A reproducible immunopotency assay to measure mesenchymal stromal cell-mediated T-cell suppression

Debra D. Bloom, John M. Centanni, Neehar Bhatia, Carol A. Emler, Diana Drier, Glen E. Leverson, David H. McKenna, Adrian P. Gee, Robert Lindblad, Derek J. Hei, Peiman Hematti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


Background aims: The T-cell suppressive property of bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) has been considered a major mode of action and basis for their utilization in a number of human clinical trials. However, there is no well-established reproducible assay to measure MSC-mediated T-cell suppression. Methods: At the University of Wisconsin-Madison Production Assistance for Cellular Therapy (PACT) Center, we developed an invitro quality control T-cell suppression immunopotency assay (IPA) that uses anti-CD3 and anti-CD28 antibodies to stimulate T-cell proliferation. We measured MSC-induced suppression of CD4+ T-cell proliferation at various effector-to-target cell ratios with the use of defined peripheral blood mononuclear cells and in parallel compared with a reference standard MSC product. We calculated an IPA value for suppression of CD4+ T cells for each MSC product. Results: Eleven MSC products generated at three independent PACT centers were evaluated for cell surface phenotypic markers and T-cell suppressive properties. Flow cytometry results demonstrated typical MSC cell surface marker profiles. There was significant variability in the level of suppression of T-cell proliferation, with immunopotency assay values ranging from 27% to 88%. However, MSC suppression did not correlate with human leukocyte antigen-DR expression. Conclusions: We have developed a reproducible immunopotency assay to measure allogeneic MSC-mediated suppression of CD4+ T cells. Additional studies may be warranted to determine how these invitro assay results may correlate with other immunomodulatory properties of MSCs, in addition to evaluating the ability of this assay to predict invivo efficacy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)140-151
Number of pages12
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 International Society for Cellular Therapy.


  • Mesenchymal stromal cells
  • PACT
  • Potency assay
  • T-cell suppression


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