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Cell Transplant. 2009;18(12):1369-79. doi: 10.3727/096368909X474230. Epub 2009 Sep 28.

Intravenous administration of 99mTc-HMPAO-labeled human mesenchymal stem cells after stroke: in vivo imaging and biodistribution.

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INSERM, U836, Grenoble Cedex 9, France.


Human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSC) are a promising source for cell therapy after stroke. To deliver these cells, an IV injection appears safer than a local graft. We aimed to assess the whole-body biodistribution of IV-injected (99m)Tc-HMPAO-labeled hMSC in normal rats (n = 9) and following a right middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAo, n = 9). Whole-body nuclear imaging, isolated organ counting (at 2 and 20 h after injection) and histology were performed. A higher activity was observed in the right damaged hemisphere of the MCAo group [6.5 +/- 0.9 x 10(-3) % of injected dose (ID)/g] than in the control group (3.6 +/- 1.2 x 10(-3) %ID/g), 20 h after injection. In MCAo rats, right hemisphere activity was higher than that observed in the contralateral hemisphere at 2 h after injection (11.6 +/- 2.8 vs. 9.8 +/- 1.7 x 10(-3) %ID/g). Following an initial hMSC lung accumulation, there was a decrease in pulmonary activity from 2 to 20 h after injection in both groups. The spleen was the only organ in which activity increased between 2 and 20 h. The presence of hMSC was documented in the spleen, liver, lung, and brain following histology. IV-injected hMSC are transiently trapped in the lungs, can be sequestered in the spleen, and are predominantly eliminated by kidneys. After 20 h, more hMSC are found in the ischemic lesion than into the undamaged cerebral tissue. IV delivery of hMSC could be the initial route for a clinical trial of tolerance.

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