Influence of a dual-injection regimen, plerixafor and CXCR4 on in utero hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and engraftment with use of the sheep model.

PMID 25108653


Inadequate engraftment of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) after in utero HSC transplantation (IUHSCT) remains a major obstacle for the prenatal correction of numerous hereditary disorders. HSCs express CXCR4 receptors that allow homing and engraftment in response to stromal-derived factor 1 (SDF-1) ligand present in the bone marrow stromal niche. Plerixafor, a mobilization drug, works through the interruption of the CXCR4-SDF-1 axis. We used the fetal sheep large-animal model to test our hypotheses that (i) by administering plerixafor in utero before performing IUHSCT to release fetal HSCs and thus vacating recipient HSC niches, (ii) by using human mesenchymal stromal/stem cells (MSCs) to immunomodulate and humanize the fetal BM niches and (iii) by increasing the CXCR4(+) fraction of CD34(+) HSCs, we could improve engraftment. Human cord blood-derived CD34(+) cells and human bone marrow-derived MSCs were used for these studies. When MSCs were transplanted 1 week before CD34(+) cells with plerixafor treatment, we observed 2.80% donor hematopoietic engraftment. Combination of this regimen with additional CD34(+) cells at the time of MSC infusion increased engraftment levels to 8.77%. Next, increasing the fraction of CXCR4(+) cells in the CD34(+) population albeit transplanting at a late gestation age was not beneficial. Our results show engraftment of both lymphoid and myeloid lineages. Prior MSC and HSC cotransplantation followed by manipulation of the CXCR4-SDF-1 axis in IUHSCT provides an innovative conceptual approach for conferring competitive advantage to donor HSCs. Our novel approach could provide a clinically relevant approach for enhancing engraftment early in the fetus.