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A comparison of adipose and bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal cell secreted factors in the treatment of systemic inflammation

Jessica S Elman1, Matthew Li2, Fangjing Wang1, Jeffrey M Gimble3 and Biju Parekkadan14*

Author Affiliations

1 Center for Engineering in Medicine and Surgical Services, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School and Shriners Hospital for Children in Boston, Boston, MA 02114, USA

2 Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA

3 Stem Cell Biology Laboratory, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70808, USA

4 Harvard Stem Cell Institute, Boston, MA 02115, USA

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Journal of Inflammation 2014, 11:1  doi:10.1186/1476-9255-11-1

Published: 7 January 2014



Bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (BMSCs) are a cell population of intense exploration for therapeutic use in inflammatory diseases. Secreted factors released by BMSCs are responsible for the resolution of inflammation in several pre-clinical models. New studies have uncovered that adipose tissue also serves as a reservoir of multipotent, non-hematopoietic stem cells, termed adipose-derived stromal/stem cells (ASCs), with many common characteristics to BMSCs. We hypothesized that ASC and BMSC secreted factors would lead to a comparable benefit in the context of generalized inflammation.


Proteomic profiling of conditioned media revealed that BMSCs express significantly higher levels of sVEGFR1 and sTNFR1, two soluble cytokine receptors with known therapeutic activity in sepsis. In a prophylactic study of endotoxin-induced inflammation in mice, we observed that BMSC secreted factors provided a greater survival benefit and tissue protection of endotoxemic mice compared to ASCs. Neutralization of sVEGFR1 and sTNFR1 did not significantly affect the survival benefit experienced by mice treated with BMSC secreted factors.


Our findings suggest that BMSCs may be more effective as a cell therapeutic for use in endotoxic shock and that ASCs may be positioned for continued exploration in immunomodulatory diseases. Soluble cytokine receptors can distinguish stromal cells from different tissue origins, though they may not be the sole contributors to the therapeutic benefit of BMSCs. Furthermore, other secreted factors not discussed in this study may also differentiate these stromal cell populations from one another.

Soluble receptors; Mesenchymal stem cells; Adipose stem cells; Endotoxic shock; Tissue necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α); Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)