Abstract 2876: Early Retention and Subsequent Engraftment of Transplanted Progenitor Cells is Improved by Delivery within Collagen Matrix
Background: To investigate the mechanisms involved in the potentiation of cell therapy by delivery matrices, we evaluated the retention and engraftment of transplanted human circulating progenitor cells (CPCs) injected in a collagen matrix by using in vivo positron emission tomography (PET) imaging, ex vivo biodistribution, and immunohistochemistry.
Methods: CPCs were labeled with 18F-FDG and injected with or without a collagen type I-based matrix in the ischemic hindlimb muscle (IM) of rats (2x106 cells; n=15/group). Localization of cells was acquired by PET imaging (15 min) at 150 min post-injection. In addition, radionuclide biodistribution, immunofluorescence, and immunohistochemical examination of transplanted CPCs were performed at up to 14 days.
Results: Cell labeling efficiency was CPC-concentration dependent (r=0.61, p<0.001), but not 18F-FDG-dose dependent. Labeled CPCs exhibited excellent short-term stability and viability. Persistence of 18F-FDG radioactivity in cells was markedly greater than non-specific retention in the matrix. Wholebody (WB) PET images revealed better CPC retention in the IM and less non-specific leakage to other tissues when CPCs were delivered within the matrix (IM/WB retention ratio of 43.9±8.2%), compared to cells injected alone (22.3±10.4%; p=0.040) and to 18F-FDG injected with or without the matrix (9.7±5.5% and 11.0±5.5%, respectively; p<0.005). Radioactivity biodistribution confirmed that accumulation was increased (by 92.5%; p=0.024) in the IM and reduced (by 1.1 to 23.8%; p<0.05) in non-specific tissues when cells were injected within the matrix, compared to cells injected alone. Anti-human mitochondria staining showed increased cell retention in the IM with use of matrices (3.0±2.1%) versus cells only (1.9±0.8%; p=0.048). At 14 days the number of CD31+ transplanted human cells was greater (1.6±0.1%) when injected within the matrix than injected alone (0.7±0.1%; p=0.004).
Conclusions: Collagen-based delivery matrices improve the early retention of transplanted CPCs, which in turn favors subsequent cell engraftment in the ischemic tissue. This mechanism conferred by the matrix has potential implications for the optimization of cell therapy at the early stages after cell delivery.