Background: Induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells are novel stem cell populations, but the role of iPS cells in acute lung injury (ALI) is not currently known. We investigated the effect of iPS cells in modifying the pathophysiology of endotoxin-induced ALI. Methods: Male C57BL/6 8- to 12-week-old mice were enrolled in this study. Mouse iPS cells were delivered through the tail veins of mice 4 h after intratracheal instillation of endotoxin. Lung histopathologic findings, the pulmonary levels of cytokines, and functional parameters were analyzed after either 24 h or 48 h. Results: More iPS cells integrated into the lungs of mice with ALI than those of the control mice, as demonstrated by in vivo radionuclide imaging and in vitro Hoechst-labeled fluorescent staining. iPS cells significantly diminished the histopathologic changes of ALI and the lung injury score. There was also a significant reduction in the activity of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) and neutrophil accumulation in the lung, confirmed by immunostaining, electrophoretic mobility shift assays, and the decrease of myeloperoxidase activity, in the iPS-cell-treated mice with ALI. These protective effects were not replicated by the control cell therapy with fibroblasts. iPS cells mediated a downregulation of the proinflammatory response to endotoxin (reducing tumor necrosis factor-α, IL-6, and macrophage inflammatory peptide-2). In addition, iPS cells rescued the hypoxemia and pulmonary function of ALI. Treatment with a conditioned medium of iPS cells showed effects similar to those of iPS cells, which may suggest the therapeutic benefits of iPS mediated by paracrine factors. Conclusions: IV delivery of iPS cells provides a beneficial effect to attenuate the severity of endotoxin-induced ALI and improve physiologic impairment, which is partly mediated by a reduction in NF-κB activity and neutrophils accumulation. The conditioned medium of iPS cells demonstrated effects equal to those of iPS cells.
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