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J Ocul Pharmacol Ther. 2012 Jun;28(3):307-17. doi: 10.1089/jop.2011.0166. Epub 2011 Dec 16.

Periocular and intra-articular injection of canine adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells: an in vivo imaging and migration study.

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Department of Surgical and Radiological Sciences, University of California, Davis, California 95616, USA.



Immune-mediated diseases affect millions of people worldwide with an economic impact measured in the billions of dollars. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are being investigated in the treatment of certain immune mediated diseases, but their application in the treatment of the majority of these disorders remains largely unexplored. Keratoconjunctivitis sicca can occur as a result of progressive immune-mediated destruction of lacrimal tissue in dogs and humans, and immune-mediated joint disease is common to both species. In dogs, allogeneic MSC engraftment and migration have yet to be investigated in vivo in the context of repeated injections.


With these aims in mind, the engraftment of allogeneic canine MSCs after an injection into the periocular and intra-articular regions was followed in vivo using magnetic resonance and fluorescent imaging.


The cells were shown to be resident near the site of the injection for a minimum of 2 weeks. Analysis of 61 tissues demonstrated preferential migration and subsequent engraftment of MSCs in the thymus as well as the gastrointestinal tract. These results also detail a novel in vivo imaging technique and demonstrate the differential spatial distribution of MSCs after migration away from the sites of local delivery.


The active engraftment of the MSCs in combination with their previously documented immunomodulatory capabilities suggests the potential for therapeutic benefit in using MSCs for the treatment of periocular and joint diseases with immune involvement.

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