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Stem Cells International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 939275, 13 pages
Research Article

Long-Term Quantitative Biodistribution and Side Effects of Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells (hMSCs) Engraftment in NOD/SCID Mice following Irradiation

1PRP-HOM, SRBE, Laboratory of Radiopathology and Experimental Therapy, Radiological Protection and Human Health Division, Institute of Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety, 92260 Fontenay-aux-Roses, France
2UMRS 938 Department of Hematology, Saint Antoine Hospital APHP and UPMC University, 75012 Paris, France

Received 2 May 2013; Revised 21 November 2013; Accepted 22 November 2013; Published 11 February 2014

Academic Editor: Mauro Krampera

Copyright © 2014 Sabine François et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


There is little information on the fate of infused mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and long-term side effects after irradiation exposure. We addressed these questions using human MSCs (hMSCs) intravenously infused to nonobese diabetic/severe combined immunodeficient (NOD/SCID) mice submitted to total body irradiation (TBI) or local irradiation (abdominal or leg irradiation). The animals were sacrificed 3 to 120 days after irradiation and the quantitative and spatial distribution of hMSCs were studied by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Following their infusion into nonirradiated animals, hMSCs homed to various tissues. Engraftment depended on the dose of irradiation and the area exposed. Total body irradiation induced an increased hMSC engraftment level compared to nonirradiated mice, while local irradiations increased hMSC engraftment locally in the area of irradiation. Long-term engraftment of systemically administered hMSCs in NOD/SCID mice increased significantly in response to tissue injuries produced by local or total body irradiation until 2 weeks then slowly decreased depending on organs and the configuration of irradiation. In all cases, no tissue abnormality or abnormal hMSCs proliferation was observed at 120 days after irradiation. This work supports the safe and efficient use of MSCs by injection as an alternative approach in the short- and long-term treatment of severe complications after radiotherapy for patients refractory to conventional treatments.