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Bone Marrow Transfer in Relapsing-Remitting EAE Ameliorates Disease at First Remission, with No Synergistic Effect upon Co-Transplantation with Mesenchymal Stem Cells

Ferrara, G;Ivaldi, F;Mancardi, G;Kerlero de Rosbo, N;Uccelli, A;

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurological disorder characterized by an autoimmune response, demyelinating plaques and axonal damage. Intense immunosuppression (II) followed by autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation has been proposed as a treatment in severe forms of MS. We have used murine relapsing-remitting (RR) experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (RR-EAE) to evaluate the transplantation of syngeneic bone marrow cells (BMC) after II, in combination with mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) as a new therapeutic adjunct capable of improving immune reconstitution. In EAE-affected mice treated with BMC alone, we observed a drastic reduction in the clinical course only during the early RR phase of the disease. There was no difference in the RR-EAE clinical course between mice treated with BMC alone and co-transplanted mice. To analyze the immune reconstitution, we quantified the circulating immune cells in naïve and RR-EAE-affected mice after II, with BMC alone or in combination with MSC. Although II resulted in reduced numbers of circulating immune cells, reconstitution did not differ in co-transplanted mice. During the early phase of the disease, IL-4 was significantly elevated in co-transplanted mice, as compared to those treated with BMC alone. These data suggest that BMC transplantation after II transiently ameliorates the clinical symptoms of RR-EAE, but that co-transplantation with MSC has no synergistic effect.