Equine mesenchymal stromal cells may prove helpful in healing wounds, findings suggest

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Proteins secreted by equine mesenchymal stromal cells may be beneficial in the fight against stubborn skin infections, research findings suggest.

These cells, which be can be isolated from the likes of bone marrow, fat tissue, and other sources, have an ability to develop into different cell types.

Researchers from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, noted that mesenchymal stromal cells from various species, including humans, mice, and horses, were recently found to effectively inhibit the growth of various bacteria associated with chronic infections, such as non-healing skin wounds, via secretion of antimicrobial peptides.

However, information on how these cells affect bacterial biofilms was largely lacking.

The study team, Charlotte Marx, Sophia Gardner, Rebecca Harman and Gerlinde Van de Walle, set out to evaluate in a laboratory setting how the proteins released by these cells — the secretome — performed against various biofilm‐forming wound pathogens.

The researchers, writing in the journal Stem Cells Translational Medicine, said they focused on equine mesenchymal stromal cells because the horse represented a physiologically relevant model for human wound healing.

“Our salient findings were that the equine secretome inhibits biofilm formation and mature biofilms of various bacteria, such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, and S. epidermidis,” they reported.

They showed that these equine cells secrete cysteine proteases that destabilize methicillin‐resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) biofilms. This in turn increased the effectiveness of antibiotics previously tolerated by the biofilms.

“In light of the rise of antibiotic‐resistant bacterial strains as an increasing global health threat, our results provide the rationale for using the mesenchymal stromal cells secretome as a complementary treatment for bacterial skin infections in both humans and horses,” they concluded.

The mesenchymal stromal cell secretome impairs methicillin‐resistant Staphylococcus aureus biofilms via cysteine protease activity in the equine model
Charlotte Marx, Sophia Gardner, Rebecca M. Harman, Gerlinde R. Van de Walle
Stem Cells Translational Medicine, 26 March, 2020, https://doi.org/10.1002/sctm.19-0333

The study, published under a Creative Commons License, can be read here

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