Remission of Collagen-Induced Arthritis through Combination Therapy of Microfracture and Transplantation of Thermogel-Encapsulated Bone Marrow Mesenchymal Stem Cells

>The persistent inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) always leads to partial synovial hyperplasia and the destruction of articular cartilage. Bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BMMSCs) have been proven to possess immunosuppressive effects, and widely explored in the treatment of autoimmune diseases. However, poor inhibitory effect on local inflammatory state and limited capacity of preventing destruction of articular cartilage by systemic BMMSCs transplantation were observed. Herein, toward the classical type II collagen-induced arthritis in rats, the combination treatment of microfracture and in situ transplantation of thermogel-encapsulated BMMSCs was verified to obviously down-regulate the ratio of CD4+ to CD8+ T lymphocytes in peripheral blood. In addition, it resulted in the decreased levels of inflammatory cytokines, such as interleukin-1β, tumor necrosis factor-α and anti-collagen type II antibody, in the serum. Simultaneously, the combination therapy also could inhibit the proliferation of antigen specific lymphocytes and local joint inflammatory condition, and prevent the articular cartilage damage. The results indicated that the treatment programs could effectively stimulate the endogenous and exogenous BMMSCs to exhibit the immunosuppression and cartilage protection capability. This study provided a new therapeutic strategy for autoimmune inflammatory diseases, such as RA.

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