Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
Stem Cells International
Volume 2016, Article ID 4062789, 13 pages
Research Article

Umbilical Cord-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells Suppress Autophagy of T Cells in Patients with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus via Transfer of Mitochondria

1Department of Rheumatology and Immunology, The Affiliated Drum Tower Hospital of Nanjing University Medical School, Nanjing, Jiangsu 210008, China
2Department of Rheumatology and Immunology, Drum Tower Clinical Medical College of Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, Jiangsu 210008, China
3Department of Rheumatology and Immunology, The 3rd Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University, Suzhou, Jiangsu 215006, China

Received 24 May 2016; Revised 5 November 2016; Accepted 10 November 2016

Academic Editor: Armand Keating

Copyright © 2016 Jinyun Chen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Aberrant autophagy played an important role in the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases, especially in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). In this study, we showed that T cells from SLE patients had higher autophagic activity than that from healthy controls. A correlation between autophagic activity and apoptotic rate was observed in activated T cells. Moreover, activation of autophagy with rapamycin increased T cell apoptosis, whereas inhibition of autophagy with 3-MA decreased T cell apoptosis. Umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cells (UC-MSCs) could inhibit respiratory mitochondrial biogenesis in activated T cells to downregulate autophagy and consequently decrease T cell apoptosis through mitochondrial transfer and thus may play an important role in SLE treatment.