Therapies using induced pluripotent stem cells could encounter immune rejection problems

May 16, 2011
T Cells

An infiltration of T cells, shown by dark brown color, can be seen in the tissues formed by iPSCs (credit: Yang Xu, U.C. San Diego)

The first clear evidence of immune system rejection of cells derived from autologous pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) has been discovered by researchers at the University of California, San Diego.

The researchers tested the immune response of an inbred strain of mice to embryonic stem cells and several types of iPSCs derived from the same strain of inbred mice.

They found that the immune system of one mouse could not recognize the cells derived from embryonic stem cells of the same strain of mice.

Their experiments also showed that the immune system rejected cells derived from iPSCs reprogrammed from fibroblasts of the same strain of mice, mimicking what happens when a patient would be treated with cells derived from iPSCs reprogrammed from the patient’s own cells. They showed that abnormal gene expression during the differentiation of iPSCs causes the immune responses.

Ref: Tongbiao Zhao, Zhen-Ning Zhang, Zhili Rong, Yang Xu, Immunogenicity of induced pluripotent stem cells, Nature, 2011; DOI: 10.1038/nature10135