Sci Rep. 2014 Apr 10;4:4645.

Performance-enhanced mesenchymal stem cells via intracellular delivery of steroids.

Ankrum JA1, Dastidar RG2, Ong JF2, Levy O2, Karp JM3.

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Inadequate immunomodulatory potency of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) may limit their therapeutic efficacy. We report glucocorticoid steroids augment MSC expression and activity of indoleamine-2,3-dioxygenase (IDO), a primary mediator of MSC immunomodulatory function. This effect depends on signaling through the glucocorticoid receptor and is mediated through up-regulation of FOXO3. Treatment of MSCs with glucocorticoids, budesonide or dexamethasone, enhanced IDO expression following IFN-γ stimulation in multiple donors and was able to restore IDO expression in over-passaged MSCs. As IDO enhancement was most notable when cells were continuously exposed to budesonide, we engineered MSC with budesonide loaded PLGA microparticles. MSC efficiently internalized budesonide microparticles and exhibited 4-fold enhanced IDO activity compared to budesonide preconditioned and na?ve MSC, resulting in a 2-fold improvement in suppression of stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells in an IDO-dependent manner. Thus, the augmentation of MSC immune modulation may abrogate challenges associated with inadequate potency and enhance their therapeutic efficacy.