Exp Cell Res 318:196 (2012)

Toll-like receptors 2 and 4 mediate the capacity of mesenchymal stromal cells to support the proliferation and differentiation of CD34⁺ cells.

Wang X1, Cheng Q, Li L, Wang J, Xia L, Xu X, Sun Z.


Bone marrow derived-mesenchymal stromal cells (BM-MSCs) are multipotent, nonhematopoietic progenitors in a hematopoietic microenvironment and indispensable for regulating hematopoiesis. Several studies have reported that toll-like receptors (TLRs) are expressed in mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) to modulate their biological functions. In this study, we investigated the possible role(s) of TLRs in mediating the hematopoiesis-supporting role of human BM-MSCs. Human BM-MSCs were analyzed for mRNA expression of TLR1-10 by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. TLR1-6, but not TLR7-10 were expressed by BM-MSCs. The protein expression of TLR2 and TLR4 was also confirmed by flow cytometry. We further explored the role of TLR2 and TLR4 in mediating the capacity of BM-MSCs to support the proliferation and differentiation of CD34(+) hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells obtained from cord blood. BM-MSCs increased proliferation of CD34(+) cells and promoted the differentiation towards the myeloid lineage 7 or 14days after co-culture, as well as colony formation by those cells and the production of interleukin 1 (IL-1), IL-8, IL-11, stem cell factor (SCF), granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (CSF), macrophage CSF and granulocyte-macrophage CSF, if MSCs had been stimulated with TLR2 agonist (PAM(3)CSK(4)) or TLR4 agonist (LPS). Interestingly, although these effects were elevated in a different degree, a synergistic effect was not observed in BM-MSCs co-stimulated with PAM(3)CSK(4) and LPS. Together, our findings suggest that TLR2 and TLR4 signaling may indirectly regulate hematopoiesis by modulating BM-MSCs' functions. The increased hematopoietic proliferation and differentiation could be mediated, at least in part, by augmented hematopoiesis-related cytokine production of BM-MSCs.

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