Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) causes hemorrhagic colitis, hemolytic uremic syndrome, and acute encephalopathies that may lead to sudden death or severe neurologic sequelae. Current treatments, including immunoglobulin G (IgG) immunoadsorption, plasma exchange, steroid pulse therapy, and the monoclonal antibody eculizumab, have limited effects against the severe neurologic sequelae. Multilineage-differentiating stress-enduring (Muse) cells are endogenous reparative non-tumorigenic stem cells that naturally reside in the body and are currently under clinical trials for regenerative medicine. When administered intravenously, Musecells accumulate to the damaged tissue, where they exert anti-inflammatory, anti-apoptotic, anti-fibrotic, and immunomodulatory effects, and replace damaged cells by differentiating into tissue-constituent cells. Here, severely immunocompromised non-obese diabetic/severe combined immunodeficiency (NOD-SCID) mice orally inoculated with 9 × 109 colony-forming units of STEC O111 and treated 48 h later with intravenous injection of 5 × 104 Muse cells exhibited 100% survival and no severe after-effects of infection. Suppression of granulocyte-colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) by RNAi abolished the beneficial effects of Muse cells, leading to a 40% death and significant body weight loss, suggesting the involvement of G-CSF in the beneficial effects of Muse cells in STEC-infected mice. Thus, intravenous administration of Muse cells could be a candidate therapeutic approach for preventing fatal encephalopathy after STEC infection.
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