Increased In Vitro Intercellular Barrier Function of Lung Epithelial Cells Using Adipose-Derived Mesenchymal Stem/Stromal Cells


With the emergence of coronavirus disease-2019, researchers have gained interest in the therapeutic efficacy of mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs) in acute respiratory distress syndrome; however, the mechanisms of the therapeutic effects of MSCs are unclear. We have previously reported that adipose-derived MSCs (AD-MSCs) strengthen the barrier function of the pulmonary vessels in scaffold-based bioengineered rat lungs. In this study, we evaluated whether AD-MSCs could enhance the intercellular barrier function of lung epithelial cells in vitro using a transwell coculture system. Transepithelial electrical resistance (TEER) measurements revealed that the peak TEER value was significantly higher in the AD-MSC coculture group than in the AD-MSC non-coculture group. Similarly, the permeability coefficient was significantly decreased in the AD-MSC coculture group compared to that in the AD-MSC non-coculture group. Immunostaining of insert membranes showed that zonula occuldens-1 expression was significantly high at cell junctions in the AD-MSC coculture group. Moreover, cell junction-related gene profiling showed that the expression of some claudin genes, including claudin-4, was upregulated in the AD-MSC coculture group. Taken together, these results showed that AD-MSCs enhanced the barrier function between lung epithelial cells, suggesting that both direct adhesion and indirect paracrine effects strengthened the barrier function of lung alveolar epithelium in vitro.

Pharmaceutics, 13(8), art. no. 1264; 2021



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