Mesenchymal stem cells as a vector for the inflammatory prostate microenvironment
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have an inherent tropism for sites of inflammation, which are frequently present in sites of cancer, including prostatic lesions. MSCs have been defined as CD73/CD90/CD105 triple-positive cells in the absence of hematopoietic lineage markers with the ability to differentiate into multiple mesodermal lineages, including osteoblasts, adipocytes, and chondrocytes. Our group has previously demonstrated that MSCs represent between 0.01 and 1.1% of the total cells present in human prostatectomy tissue. In addition to their multi-lineage differentiation potential, MSCs are immunoprivileged in nature and have a range of immunomodulatory effects on both the innate and adaptive arms of the immune system. MSCs have been detected in an increasing array of tissues, and evidence suggests that they are likely present in perivascular niches throughout the body. These observations suggest that MSCs represent critical mediators of the overall immune response during physiological homeostasis and likely contribute to pathophysiological conditions as well. Chronic inflammation has been suggested as an initiating event and progression factor in prostate carcinogenesis, a process in which the immunosuppressive properties of MSCs may play a role. MSCs have also been shown to influence malignant progression through a variety of other mechanisms, including effects on tumor proliferation, angiogenesis, survival, and metastasis. Additionally, human bone marrow-derived MSCs have been shown to traffic to human prostate cancer xenografts in immunocompromised murine hosts. The trafficking properties and immunoprivileged status of MSCs suggest that they can be exploited as an allogeneic cell-based vector to deliver cytotoxic or diagnostic agents for therapy.