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Stem Cells International
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 4061975, 13 pages
Research Article

Long-Term Safety of Transplanting Human Bone Marrow Stromal Cells into the Extravascular Spaces of the Choroid of Rabbits

1Maurice and Gabriela Goldschleger Eye Institute, Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, Israel
2Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel
3Center for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine, Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, Israel
4Department of Chemistry, Bar-Ilan Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials, Ramat Gan 52900, Israel
5Hematology Division, Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, Israel

Correspondence should be addressed to Ygal Rotenstreich

Received 1 November 2016; Revised 26 February 2017; Accepted 2 April 2017; Published 18 June 2017

Academic Editor: Yonathan Garfias

Copyright © 2017 Adi Tzameret 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.


Incurable neuroretinal degeneration diseases cause severe vision loss and blindness in millions of patients worldwide. In previous studies, we demonstrated that transplanting human bone marrow stromal cells (hBMSCs) in the extravascular spaces of the choroid (EVSC) of the Royal College of Surgeon rats ameliorated retinal degeneration for up to 5 months. Assessing the safety of hBMSC treatment and graft survival in a large animal is a crucial step before initiating clinical trials. Here, we transplanted hBMSCs into the EVSC compartment of New Zealand White rabbits. No immunosuppressants were used. Transplanted cells were spread across the EVSC covering over 80 percent of the subretinal surface. No cells were detected in the sclera. Cells were retained in the EVSC compartment 10 weeks following transplantation. Spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) and histopathology analysis demonstrated no choroidal hemorrhages, retinal detachment, inflammation, or any untoward pathological reactions in any of transplanted eyes or in the control noninjected contralateral eyes. No reduction in retinal function was recorded by electroretinogram up to 10 weeks following transplantation. This study demonstrates the feasibility and safety of transplanting hBMSCs in the EVSC compartment in a large eye model of rabbits.