Proper activation of macrophages (Mφ) in the inflammatory phase of acute wound healing is essential for physiological tissue repair. However, there is a strong indication that robust Mφ inflammatory responses may be causal for the fibrotic response always accompanying adult wound healing. Using a complementary approach of in vitro and in vivo studies, we here addressed the question of whether mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) - due to their anti-inflammatory properties - would control Mφ activation and tissue fibrosis in a murine model of full-thickness skin wounds. We have shown that the tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α)-stimulated protein 6 (TSG-6) released from MSCs in co-culture with activated Mφ or following injection into wound margins suppressed the release of TNF-α from activated Mφ and concomitantly induced a switch from a high to an anti-fibrotic low transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1)/TGF-β3 ratio. This study provides insight into what we believe to be a previously undescribed multifaceted role of MSC-released TSG-6 in wound healing. MSC-released TSG-6 was identified to improve wound healing by limiting Mφ activation, inflammation, and fibrosis. TSG-6 and MSC-based therapies may thus qualify as promising strategies to enhance tissue repair and to prevent excessive tissue fibrosis.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)