Amniotic fluid derived mesenchymal stromal cells augment fetal lung growth in a nitrofen explant model

Published:February 03, 2014DOI:



      Recent experimental work suggests the therapeutic role of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) during lung morphogenesis. The purpose of this study was to investigate the potential paracrine effects of amniotic fluid-derived MSCs (AF-MSCs) on fetal lung growth in a nitrofen explant model.


      Pregnant Sprague–Dawley dams were gavage fed nitrofen on gestational day 9.5 (E9.5). E14.5 lung explants were subsequently harvested and cultured ex vivo for three days on filter membranes in conditioned media from rat AF-MSCs isolated from control (AF-Ctr) or nitrofen-exposed (AF-Nitro) dams. The lungs were analyzed morphometrically and by quantitative gene expression.


      Although there were no significant differences in total lung surface area among hypoplastic lungs, there were significant increases in terminal budding among E14.5+3 nitrofen explants exposed to AF-Ctr compared to explants exposed to medium alone (58.8±8.4 vs. 39.0±10.0 terminal buds, respectively; p<0.05). In contrast, lungs cultured in AF-Nitro medium failed to augment terminal budding. Nitrofen explants exposed to AF-Ctr showed significant upregulation of surfactant protein C to levels observed in normal fetal lungs.


      AF-MSCs can augment branching morphogenesis and lung epithelial maturation in a fetal explant model of pulmonary hypoplasia. Cell therapy using donor-derived AF-MSCs may represent a novel strategy for the treatment of fetal congenital diaphragmatic hernia.

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