Efficacy and Safety of Immuno-Magnetically Sorted Smooth Muscle Progenitor Cells Derived from Human-Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells for Restoring Urethral Sphincter Function

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Abstract

Human-induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs)-based cell therapy holds promise for treating stress urinary incontinence (SUI). However, safety concerns, especially tumorgenic potential of residual undifferentiated cells in hiPSC derivatives, are major barriers for its clinical translation. An efficient, fast and clinical-scale strategy for purifying committed cells is also required. Our previous studies demonstrated the regenerative effects of hiPSC-derived smooth muscle progenitor cells (pSMCs) on the injured urethral sphincter in SUI, but the differentiation protocol required fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) which is not practical for autologous clinical applications. In this study, we examined the efficacy and safety of hiPSC-derived pSMC populations sorted by FDA-approved magnetic-activated cell sorting (MACS) using cell-surface marker CD34 for restoring urethral sphincter function. Although the heterogeneity of MACS-sorted pSMCs was higher than that of FACS-sorted pSMCs, the percentage of undifferentiated cells dramatically decreased after directed differentiation in vitro. In vivo studies demonstrated long-term cell integration and no tumor formation of MACS-sorted pSMCs after transplantation. Furthermore, transplantation of MACS-sorted pSMCs into immunodeficient SUI rats was comparable to transplantation with FACS-sorted pSMCs for restoration of the extracellular matrix metabolism and function of the urethral sphincter. In summary, purification of hiPSC derivatives using MACS sorting for CD34 expression represent an efficient approach for production of clinical-scale pSMCs for autologous stem cell therapy for regeneration of smooth muscle tissues. Stem Cells Translational Medicine 2017;6:1158–1167

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