Apoptosis affects integration frequency: Adult stem cells injected in blastocysts show high caspase-3 activity


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Chimeric organisms are commonly generated by injecting stem cells into blastocysts. Embryonic stem cells injected into the blastocoel cavity participate in the further development of the embryo. Adult stem cells have also been used in injection experiments to study their potential plasticity.

In this study we focused on the early fate of injected human adult hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). HSCs were followed immunohistochemically 1–19 h after injection into murine blastocysts. We found that they only rarely attached and integrated into the blastocysts. The high rate of loss of injected cells after prolonged in vitro culture of the chimeras can be explained by apoptosis. Our findings are consistent with previous studies reporting a low rate of integration of adult cells injected to produce chimeric embryos, but this is the first demonstration that the low efficiency of adult stem cell injections into blastocysts is influenced by apoptosis.