The transplantation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) has been reported to be a promising approach in the treatment of acute lung injury. However, the poor efficacy of transplanted MSCs is one of the serious handicaps in the progress of MSC-based therapy. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate whether the pretreatment of human embryonic MSCs (hMSCs) with an antioxidant, namely N-acetylcysteine (NAC), can improve the efficacy of hMSC transplantation in lung injury.Methods:
In vitro, the antioxidant capacity of NAC-pretreated hMSCs was assessed using intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) and glutathione assays and cell adhesion and spreading assays. In vivo, the therapeutic potential of NAC-pretreated hMSCs was assessed in a bleomycin-induced model of lung injury in nude mice.Results:
The pretreatment of hMSCs with NAC improved antioxidant capacity to defend against redox imbalances through the elimination of cellular ROS, increasing cellular glutathione levels, and the enhancement of cell adhesion and spreading when exposed to oxidative stresses in vitro. In addition, the administration of NAC-pretreated hMSCs to nude mice with bleomycin-induced lung injury decreased the pathological grade of lung inflammation and fibrosis, hydroxyproline content and numbers of neutrophils and inflammatory cytokines in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and apoptotic cells, while enhancing the retention and proliferation of hMSCs in injured lung tissue and improving the survival rate of mice compared with results from untreated hMSCs.Conclusions:
The pretreatment of hMSCs with NAC could be a promising therapeutic approach to improving cell transplantation and, therefore, the treatment of lung injury.