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Stem Cells International
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 3134543, 10 pages
Research Article

Delivery of Bone Marrow-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells Improves Tear Production in a Mouse Model of Sjögren’s Syndrome

1Department of Comprehensive Care, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, Boston, MA, USA
2Department of Ophthalmology, USC Roski Eye Institute, Keck School of Medicine of University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA
3University of Southern California School of Pharmacy, Los Angeles, CA, USA
4Department of Ophthalmology, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA
5Center for Translational Ocular Immunology, Department of Ophthalmology, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to Driss Zoukhri

Received 14 September 2016; Revised 2 December 2016; Accepted 21 December 2016; Published 2 March 2017

Academic Editor: Dominik Wolf

Copyright © 2017 Hema S. Aluri 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.


The purpose of the present study was to test the potential of mouse bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BD-MSCs) in improving tear production in a mouse model of Sjögren’s syndrome dry eye and to investigate the underlying mechanisms involved. NOD mice () were randomized to receive i.p. injection of sterile phosphate buffered saline (PBS, control) or murine BD-MSCs (1 × 106 cells). Tears production was measured at baseline and once a week after treatment using phenol red impregnated threads. Cathepsin S activity in the tears was measured at the end of treatment. After 4 weeks, animals were sacrificed and the lacrimal glands were excised and processed for histopathology, immunohistochemistry, and RNA analysis. Following BD-MSC injection, tears production increased over time when compared to both baseline and PBS injected mice. Although the number of lymphocytic foci in the lacrimal glands of treated animals did not change, the size of the foci decreased by 40.5% when compared to control animals. The mRNA level of the water channel aquaporin 5 was significantly increased following delivery of BD-MSCs. We conclude that treatment with BD-MSCs increases tear production in the NOD mouse model of Sjögren’s syndrome. This is likely due to decreased inflammation and increased expression of aquaporin 5.