Among the many cell types useful in developing therapeutic treatments, human amniotic cells from placenta have been proposed as valid candidates. Both human amniotic epithelial and mesenchymal stromal cells, and the conditioned medium generated from their culture, exert multiple immunosuppressive activities. Indeed, they inhibit T and B cell proliferation, suppress inflammatory properties of monocytes, macrophages, dendritic cells, neutrophils, and natural killer cells, while promoting induction of cells with regulatory functions such as regulatory T cells and anti-inflammatory M2 macrophages. These properties have laid the foundation for their use for the treatment of inflammatory-based diseases, and encouraging results have been obtained in different preclinical disease models where exacerbated inflammation is present. Moreover, an immune-privileged status of amniotic cells has been often highlighted. However, even if long-term engraftment of amniotic cells has been reported into immunocompetent animals, only few cells survive after infusion. Furthermore, amniotic cells have been shown to be able to induce immune responses in vivo and, under specific culture conditions, they can stimulate T cell proliferation in vitro. Although immunosuppressive properties are a widely recognized characteristic of amniotic cells, immunogenic and stimulatory activities appear to be less reported, sporadic events. In order to improve therapeutic outcome, the mechanisms responsible for the suppressive versus stimulatory activity need to be carefully addressed. In this review, both the immunosuppressive and immunostimulatory activity of amniotic cells will be discussed.
- amniotic epithelial cells
- amniotic membrane
- amniotic mesenchymal stromal cells