ABSTRACT: Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are known to induce the conversion of activated T cells into regulatory T cells in vitro. The marker CD69 is a target of canonical nuclear factor kappa-B (NF-κB) signalling and is transiently expressed upon activation; however, stable CD69 expression defines cells with immunoregulatory properties. Given its enormous therapeutic potential, we explored the molecular mechanisms underlying the induction of regulatory cells by MSCs. Peripheral blood CD3+ T cells were activated and cultured in the presence or absence of MSCs. CD4+ cell mRNA expression was then characterized by microarray analysis. The drug BAY11-7082 (BAY) and a siRNA against v-rel reticuloendotheliosis viral oncogene homolog B (RELB) were used to explore the differential roles of canonical and non-canonical NF-κB signalling, respectively. Flow cytometry and real-time PCR were used for analyses. Genes with immunoregulatory functions, CD69 and non-canonical NF-κB subunits (RELB and NFKB2) were all expressed at higher levels in lymphocytes co-cultured with MSCs. The frequency of CD69+ cells among lymphocytes cultured alone progressively decreased after activation. In contrast, the frequency of CD69+ cells increased significantly following activation in lymphocytes co-cultured with MSCs. Inhibition of canonical NF-κB signalling by BAY immediately following activation blocked the induction of CD69; however, inhibition of canonical NF-κB signalling on the third day further induced the expression of CD69. Furthermore, late expression of CD69 was inhibited by RELB siRNA. These results indicate that the canonical NF-κB pathway controls the early expression of CD69 after activation; however, in an immunoregulatory context, late and sustained CD69 expression is promoted by the non-canonical pathway and is inhibited by canonical NF-κB signalling.
Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine 05/2012; 16(6):1232 - 1244. · 4.13 Impact Factor