Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) using umbilical cord blood (UCB) progenitors is increasingly being used. One of the problems that may arise after UCB transplantation is an impaired engraftment. Either intrabone (IB) injection of hematopoietic progenitors or mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) coadministration has been proposed among the strategies to improve engraftment. In the current study, we have assessed the effects of both approaches. Thus, NOD/SCID recipients were transplanted with human UCB CD34+ cells administered either intravenously (IV) or IB, receiving or not bone marrow (BM)-derived MSCs also IV or IB (in the right femur). Human HSC engraftment was measured 3 and 6 weeks after transplantation. Injected MSCs were tracked weekly by bioluminescence. Also, lodgment within the BM niche was assessed at the latter time point by immunofluorescence. Our study shows regarding HSC engraftment that the number of BM human CD45+ cells detected 3 weeks after transplantation was significantly higher in mice cotransplanted with human MSCs. Moreover, these mice had a higher myeloid (CD13+) engraftment and a faster B-cell (CD19+) chimerism. At the late time point evaluated (6 weeks), human engraftment was higher in the group in which both strategies were employed (IB injection of HSC and MSC coadministration). When assessing human MSC administration route, we were able to track MSCs only in the injected femurs, whereas they lost their signal in the contralateral bones. These human MSCs were mainly located around blood vessels in the subendosteal region. In summary, our study shows that MSC coadministration can enhance HSC engraftment in our xenogenic transplantation model, as well as IB administration of the CD34+ cells does. The combination of both strategies seems to be synergistic. Interestingly, MSCs were detected only where they were IB injected contributing to the vascular niche.
- Bone marrow microenvironment
- Cordon blood transplantation
- Hematopoietic engraftment
- Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs)