Immunomodulatory effects of umbilical mesenchymal stem cell-derived exosomes on CD4+ T cells in patients with primary Sjögren’s syndrome

  • Impact factors: 5.093
  • Publication: INFLAMMOPHARMACOLOGY
  • Author:Ma Dan, Wu Zewen, Zhao Xingxing, Zhu Xueqing, An Qi, Wang Yajing, Zhao Jingwen, Su Yazhen, Yang Baoqi, Xu Ke, Zhang Liyun
  • DOI citation-doi:10.1007/s10787-023-01189-x
  • Date:2023-04-03

Background Primary Sjögren’s syndrome (pSS) is an autoimmune disease that leads to the destruction of exocrine glands and multisystem lesions. Abnormal proliferation, apoptosis, and differentiation of CD4 + T cells are key factors in the pathogenesis of pSS. Autophagy is one of the important mechanisms to maintain immune homeostasis and function of CD4 + T cells. Human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cell-derived exosomes (UCMSC-Exos) may simulate the immunoregulation of MSCs while avoiding the risks of MSCs treatment. However, whether UCMSC-Exos can regulate the functions of CD4 + T cells in pSS, and whether the effects via the autophagy pathway remains unclear. Methods The study analyzed retrospectively the peripheral blood lymphocyte subsets in pSS patients, and explored the relationship between lymphocyte subsets and disease activity. Next, peripheral blood CD4 + T cells were sorted using immunomagnetic beads. The proliferation, apoptosis, differentiation, and inflammatory factors of CD4 + T cells were determined using flow cytometry. Autophagosomes of CD4 + T cells were detected using transmission electron microscopy, autophagy-related proteins and genes were detected using western blotting or RT-qPCR. Results The study demonstrated that the peripheral blood CD4 + T cells decreased in pSS patients, and negatively correlated with disease activity. UCMSC-Exos inhibited excessive proliferation and apoptosis of CD4 + T cells in pSS patients, blocked them in the G0/G1 phase, inhibited them from entering the S phase, reduced the Th17 cell ratio, elevated the Treg ratio, inhibited IFN-γ, TNF-α, IL-6, IL-17A, and IL-17F secretion, and promoted IL-10 and TGF-β secretion. UCMSC-Exos reduced the elevated autophagy levels in the peripheral blood CD4 + T cells of patients with pSS. Furthermore, UCMSC-Exos regulated CD4 + T cell proliferation and early apoptosis, inhibited Th17 cell differentiation, promoted Treg cell differentiation, and restored the Th17/Treg balance in pSS patients through the autophagy pathway. Conclusions The study indicated that UCMSC-Exos exerts an immunomodulatory effect on the CD4 + T cells, and maybe as a new treatment for pSS.

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