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Int J Clin Exp Pathol 2013;6(12):2703-2712

Original Article
Therapeutic effect of human umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cells in rat
severe acute pancreatitis

Hong-Bo Meng, Jian Gong, Bo Zhou, Jie Hua, Le Yao, Zhen-Shun Song

Department of Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Surgery, Shanghai Tenth People’s Hospital, Tongji University, Shanghai 200072, China. Equal
contributors.

Received September 29, 2013; Accepted October 28, 2013; Epub November 15, 2013; Published December 1, 2013

Abstract: Aim: To investigate the therapeutic effect of umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cells (UC-MSCs) on rat severe acute
pancreatitis (SAP). Methods: Rats were randomly divided into three groups (n = 15 per group): control group, SAP group, and SAP+MSCs group.
SAP was established by retrograde pancreatic duct injection of 3% sodium taurocholate. In SAP+MSCs group, UC-MSCs at 1×107 cells/kg
were injected via the tail vein 12 h after SAP. Rats (n = 5 per group) were sacrificed on days 1, 3 and 5, and the blood and pancreatic tissues
were collected. The levels of serum amylase, lipase, inflammatory cytokines, and anti-inflammatory cytokines were determined. Pathological
changes of the pancreas (HE staining) and apoptotic acinar cells (TUNEL staining) were observed under light microscope. Results: The levels
of serum amylase and lipase in SAP group were significantly higher than those in control group (P<0.05). The pancreas in SAP group showed
significantly massive edema, inflammation, hemorrhage and necrosis when compared with control group. There were numerous TUNEL-
positive apoptotic acinar cells after SAP. However, in SAP+MSCs group, the levels of serum amylase were significantly reduced on days 1, 3,
and 5 after MSC transplantation (P<0.01). The serum lipase level in SAP+MSCs group was significantly lower than that in SAP group on days 3
and 5 (P<0.01). The edema formation, inflammatory cell infiltration, hemorrhage, and necrosis were reduced significantly attenuated in
SAP+MSCs group as compared to SAP group (P<0.05). MSCs significantly reduced the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines (TNF-α, IL-1β, and
IL-6), but increased the levels of anti-inflammatory cytokines (IL-4 and IL-10) in SAP rats. The number of TUNEL-positive acinar cells was
significantly reduced on days 3 and 5 after MSCs transplantation (P<0.01). Conclusion: Transplantation of UC-MSCs significantly inhibits
inflammation and decreases pancreatic injury secondary to SAP. (IJCEP1309076).

Keywords: Umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cells, severe acute pancreatitis, pancreatic pathology, inflammation, apoptosis

Address correspondence to: Dr. Zhen-Shun Song or Dr. Hong-Bo Meng, Department of Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Surgery, Shanghai Tenth
People’s Hospital, Shanghai 200072, China. Tel: +8621-66301051; E-mail: songzhenshun123@163.com (Zhen-Shun Song);
hongbomeng@yeah.net (Hong-Bo Meng)