The Project Team Led by Professor Shi Yufang Publicized a Special Overview on Nature Reviews Nephrology

On June 12th, Nature Reviews Nephrology, the famous international periodical, released an online special overview entitled the Immunoregulatory mechanisms of mesenchymal stem and stromal cells in inflammatory diseases, written by Professor Shi Yufang from the Institute of Translational Medicine of Soochow University, Researcher Wang Ying from Shanghai Institute of Nutrition and Health of Chinese Academy of Sciences, and other co-workers. The paper summarized the molecular mechanisms of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) systematically in controlling many kinds of functions and characteristics of immunocytes by making full use ofimmunoregulatory factors, cell metabolites and cell-to-cell contacts. In terms of the clinical applications of MSCs and the regulatory mechanisms of the inflammatory microenvironment for the characteristics of MSCs, they proposed the possibility of the individualized and standardized application of MSCs, which provided a new road for the basis and clinical studies of stem cells. Such a concept was highly appreciated as “deus ex machina”by other peers in the world.


Originally discovered as a part of the stem cell nests in the marrow, MSCs maintained the ability of controlling the self-renewal, proliferation, and differentiation of cells, and the potential of differentiating into adipose cells, osteoblasts, and chondroblasts. In accordance with the research later, as a kind of prevalent stroma cell in many organs, including umbilical cords, fat, lungs and kidneys, MSCs stabilizes the environment in different organs. On physiological and pathological conditions, MSCs, by interacting with the histocytes, stem cells and immunocyte in the microenvironment actively and extensively, could benefit the progress of treatment and the repair the damages caused by diseases. With regard to some inflammatory and traumatic diseases, including graft versus-host reaction (GVHR), multiple sclerosis, and myocardial ischemia, the transplant of MSCs has been proved with good therapeutic efficacy. Currently, according to, the database of National Institutes of Health, over 700 clinical experiments related to MSCs have been registered. Since their studies on the basis and clinical applications of stem cells in 2008, the team led by Professor Shi Yufang has been devoting themselves in the mechanism researches and clinical applications of MSCs and their interaction with immunocytes and expounded the effects and mechanisms of the interactive control of MSCs and immunocytes in the pathological processes of inflammatory diseases like autoimmunity disease, fibrillation and tumors. The major achievements of the team include introducing the concept of inflammation’s endowment of immunodepression functions to MSCs for the first time, establishing the theoretical system MSCs’ recruiting T-cells by secreting chemotactic factors, and depressing the functions of T-cells by collaborating with NO/INDO2,3-DO (Cell Stem Cell, 2008; Trends in immunology, 2012), and discovering the differences of species and evolutionary characteristics of the immunoregulatory mechanisms of MSCs. By systematically analyzing the dynamic changes of the types and density of inflammatory factors and making use of animal models and clinical statistics, the team discovered the plasticity of MSCs’ immunoregulatory functions, and proposed the hypothesis that MSCs could promote the repair and renewal of tissues by endowing the stem cells of related tissues with certain abilities (Nature Immunology, 2014). Based on the studies of a tumor model, the team expounded the characteristics of MSCs in a pathological condition, and the effects and mechanisms of its interaction with immunocytes in the growth, metastasis and chemoradiotherapy resistance of a cancer (Cell stem cell, 2012; Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, 2017).

All the achievements aforementioned were funded by National Key R&D Plan, the Strategic Priority Research Program for Stem Cells of Chinese Academy of Sciences, National Natural Science Foundation of China, and relevant projects of Jiangsu Department of Science and Technology, and supported by the Institute of Translational Medicine of Soochow University and Shanghai Institute of Nutrition and Health of Chinese Academy of Sciences


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