Reduction of Emphysema Severity by Human Umbilical Cord-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Mice

Vincent Laiman, Yueh Lun Lee, Yu Wei Hou, Yu Ting Fang, You Yin Chen, Yu Chun Lo, Didik Setyo Heriyanto, Shu Chi Lan, Chia Ling Chen, Xiao Yue Chen, Kang Yun Lee, Jer Hwa Chang*, Hsiao Chi Chuang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

2 Scopus citations


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in chronic lung disease patients throughout the world. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been shown to regulate immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory, and regenerative responses. However, the effects of human-umbilical-cord-derived mesenchymal stem cells (hUC-MSCs) on the lung pathophysiology of COPD remain unclear. We aimed to investigate the role of hUC-MSCs in emphysema severity and Yes-associated protein (Yap) phosphorylation (p-Yap) in a porcine-pancreatic-elastase (PPE)-induced emphysema model. We observed that the emphysema percentages (normalized to the total lung volume) measured by chest computed tomography (CT) and exercise oxygen desaturation were significantly reduced by hUC-MSCs at 107 cells/kg body weight (BW) via intravenous administration in emphysematous mice (p < 0.05). Consistently, the emphysema index, as assessed by the mean linear intercept (MLI), significantly decreased with hUC-MSC administration at 3 × 106 and 107 cells/kg BW (p < 0.05). Changes in the lymphocytes, monocytes, and splenic cluster of differentiation 4-positive (CD4+) lymphocytes by PPE were significantly reversed by hUC-MSC administration in emphysematous mice (p < 0.05). An increasing neutrophil/lymphocyte ratio was reduced by hUC-MSCs at 3 × 106 and 107 cells/kg BW (p < 0.05). The higher levels of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, keratinocyte chemoattractant (KC), and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) were significantly decreased by hUC-MSC administration (p < 0.05). A decreasing p-Yap/Yap ratio in type II alveolar epithelial cells (AECII) of mice with PPE-induced emphysema was significantly increased by hUC-MSCs (p < 0.05). In conclusion, the administration of hUC-MSCs improved multiple pathophysiological features of mice with PPE-induced emphysema. The effectiveness of the treatment of pulmonary emphysema with hUC-MSCs provides an essential and significant foundation for future clinical studies of MSCs in COPD patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8906
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number16
StatePublished - 08 2022
Externally publishedYes

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© 2022 by the authors.


  • COPD
  • emphysema
  • hippo pathway
  • inflammation
  • lungs


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