Author(s): Sommaggio R, Mez R, Costa C
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Abstract Xenotransplantation of genetically engineered porcine chondrocytes may benefit many patients who suffer cartilage defects. In this work, we sought to elucidate the molecular bases of the cellular response to xenogeneic cartilage. To this end, we isolated pig costal chondrocytes (PCC) and conducted a series of functional studies. First, we determined by flow cytometry the cell surface expression of multiple immunoregulatory proteins in resting conditions or after treatment with human TNF-alpha, IL-1alpha, or IL-1beta, which did not induce apoptosis. TNF-alpha and to a lesser extent IL-1alpha led to a marked upregulation of SLA I, VCAM-1, and ICAM-1 on PCC. SLA II and E-selectin remained undetectable in all the conditions assayed. Notably, CD86 was constitutively expressed at moderate levels, whereas CD80 and CD40 were barely detected. To assess their function, we next studied the interaction of PCC with human monoblastic U937 and Jurkat T cells. U937 cells adhered to resting and in a greater proportion to cytokine-stimulated PCC. Consistent with its expression pattern, pig VCAM-1 was key, mediating the increased adhesion after cytokine stimulation. We also conducted coculture experiments with U937 and PCC and measured the release of pig and human cytokines. Stimulated PCC secreted IL-6 and IL-8, whereas U937 secreted IL-8 in response to PCC. Finally, coculture of PCC with Jurkat in the presence of PHA led to a marked Jurkat activation as determined by the increase in IL-2 secretion. This process was dramatically reduced by blocking pig CD86. In summary, CD86 and VCAM-1 on pig chondrocytes may be important triggers of the xenogeneic cellular immune response. These molecules together with TNF could be considered potential targets for intervention in order to develop xenogeneic therapies for cartilage repair.
This article was published in Cell Transplant
and referenced in Journal of Bioengineering and Bioelectronics