This week, our featured speaker is Dr. Jessica Quimby, DVM, PhD, DACVIM (  from Colorado State University.  While her topic for our upcoming symposium will  be “Stem cells and chronic kidney disease,” she and her colleagues have also researched the potential of stem cells to help with other diseases, including feline asthma ( Below is the abstract from one of their publications.

J Feline Med Surg. 2015 Sep 17. pii: 1098612X15604351. [Epub ahead of print]

Intravenous adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cell therapy for the treatment of feline asthma: a pilot study.

Trzil JE1Masseau I2Webb TL3Chang CH4Dodam JR2Liu H5Quimby JM3Dow SW3Reinero CR6.

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The aim of this study was to evaluate the feasibility and efficacy of serially administered adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in an experimental feline asthma model.


Allergic asthma was acutely induced with Bermuda grass allergen in six purpose-bred cats. Five intravenous infusions of allogeneic MSCs (n = 4; MSC-treated) or saline (n = 2; placebo-treated) were administered over the first 130 days after asthma induction. Infusions contained 2 × 106, 4 × 106, 4.7 × 106, 1 × 107 and 1 × 107 cryopreserved MSCs/cat. For thoracic imaging additional cats were enrolled as control groups: four untreated, experimentally asthmatic cats (combined with placebo-treated cats), and six healthy, non-asthmatic cats. Outcome measures included airway eosinophilia, pulmonary mechanics, thoracic computed tomography and several immunologic assays.


Cats were assessed for 9 months after treatment. At early points, airway eosinophil percentage was not affected by MSC administration (post-treatment average of days 12, 26, 47, 108 and 133 in MSC-treated cats was 41 ± 15% and in placebo-treated cats it was 34 ± 16%). By month 9, eosinophil percentages in all MSC-treated cats decreased to normal reference intervals (MSC-treated 6%; placebo-treated 20%; normal <17%). Diminished airway hyper-responsiveness was noted in all MSC-treated compared with placebo-treated cats at day 133 (dose of methacholine to double baseline airway resistance: MSC-treated median 22.9 mg/ml [range 6.4-64.0]; individual placebo-treated cats 1.1 and 5.0 mg/ml). Lung attenuation (mean ± SEM MSC-treated -865 ± 12 Hounsfield units [HU]; untreated asthmatics -820 ± 11 HU; P = 0.004) and bronchial wall thickening scores (median [interquartile range] MSC-treated 0 [0-1.5]; untreated asthmatic 11.6 [7.3-27.3]; P = 0.010) were significantly reduced in MSC-treated vs untreated asthmatic cats, consistent with decreased airway remodeling at month 9. No clear immunologic mechanisms by which MSCs act were determined.


MSCs may have a delayed effect in reducing airway inflammation, airway hyper-responsiveness and remodeling in experimentally induced asthmatic cats. Results warrant additional investigation of MSC therapy for asthma in cats.