatory activities were dependent on the cyclooxygenase2 (COX2)/prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) axis. To assess the clinical relevance of ApoMSC signature, we used the peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from a cohort of fistulizing Crohn's Disease (CD) patients who had undergone MSC treatment (ADMIRE-CD). Compared to healthy donors, MSCs exposed to patients' PBMCs underwent apoptosis and released PGE2 in a caspase-dependent manner. Both PGE2 and apoptosis were significantly associated with clinical responses to MSCs. Our findings identify a new mechanism whereby caspase activation delivers ApoMSC immunosuppression. Remarkably, such molecular signatures could implicate translational tools for predicting patients' clinical responses to MSC therapy in CD.