BACKGROUND: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a debilitating and painful disease leading to increased morbidity and mortality and novel therapeutic approaches are needed. The purpose of this study was to elucidate if mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) injected in the joints of mice with arthritis are therapeutic, reducing joint swelling and cartilage destruction.
METHODS: Murine mesenchymal stem cells (mMSCs) were isolated from bone marrow of C57Bl/6 mice and expanded in culture. Cells were tested for immunophenotype and their ability to form colonies and to differentiate into chondrocytes, osteocytes and adipocytes. Antigen-induced arthritis (AIA) was induced by intra-articular injection of methylated bovine serum albumin into the knee joints of preimmunized C57Bl/6 mice. After one day, when peak swelling occurs, 500,000 mMSCs labelled with red fluorescent cell tracker CM-DiI were injected intra-articularly in the right knee joint. Left knee joints were treated as controls by receiving PBS injections. Differences between groups were calculated by Mann Whitney U test or unpaired t tests using GraphPad Prism software version 5.\nRead More