American journal of translational research

Co-transplantation with mesenchymal stem cells expressing a SDF-1/HOXB4 fusion protein markedly improves hematopoietic stem cell engraftment and hematogenesis in irradiated mice.

PMID 25628780


Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) contribute to the engraftment of transplanted hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). MSCs also accelerate hematological recovery by secreting SDF-1 and enabling HSCs to enter the bone marrow (BM) via the SDF-1/CXCR4 axis. HOXB4 has been shown to stimulate HSC self-renewal. In this study, we examined whether SDF-1 and HOXB4 expression in MSCs co-transplanted with HSCs could synergistically improve hematopoietic recovery in irradiated mice. Using recombinant adenoviruses, we generated genetically modified BM-MSCs that expressed SDF-1, HOXB4, and an SDF-1/HOXB4 fusion gene. We then co-transplanted these modified MSCs with HSCs and investigated blood cell counts, BM cellularity, degree of human HSC engraftment, and survival rate in irradiated mice. We found that co-culturing the SDF-1/HOXB4 fusion gene-modified MSCs (SDF-1/HOXB4-MSCs) and human umbilical cord blood CD34(+) cells significantly improved HSC cell expansion in vitro. More importantly, co-transplantation of CD34(+) cells and SDF-1/HOXB4-MSCs markedly increased the hematopoietic potential of irradiated mice as evidenced by the rapid recovery of WBC, PLT and HGB levels in peripheral blood and of BM cellularity. Co-transplantation also markedly improved engraftment of human CD45(+) cells in mouse BM. Our study demonstrates that SDF-1/HOXB4-MSCs markedly accelerate hematopoietic recovery and significantly improve survival among mice treated with a lethal dose of irradiation. Therefore, SDF-1/HOXB4-MSCs could have therapeutic value by improving the efficacy of clinical transplantations in patients with defective hematopoiesis.