Bioimaging for the monitoring of the in vivo distribution of infused mesenchymal stem cells in a mouse model of the graft-versus-host reaction


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Cell therapy using MSCs (mesenchymal stem cells) might be effective treatment for refractory GVHD (graft-versus-host disease). However, the fate and distribution of MSCs after transplantation remains unclear. In this study, an animal model was developed to monitor the dynamic distribution of MSCs in mice with GVHD. A GVHD mouse model was established by transplanting C57BL/6 donor bone marrow cells and C57BL/6 EGFP (enhanced green fluorescent protein) splenocytes into lethally irradiated BALB/c nude recipient mice. Donor MSCs were obtained from MHC-identical C57BL/6 RFP (red fluorescent protein) mice and infused into the recipient mice on the same transplantation day. In vivo movement of the donor splenocytes (EGFP) and MSCs (RFP) were evaluated by measuring the biofluorescence (IVIS—Xenogen system). Donor splenocytes and MSCs reached the lungs first, and then the gastrointestinal tract, lymph nodes and skin, in that order; the transit time and localization site of these cells were very similar. In the recipient mouse with GVHD, the number of detectable cells declined with time, as assessed by biofluorescence imaging and confirmed by RT (real-time)-PCR. This bioimaging system might be useful for preclinical testing and the design of therapeutic strategies for monitoring the dynamic distribution of MSCs with GVHD.