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Blood Cells Mol Dis. 2001 Jan-Feb;27(1):296-308.

Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in utero produces sheep-goat chimeras.

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Department of Animal Science, University of California, Davis, California 95616, USA.


Both allogeneic and xenogeneic hematopoietic chimera models have been developed, including fetal sheep models that demonstrated high levels of stable, multilineage engraftment created by in utero hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. The aim of this study was to test the efficacy of in utero transplantation to create xenogeneic sheep-goat hematopoietic chimeras. Fetal liver cells and T-cell-depleted adult bone marrow were tested as sources of hematopoietic stem cells. Donor cells were injected intraperitoneally into 130 recipient fetuses between 49 and 62 days of gestation. Groups 1 and 2 received crude fetal liver cell preparations. Group 3 received fetal liver cells that were incubated overnight in a phytohemagglutinin-stimulated lymphocyte-conditioned medium (PHA-LCM). In Group 4, hematopoietic stem cells were concentrated by using additional density separations. Group 5 fetal recipients received low-density, T-cell-depleted adult bone marrow cells. In Group 1, fetuses were accessed via hysterotomy. Hematopoietic stem cells were injected into Groups 2, 3, 4, and 5 without cutting through the uterine wall. Fetal survival in the five groups ranged from 56 to 100%. The percentage of chimeras from injected fetuses ranged from 43 to 92% by FACS and PCR analyses; however, levels of chimerism were low (<1%). The highest rates of chimerism were found among recipients of low-density fetal liver cells. Despite the pre-immunocompetent status of the fetal recipients and the genetic similarities between sheep and goats, high levels of engraftment were not observed. The consistently low levels of chimerism observed in this study, as well as the poor results recently reported by others using these procedures, indicate that significant barriers exist to transplanting hematopoietic stem cells in utero.

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