of Parent R01 Award (EY024602) Renowned for promoting tissue regeneration and immune quiescence, studies have demonstrated the therapeutic potential of MSCs in human disease. Nevertheless, fundamental questions remain unanswered regarding their immunomodulatory mechanisms. This proposal employs a well-characterized transplant model of the murine cornea to systematically investigate how MSCs directly interact with T cells to suppress alloimmunity. Over recent years the work of several laboratories, including our own, has made substantial progress in understanding how MSCs regulate ocular inflammation. With respect to corneal transplantation, we and others have shown that exogenous administration of MSCs suppresses alloimmunity and promotes graft survival. Reports from our lab provide evidence that MSCs: (i) specifically home to the ocular surface following corneal transplantation, where they act to (ii) limit antigen-presenting cell (APC) maturation, and (iii) decrease graft-destroying IFN? + T helper-1 (Th1) cell responses. Moreover, our preliminary data and reports from other groups indicate that administration of MSCs following transplantation induces Foxp3+ regulatory T cells (Tregs). Despite these observations, the exact mechanisms by which MSCs suppress Th1 generation and induce Tregs are not known. Our preliminary investigations indicate that, in addition to indirect modulation via APCs, MSCs exert a direct immunomodulatory effect on alloreactive T cells. We define 3 specific aims to answer the following questions:
Aim 1 : What are the mechanisms by which MSCs inhibit generation of alloreactive Th1 cells? Aim 2: What are the mechanisms by which MSCs inhibit effector function of alloreactive Th1 cells? And finally Aim 3: How do MSCs promote the generation of tolerance- inducing Tregs? Our preliminary data implicate specific soluble and surface-bound immunoregulatory molecules. Based on these data, we propose 3 hypotheses: (1) MSCs negatively regulate early T cell activation via the surface-bound molecule ALCAM, resulting in decreased generation of Th1 cells; (2) MSC- secreted IL11 suppresses Th1 function by antagonizing IFN? and Tbet expression; and (3) MSCs skew the differentiation of nave T cells toward Foxp3+ Tregs via CD80/CTLA-4 interaction. Principal objective of this project is to define the molecular mechanism by which MSCs interact with T cells to regulate alloimmunity. In this proposed supplement, we plan to apply our understanding of the immunomodulatory and cytoprotective functions of MSCs to promote the survival of ocular cells following nitrogen mustard exposure. In the parent grant, we investigate how MSCs suppress ocular inflammation in a model of adaptive immunity. Here, we will investigate whether MSCs or their secreted immunoregulatory and growth factors provide similar protective functions following vesicant-induced injury.

Public Health Relevance

The tremendous promise of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to regulate inflammation and promote tissue repair is evident in corneal inflammatory conditions. In the parent R01 award, we proposed to determine the cellular and molecular interactions by which MSCs modulate immunity in corneal transplantation, anticipating that improved understanding of these mechanisms will yield therapeutic targets that could be useful not only in tissue grafting but in a wide variety of inflammatory and autoimmune disorders. In the current supplement, we propose new experiments to understand the protective functions of MSCs against vesicant-induced ocular injuries. We will apply our knowledge and understanding of immunomodulatory mechanisms of MSCs and its secreted factors in a new pathological setting of sulfur mustard injuries.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Eye Institute (NEI)
Research Project (R01)
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Mckie, George Ann
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Schepens Eye Research Institute
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Foulsham, William; Coco, Giulia; Amouzegar, Afsaneh et al. (2018) When Clarity Is Crucial: Regulating Ocular Surface Immunity. Trends Immunol 39:288-301
Mittal, Sharad K; Mashaghi, Alireza; Amouzegar, Afsaneh et al. (2018) Mesenchymal Stromal Cells Inhibit Neutrophil Effector Functions in a Murine Model of Ocular Inflammation. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 59:1191-1198
Mashaghi, Alireza; Hong, Jiaxu; Chauhan, Sunil K et al. (2017) Ageing and ocular surface immunity. Br J Ophthalmol 101:1-5
Amouzegar, Afsaneh; Chauhan, Sunil K (2017) Effector and Regulatory T Cell Trafficking in Corneal Allograft Rejection. Mediators Inflamm 2017:8670280
Omoto, Masahiro; Suri, Kunal; Amouzegar, Afsaneh et al. (2017) Hepatocyte Growth Factor Suppresses Inflammation and Promotes Epithelium Repair in Corneal Injury. Mol Ther 25:1881-1888
Dohlman, Thomas H; Ding, Julia; Dana, Reza et al. (2017) T Cell-Derived Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor Contributes to Dry Eye Disease Pathogenesis by Promoting CD11b+ Myeloid Cell Maturation and Migration. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 58:1330-1336
Ji, Y W; Mittal, S K; Hwang, H S et al. (2017) Lacrimal gland-derived IL-22 regulates IL-17-mediated ocular mucosal inflammation. Mucosal Immunol 10:1202-1210
Amouzegar, Afsaneh; Mittal, Sharad K; Sahu, Anuradha et al. (2017) Mesenchymal Stem Cells Modulate Differentiation of Myeloid Progenitor Cells During Inflammation. Stem Cells 35:1532-1541
Mittal, Sharad K; Omoto, Masahiro; Amouzegar, Afsaneh et al. (2016) Restoration of Corneal Transparency by Mesenchymal Stem Cells. Stem Cell Reports 7:583-590
Amouzegar, Afsaneh; Chauhan, Sunil K; Dana, Reza (2016) Alloimmunity and Tolerance in Corneal Transplantation. J Immunol 196:3983-91

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