Background/Aims: Bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BM-MSCs) have shown beneficial effects in experimental colitis models, but the underlying mechanisms are not fully understood. We investigated the long-term effects of BM-MSCs, particularly in mice with chronic colitis. Methods: Chronic colitis was induced by administering 3% dextran sulfate sodium (DSS) in a series of three cycles. BMMSCs were injected intravenously into DSS-treated mice three times during the first cycle. On day 33, the therapeutic effects were evaluated with clinicopathologic profiles and histological scoring. Inflammatory mediators were measured with real-time polymerase chain reaction. Results: Systemic infusion of BM-MSCs ameliorated the severity of colitis, and body weight restoration was significantly promoted in the BMMSC-treated mice. In addition, BM-MSC treatment showed a sustained beneficial effect throughout the three cycles. Microscopic examination revealed that the mice treated with BM-MSCs had fewer inflammatory infiltrates, a lesser extent of inflammation, and less crypt structure damage compared with mice with DSS-induced colitis. Anti-inflammatory cytokine levels of interleukin-10 were significantly increased in the inflamed colons of BM-MSC-treated mice compared with DSS-induced colitis mice. Conclusions: Systemic infusion of BM-MSCs at the onset of disease exerted preventive and rapid recovery effects, with long-term immunosuppressive action in mice with repeated DSS-induced chronic colitis.
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