Song G Zheng
Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Penn State University USA
Song G Zheng completed his PhD in Immunology at University of Orleans and French National Center for Scientific Research. He completed his Post-doctoral studies at UCLA and University of Southern California (USC). He was appointed as an Assistant Professor at USC in 2004. He has been a full Professor of Medicine with tenure and Director at Milton S. Hershey Medical Center at Penn State University since 2013. He has expertise in Pathogenesis, Cytokines and Immune Regulation of Autoimmune Diseases. He and his colleagues discovered “induced regulatory T cells” and is a pioneer in the field of GMSC and immune-regulation.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic symmetrical autoimmune disease characterized by synovial inflammation that affects primarily the small diarthrodial joints. None of the current treatments can cure the disease. Mesenchymal stem cells have been shown in maintaining immune homeostasis and preventing autoimmunity, and may be a potential therapeutic approach for RA. Recently, we observed that gingiva derived mesenchymal stem cells (GMSCs) also have the capacity to inhibit immune responses and control the development and severity of collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) in mice that is dependent on CD39/CD73 signal pathway and partially on the induction of CD4+CD39+FoxP3+T regulatory cells. Moreover, GMSCs dramatically and directly inhibited NF-κB and RANKL-mediated osteoclast formation, as well as bone erosion in CIA. To evaluate their clinical translational value, we have developed a humanized animal model, xeno-GVHD, to demonstrate that the infusion of GMSC can markedly inhibit human PBMCs-initiated xenogenic graft-versus-host-disease (GVHD) and this effect requests the CD39/CD73 and IDO signals. More importantly, the effect of GMSCs is significantly better than bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs). Taken together, the manipulation of GMSCs could provide a promising approach for curing autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and xenograft-versus-host-disease.