Research Alert


Poor graft function or graft failure after allogeneic stem cell transplantation is an unmet medical need, in which mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC) constitute an attractive potential therapeutic approach. Hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) overexpression in MSC (HIF-MSC) potentiates the angiogenic and immunomodulatory properties of these cells, so we hypothesized that co-transplantation of MSC-HIF with CD34+ human cord blood cells would also enhance hematopoietic stem cell engraftment and function both in vitro and in vivo.


Human MSC were obtained from dental pulp. Lentiviral overexpression of HIF-1α was performed transducing cells with pWPI-green fluorescent protein (GFP) (MSC WT) or pWPI-HIF-1α-GFP (HIF-MSC) expression vectors. Human cord blood CD34+ cells were co-cultured with MSC WT or HIF-MSC (4:1) for 72 h. Then, viability (Annexin V and 7-AAD), cell cycle, ROS expression and immunophenotyping of key molecules involved in engraftment (CXCR4, CD34, ITGA4, c-KIT) were evaluated by flow cytometry in CD34+ cells. In addition, CD34+ cells clonal expansion was analyzed by clonogenic assays. Finally, in vivo engraftment was measured by flow cytometry 4-weeks after CD34+ cell transplantation with or without intrabone MSC WT or HIF-MSC in NOD/SCID mice.


We did not observe significant differences in viability, cell cycle and ROS expression between CD34+ cells co-cultured with MSC WT or HIF-MSC. Nevertheless, a significant increase in CD34, CXCR4 and ITGA4 expression (p = 0.009; p = 0.001; p = 0.013, respectively) was observed in CD34+ cells co-cultured with HIF-MSC compared to MSC WT. In addition, CD34+ cells cultured with HIF-MSC displayed a higher CFU-GM clonogenic potential than those cultured with MSC WT (p = 0.048). We also observed a significant increase in CD34+ cells engraftment ability when they were co-transplanted with HIF-MSC compared to CD34+ co-transplanted with MSC WT (p = 0.016) or alone (p = 0.015) in both the injected and contralateral femurs (p = 0.024, p = 0.008 respectively).


Co-transplantation of human CD34+ cells with HIF-MSC enhances cell engraftment in vivo. This is probably due to the ability of HIF-MSC to increase clonogenic capacity of hematopoietic cells and to induce the expression of adhesion molecules involved in graft survival in the hematopoietic niche.

Other Link: Publisher Website Other Link: Download PDF

Register for reporter access to contact details

Publisher Website; Download PDF