In utero transplantation of human fetal haemopoietic cells in NOD/SCID mice

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We have previously demonstrated that high levels of allogeneic, donor-derived mouse haemopoietic progenitor cells engraft following in utero transplantation in NOD/SCID mice. To evaluate whether the fetal NOD/SCID haemopoietic microenvironment supports the growth and development of human fetal haemopoietic progenitor cells, we injected fetal liver mononuclear cells (FL) or fetal bone marrow (FBM) derived CD34+ cells into NOD/SCID mice on day 13/14 of gestation. At 8 weeks of age 12% of FBM recipients and 10% of FL recipients were found to have been successfully engrafted with CD45+ human cells. CD45+ cells were present in the BM of all chimaeric animals; 5/6 recipients showed engraftment of the spleen, and 4/6 recipients had circulating human cells in the peripheral blood (PB). The highest levels of donor cells were found in the BM, with up to 15% of the nucleated cells expressing human specific antigens. Multilineage human haemopoietic engraftment, including B cells (CD19), myelomonocytic cells (CD13/33) and haemopoietic progenitor cells (CD34), was detected in the BM of chimaeric mice. In contrast, no human CD3+ cells were detected in any of the tissues evaluated. When the absolute number of engrafted human cells in the PB, BM and spleens of chimaeric mice was determined, a mean 16-fold expansion of human donor cells was observed. Although multilineage engraftment occurs in these fetal recipients, both the frequency and the levels of engraftment are lower than those previously reported when human cells are transplanted into adult NOD/SCID recipients.

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