Research Alert


Dental pulp stem cells (DPSCs) are low immunogenic and hold immunomodulatory properties that, along with their well-established multi-potency, might enhance their potential application in autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. The present study focused on the ability of DPSCs to modulate the inflammatory microenvironment through PD1/PD-L1 pathway.


Inflammatory microenvironment was created in vitro by the activation of T cells isolated from healthy donors and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients with anti-CD3 and anti-CD28 antibodies. Direct and indirect co-cultures between DPSCs and PBMCs were carried out to evaluate the activation of immunomodulatory checkpoints in DPSCs and the inflammatory pattern in PBMCs.


Our data suggest that the inflammatory stimuli trigger DPSCs immunoregulatory functions that can be exerted by both direct and indirect contact. As demonstrated by using a selective PD-L1 inhibitor, DPSCs were able to activate compensatory pathways targeting to orchestrate the inflammatory process by modulating pro-inflammatory cytokines in pre-activated T lymphocytes. The involvement of PD-L1 mechanism was also observed in autologous inflammatory status (pulpitis) and after direct exposure to pre-activated T cells from RA patients suggesting that immunomodulatory/anti-inflammatory properties are strictly related to their stemness status.


Our findings point out that the communication with the inflammatory microenvironment is essential in licensing their immunomodulatory properties.

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