Xun Xu, Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht
Thermomechanical Modulation of Toll-Like Receptor Internalization and Expression Profile in Mesenchymal Stromal Cells
Written by Arun Kumar
Several approaches have recently emerged to effectively regulate immune responses against viral diseases. Intravenous introduction of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) has gained popularity as a therapeutic intervention against viruses and the COVID-19 disease owing to the enduring regenerative capacity and exceptional immunomodulatory functions of MSCs. MSCs express surface proteins called toll-like receptors (TLRs) which can interact with viral spike protein and trigger an enormous innate immune response against viral pathogens. However, the expression profile of TLR receptors on MSCs is often varied, thus regulating the efficacy of mesenchymal stromal cell therapy.
Xun Xu from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht envisions the use of thermally-controlled polymer sheets with programmable actuation capacity (cPCLBA) to induce thermomechanical cues that can influence the TLR distribution and function in these immune responding cells. In this talk, Xu shows that their polymer version can elongate up to 14% to the external periodic temperature shifts, and this, in turn, induces MSCs to selectively amplify toll-like receptors (TLR4, TLR7) required for the response against single-strand RNA virus such as the SARS-CoV2. He also demonstrates that the post-thermal stimulation, MSC cell subset co-expressing TLR4 and TLR7 are significantly higher than the MSCs expressing other TLRs.
Thus, it is notable to observe that periodic thermomechanical stimuli can selectively promote TLR expression and can promote antiviral immunity against single-strand RNA viruses.