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Overcoming the Pulmonary First Pass Effect: The Remarkable Potential of Umbilical Cord-Derived MSCs

Discover the breakthrough potential of umbilical cord-derived MSCs in regenerative medicine, overcoming the pulmonary first-pass effect for safe and effective treatment outcomes. Learn about the latest research and insights in this groundbreaking field.

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Overcoming the Pulmonary First Pass Effect: The Remarkable Potential of Umbilical Cord-Derived MSCs

Louis A. Cona, MD
Updated on
Mar 16, 2023

Discover the breakthrough potential of umbilical cord-derived MSCs in regenerative medicine, overcoming the pulmonary first-pass effect for safe and effective treatment outcomes. Learn about the latest research and insights in this groundbreaking field.

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Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have emerged as a revolutionary therapeutic tool in regenerative medicine and tissue engineering, garnering significant attention for their remarkable regenerative potential and immunomodulatory properties. As multipotent cells, MSCs hold the capacity to differentiate into various cell types and secrete trophic factors, facilitating tissue repair and regeneration.

Moreover, their unique immunomodulatory properties have demonstrated promise in treating numerous inflammatory and autoimmune disorders. In this article, we provide an in-depth analysis of MSCs, with a focus on the advantages of umbilical cord-derived MSCs, their therapeutic applications, and the challenges associated with their administration.

Specifically, we address the pulmonary first pass effect and present compelling arguments that demonstrate the superiority of umbilical cord-derived MSCs in terms of safety and efficacy. Our aim is to contribute to the growing body of knowledge that supports the development and optimization of MSC-based therapies for a wide range of clinical applications.

Introduction to Mesenchymal Stem Cells

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are multipotent stromal cells that have the ability to differentiate into various cell types, including osteoblasts, chondrocytes, and adipocytes. These stem cells have garnered significant attention in recent years due to their potential for tissue repair and regeneration, making them promising candidates for use in regenerative medicine and other therapeutic applications.

Homing capabilities of Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs)

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) possess a remarkable ability known as "homing" when administered intravenously, enabling them to selectively migrate to sites of inflammation or injury within the body. This targeted migration is crucial in facilitating tissue repair and regeneration and is mediated by a complex interplay of signaling molecules, receptors, and adhesion molecules.

How do stem cells find areas of inflammation?

Upon intravenous administration, MSCs are exposed to the systemic circulation, where they encounter various chemotactic signals released by injured or inflamed tissues. These chemotactic signals include cytokines, chemokines, and growth factors, which create a gradient that directs the MSCs towards the target site. The MSCs express specific receptors for these signaling molecules, allowing them to sense and respond to the gradient.

As MSCs approach the inflamed or injured area, they interact with endothelial cells lining the blood vessels through a series of adhesion molecules, such as selectins, integrins, and immunoglobulins. This interaction facilitates the rolling, adhesion, and transmigration of MSCs across the endothelial barrier and into the target tissue.

mesenchymal stem cell lungs

How stem cells reduce localized areas of inflammation

Upon reaching the site of inflammation or injury, MSCs exert their therapeutic effects by differentiating into various cell types, secreting trophic factors, and modulating the local immune response. This targeted homing capability enhances the therapeutic potential of MSCs by ensuring their delivery to the areas in need of repair and regeneration, ultimately improving the overall efficacy of MSC-based therapies.

It is essential to note that the homing efficiency of MSCs may vary depending on their source, culture conditions, and the specific injury or disease context. Ongoing research aims to further elucidate the mechanisms underlying MSC homing and to develop strategies to optimize this process for more effective MSC-based treatments in clinical applications.

Intravenous Administration of MSCs

One common route for administering MSCs is intravenously, which allows for quick distribution throughout the body. However, like any other drug or therapy, the delivery of MSCs through this route is subject to certain pharmacokinetic factors that can influence their effectiveness.

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Pulmonary First Pass Effect

The pulmonary first pass effect is a critical pharmacokinetic phenomenon that impacts the concentration of substances, including medications and stem cells, in the bloodstream after intravenous administration. By understanding this effect, healthcare professionals can optimize the delivery and efficacy of therapies, ultimately improving patient outcomes.

Definition and Significance

The pulmonary first pass metabolism effect refers to the phenomenon where a drug or substance is metabolized within the lungs before reaching systemic circulation. This process can significantly impact the concentration of a drug or therapy in the bloodstream, potentially altering its therapeutic effects.

Influence on Drug Concentrations

When MSCs are administered intravenously, they are subject to the pulmonary first pass effect, which can influence their blood concentrations and impact their efficacy. Understanding this phenomenon is essential for optimizing the delivery and effectiveness of MSCs in medical treatments.

MSCs and Pulmonary First Pass Effect

The pulmonary first pass effect plays a significant role in the pharmacokinetics of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) following intravenous administration. Understanding this effect is essential for harnessing the full potential of MSCs in regenerative medicine and tissue repair.

Key Points:

  • Mesenchymal stem cells are multipotent stromal cells with potential applications in regenerative medicine and tissue repair.
  • The pulmonary first pass effect can alter the concentration of MSCs in the bloodstream after intravenous administration, impacting their efficacy in medical treatments.
  • Recent evidence suggests that MSCs derived from umbilical cord tissue may have a distinct advantage over bone marrow-derived MSCs in terms of avoiding lung entrapment due to their size.
  • Understanding and addressing the challenges posed by the pulmonary first pass effect is crucial for optimizing the delivery and efficacy of MSCs in various therapeutic applications.

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Lung Tissue and Pulmonary Uptake

Following intravenous administration, MSCs enter the pulmonary circulation, where they may be taken up by lung tissue. Pulmonary uptake is influenced by several factors, including the size and surface properties of the MSCs, which can determine their affinity for lung tissue.

Systemic Circulation and Vascular Endothelial Drug Uptake

After passing through the lungs, MSCs enter the systemic circulation. This process is influenced by the pulmonary first pass effect, which can alter the concentration of MSCs in the bloodstream. Researchers are actively investigating ways to minimize the impact of the pulmonary first pass effect on MSCs to improve their therapeutic potential.

Umbilical Cord-Derived MSCs and Lung Entrapment

An important factor to consider when discussing MSC administration and the pulmonary first pass effect is the source of the MSCs. Recent evidence suggests that MSCs derived from umbilical cord tissue may have a distinct advantage over those derived from bone marrow in terms of avoiding lung entrapment.

Size Advantage of Umbilical Cord-Derived MSCs: Improved Pulmonary Circulation

The average size of umbilical cord-derived MSCs is between 17-19 µm, which is roughly the size of a large monocyte. Monocytes are white blood cells that can quickly travel through the bloodstream before entering tissues to become macrophages. The size of these MSCs allows them to pass through the pulmonary circulation more easily, reducing the likelihood of getting stuck in the lungs.

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Reassessing the Pulmonary First Pass Effect: Evaluating the Validity of Previous Studies

The pulmonary first pass effect has been a topic of debate in the field of regenerative medicine, especially concerning the intravenous administration of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). One of the most cited studies on this topic claims that 97% of intravenously administered stem cells become trapped in the lungs, thus significantly reducing their therapeutic potential. This claim is based on a preclinical trial in which rats were administered two doses of intravenous stem cells. However, upon further examination and consultation with toxicologists and microbiologists, several issues with the trial's methodology have been identified, potentially rendering the conclusions drawn from it flawed.

Firstly, the study administered an excessive dose of 4 million cells per mouse, which equates to approximately 200 million cells per kilogram. This dosage is significantly higher than the 1.5-4 million cells per kilogram typically used by reputable clinics offering intravenous MSC treatments. The stark contrast in dosage – about 50-100 times higher per kilogram – could account for the exaggerated pulmonary first pass effect observed in the study. The use of such an extreme dosage undermines the applicability of the findings to more conventional clinical practices. (1)

Moreover, other preclinical studies have demonstrated the safety and efficacy of intravenous MSC treatments in various conditions, such as stroke, without observing the pulmonary first pass uptake and entrapment levels reported by the aforementioned study. In these investigations, the administered MSCs were comparable in size to large monocytes (17-19 µm), which are known to circulate efficiently through the bloodstream before entering tissues and differentiating into macrophages. These findings suggest that the pulmonary first pass effect may not be as significant a barrier as previously thought.

In light of these discrepancies, it is essential to reevaluate the pulmonary first pass effect in the context of MSC administration, considering the limitations of previous studies and the need for a more comprehensive understanding of this phenomenon. Further research is needed to establish the true extent of the pulmonary first pass effect and its implications for the clinical application of intravenous MSC treatments, as well as to identify optimal dosages and strategies for maximizing the therapeutic potential of these cells.

Challenges with Bone Marrow-Derived MSC

On the other hand, bone marrow-derived MSCs have been associated with clotting and clumping issues in various clinical trials. These complications can lead to a higher likelihood of lung entrapment and reduced therapeutic efficacy. As a result, umbilical cord-derived MSCs may be a more promising option for intravenous administration due to their ability to navigate the pulmonary circulation more effectively, minimizing the impact of the pulmonary first pass effect.

The use of umbilical cord-derived MSCs in medical treatments has the potential to overcome some of the challenges associated with the pulmonary first pass effect. Their size and ability to travel through the bloodstream without getting entrapped in the lungs make them a promising candidate for intravenous administration in various regenerative medicine applications.

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Monitoring and Optimizing MSC Administration

Effective administration of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) is crucial for maximizing their therapeutic potential in various medical applications. To achieve optimal results, healthcare professionals must closely monitor and optimize MSC administration by considering several key factors.

Firstly, understanding the pharmacokinetics of MSCs, including their absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion, is essential for determining the appropriate dosage, timing, and route of administration. This information allows for more precise delivery of MSCs, ensuring that they reach their target tissues and exert their therapeutic effects.

Secondly, healthcare professionals must consider the source of MSCs, as different sources may have varying implications for their therapeutic efficacy. For instance, umbilical cord-derived MSCs have been shown to possess a size advantage, allowing them to navigate the pulmonary circulation more effectively and minimize the impact of the pulmonary first pass effect. In contrast, bone marrow-derived MSCs have been associated with clotting and clumping issues, leading to a higher likelihood of lung entrapment and reduced therapeutic efficacy.

Lastly, ongoing monitoring of patient responses to MSC therapy is essential for ensuring patient safety and assessing treatment effectiveness. This involves tracking vital signs, blood test results, and any reported adverse events, as well as adjusting MSC administration protocols as needed based on individual patient needs and responses.

Plasma Protein and Isolated Perfused Lungs

Monitoring plasma protein levels and using isolated perfused rat lung models can provide valuable insights into the pulmonary first pass effect on MSCs. These methods help researchers understand the factors that influence MSC uptake in the lungs and systemic circulation, allowing for more effective optimization of MSC administration.

Pharmacokinetic Function and Therapeutic Concentrations

Understanding the pharmacokinetic function of MSCs is crucial for maintaining therapeutic concentrations in the bloodstream. By closely monitoring blood concentrations and other factors, healthcare professionals can ensure the proper dosage and administration of MSCs to achieve the desired therapeutic effects while minimizing adverse events.

Challenges and Solutions

In the realm of clinical applications, various challenges often arise that may impact the safety and effectiveness of therapies. A comprehensive understanding of these challenges, along with the development of innovative solutions, is crucial for advancing medical treatments and improving patient outcomes.

Adverse Drug Reactions and Drug Interaction Checks

While MSCs have shown great promise in regenerative medicine, it is essential to consider the potential for adverse drug reactions and interactions. Implementing thorough and appropriate drug interaction checks can help minimize the risk of complications and ensure that MSC therapy is safe and effective for patients.

Ensuring Safe and Effective Doses

Maintaining safe and effective doses of MSCs is a top priority for healthcare professionals. By monitoring blood concentrations, adverse events, and patient outcomes, healthcare teams can ensure that MSCs are administered at the optimal dosage to maximize their therapeutic potential while minimizing risks.

Experimental Therapeutics and Clinical Trials

As MSCs continue to be studied in experimental therapeutics and clinical trials, researchers are gaining valuable insights into their therapeutic potential and the role of the pulmonary first pass effect in their administration. These findings will help pave the way for new therapies and treatment options that harness the power of the first pass metabolism in MSCs.

Interprofessional Healthcare Team Communication

Effective communication among interprofessional healthcare teams is crucial for optimizing patient outcomes with MSC therapy. By working together and sharing their expertise, healthcare professionals can ensure that MSCs are administered safely and effectively, providing patients with the best possible care.

The Future of MSCs in Medicine

As research on MSCs continues to progress, it is likely that these cells will play an increasingly important role in medicine, particularly in the fields of regenerative medicine and tissue repair. By understanding the pulmonary first pass effect and other pharmacokinetic factors that influence MSC administration, healthcare professionals will be better equipped to harness the full potential of these remarkable cells in the treatment of various diseases and conditions.

Conclusion

The intravenous administration of mesenchymal stem cells holds great promise for a variety of medical applications, particularly in the fields of regenerative medicine and tissue repair. However, the pulmonary first pass effect plays a significant role in the pharmacokinetics of MSCs, influencing their blood concentrations drug metabolism and therapeutic potential.

By understanding and addressing the challenges posed by the pulmonary first pass effect, researchers and healthcare professionals can work together to optimize the delivery and efficacy of MSCs, ultimately improving patient outcomes and paving the way for new, innovative therapies.

Frequently asked questions

What are mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs)?

Mesenchymal stem cells are multipotent stromal cells that can differentiate into various cell types, including osteoblasts, chondrocytes, and adipocytes. They have potential applications in regenerative medicine and tissue repair.

What is the pulmonary first pass effect?

The pulmonary first pass effect refers to the phenomenon where a drug or substance is metabolized within the lungs before reaching systemic circulation. This process can significantly impact the concentration of a drug or therapy in the bloodstream, potentially altering its therapeutic effects.

How does the pulmonary first pass effect influence MSC therapy?

The pulmonary first pass effect can alter the concentration of MSCs in the bloodstream after intravenous administration, impacting their efficacy in medical treatments. Understanding this phenomenon is essential for optimizing the delivery and effectiveness of MSCs in various therapeutic applications.

What are some challenges associated with MSC administration and the pulmonary first pass effect?

Some challenges include ensuring safe and effective doses, minimizing the risk of adverse drug reactions and interactions, and maintaining therapeutic concentrations of MSCs in the bloodstream. Addressing these challenges is crucial for harnessing the full potential of MSCs in medicine.

How can healthcare professionals optimize MSC therapy considering the pulmonary first pass effect?

Healthcare professionals can optimize MSC therapy by monitoring blood concentrations, plasma protein levels, and adverse events, as well as working closely with interprofessional healthcare teams. Understanding the pharmacokinetic function of MSCs and the pulmonary first pass effect is essential for maximizing their therapeutic potential while minimizing risks.

References

(1) Fischer UM, Harting MT, Jimenez F, Monzon-Posadas WO, Xue H, Savitz SI, Laine GA, Cox CS Jr. Pulmonary passage is a major obstacle for intravenous stem cell delivery: the pulmonary first-pass effect. Stem Cells Dev. 2009 Jun;18(5):683-92. doi: 10.1089/scd.2008.0253. PMID: 19099374; PMCID: PMC3190292.

(2) Kim, H. S., Choi, D. Y., Yun, S. J., Choi, S. M., Kang, J. W., Jung, J. W., ... & Moon, W. K. (2014). Proteomic analysis of microvesicles derived from human mesenchymal stem cells. Journal of Stem Cell Research & Therapy, 1(1), 49. Retrieved from https://medcraveonline.com/JSRT/JSRT-01-00049.pdf

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