Directional delivery of RSPO1 by mesenchymal stem cells ameliorates radiation-induced intestinal injury

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Radiation-induced intestinal injury (RIII) commonly occurs in patients who received radiotherapy for pelvic or abdominal cancer, or who suffered from whole-body irradiation during a nuclear accident. RIII can lead to intestinal disorders and even death given its integrity damage that results from intestinal stem cell (ISC) loss. Recovery from RIII relies on the intensity of supportive treatment, which can attenuate lethal infection and give surviving stem cells an opportunity to regenerate. It has been reported that RSPO1 is a cytokine with potent and specific proliferative effects on intestinal crypt cells. MSCs have multiple RIII-healing effects, including anti-inflammatory and anti-irradiation injury properties, due to its negative immune regulation and its homing ability to the damaged intestinal epithelia. To combine the comprehensive anti-injury potential of MSCs, and the potent ability of RSPO1 as a mitogenic factor for ISCs, we constructed RSPO1-modified C3H10 T1/2 cells and expected that RSPO1, the ISC-proliferative cytokine, could be delivered to the site of injury in a targeted manner. In this study, we transferred C3H10/RSPO1 intravenously via the retro-orbital sinus into mice suffering from abdominal irradiation at lethal dosages. Our findings demonstrated that C3H10/RSPO1 cells are able to directionally migrate to the injury site; enhance ISC survival, proliferation, and differentiation; and effectively repair the radiation-damaged intestinal epithelial cells. This study suggests that the directional delivery of RSPO1 by MSCs is a promising strategy to ameliorate, and even cure, RIII.

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