Research ArticleLung Disease

Pulmonary transplantation of macrophage progenitors as effective and long-lasting therapy for hereditary pulmonary alveolar proteinosis

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Science Translational Medicine  20 Aug 2014:
Vol. 6, Issue 250, pp. 250ra113
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3009750

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Hereditary pulmonary alveolar proteinosis (herPAP) is a rare lung disease caused by mutations in the granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) receptor genes, resulting in disturbed alveolar macrophage differentiation, massive alveolar proteinosis, and life-threatening respiratory insufficiency. So far, the only effective treatment for herPAP is repetitive whole-lung lavage, a merely symptomatic and highly invasive procedure. We introduce pulmonary transplantation of macrophage progenitors as effective and long-lasting therapy for herPAP. In a murine disease model, intrapulmonary transplanted macrophage progenitors displayed selective, long-term pulmonary engraftment and differentiation into functional alveolar macrophages. A single transplantation ameliorated the herPAP phenotype for at least 9 months, resulting in significantly reduced alveolar proteinosis, normalized lung densities in chest computed tomography, and improved lung function. A significant and sustained disease resolution was also observed in a second, humanized herPAP model after intrapulmonary transplantation of human macrophage progenitors. The therapeutic effect was mediated by long-lived, lung-resident macrophages, which displayed functional and phenotypical characteristics of primary human alveolar macrophages. Our findings present the concept of organotopic transplantation of macrophage progenitors as an effective and long-lasting therapy of herPAP and may also serve as a proof of principle for other diseases, expanding current stem cell–based strategies toward potent concepts using the transplantation of differentiated cells.

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