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Keywords:

  • Mesenchymal stem cells;
  • Immunosuppression, HLA-G;
  • Transplantation tolerance

Abstract

Both human leukocyte antigen G (HLA-G) and multipotential mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs) exhibit immunomodulatory functions. In allogeneic tranplantation, the risks of acute and chronic rejection are still high despite improvement in immunosuppressive treatments, and the induction of a state of tolerance to alloantigens is not achieved. Immunomodulatory properties of MSCs and HLA-G in human allogeneic tranplantation to induce tolerance appears attractive and promising. Interestingly, we and others have demonstrated that MSCs can express HLA-G. In this review, we focus on the expression of HLA-G by MSCs and discuss how to ensure and improve the immunomodulatory properties of MSCs by selectively targeting MSCs expressing HLA-G (MSCsHLA-G+). We also discuss the possible uses of MSCsHLA-G+ for therapeutic purposes, notably, to overcome acute and chronic immune rejection in solid-organ allogeneic transplantation in humans. Since MSCs are phenotypically and functionally heterogeneous, it is of primary interest to have specific markers ensuring that they have strong immunosuppressive potential and HLA-G may be a valuable candidate. Stem Cells 2013;31:2296–2303