Human amnion cells reverse acute and chronic pulmonary damage in experimental neonatal lung injury

Dandan Zhu, Jean Tan, Amina S. Maleken, Ruth Muljadi, Siow T. Chan, Sin N. Lau, Kirstin Elgass, Bryan Leaw, Joanne Mockler, Daniel Chambers, Kristen T. Leeman, Carla F. Kim, Euan M. Wallace, Rebecca Lim

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38 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Despite advances in neonatal care, bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) remains a significant contributor to infant mortality and morbidity. While human amnion epithelial cells (hAECs) have shown promise in small and large animal models of BPD, there is scarce information on long-term benefit and clinically relevant questions surrounding administration strategy remain unanswered. In assessing the therapeutic potential of hAECs, we investigated the impact of cell dosage, administration routes and timing of treatment in a pre-clinical model of BPD. Methods: Lipopolysaccharide was introduced intra-amniotically at day 16 of pregnancy prior to exposure to 65% oxygen (hyperoxia) at birth. hAECs were administered either 12 hours (early) or 4 days (late) after hyperoxia commenced. Collective lung tissues were subjected to histological analysis, multikine ELISA for inflammatory cytokines, FACS for immune cell populations and 3D lung stem cell culture at neonatal stage (postnatal day 7 and 14). Invasive lung function test and echocardiography were applied at 6 and 10 weeks of age. Results: hAECs improved the tissue-to-airspace ratio and septal crest density in a dose-dependent manner, regardless of administration route. Early administration of hAECs, coinciding with the commencement of postnatal hyperoxia, was associated with reduced macrophages, dendritic cells and natural killer cells. This was not the case if hAECs were administered when lung injury was established. Fittingly, early hAEC treatment was more efficacious in reducing interleukin-1β, tumour necrosis factor alpha and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 levels. Early hAEC treatment was also associated with reduced airway hyper-responsiveness and normalisation of pressure-volume loops. Pulmonary hypertension and right ventricle hypertrophy were also prevented in the early hAEC treatment group, and this persisted until 10 weeks of age. Conclusions: Early hAEC treatment appears to be advantageous over late treatment. There was no difference in efficacy between intravenous and intratracheal administration. The benefits of hAEC administration resulted in long-term improvements in cardiorespiratory function.

Original languageEnglish
Article number257
Number of pages24
JournalStem Cell Research & Therapy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2017


  • Cell therapy
  • Chronic neonatal lung disease
  • Hyperoxia
  • Intra-amniotic inflammation
  • Secondary pulmonary hypertension

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