Immunohistochemical toolkit for tracking and quantifying xenotransplanted human stem cells

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Biomarker-based tracking of human stem cells xenotransplanted into animal models is crucial for studying their fate in the field of cell therapy or tumor xenografting.

Materials & methods:

Using immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization, we analyzed the expression of three human-specific biomarkers: Ku80, human mitochondria (hMito) and Alu.


We showed that Ku80, hMito and Alu biomarkers are broadly expressed in human tissues with no or low cross-reactivity toward rat, mouse or pig tissues. In vitro, we demonstrated that their expression is stable over time and does not change along the differentiation of human-derived induced pluripotent stem cells or human glial-restricted precursors. We tracked in vivo these cell populations after transplantation in rodent spinal cords using aforementioned biomarkers and human-specific antibodies detecting apoptotic, proliferating or neural-committed cells.


This study assesses the human-species specificity of Ku80, hMito and Alu, and proposes useful biomarkers for characterizing human stem cells in xenotransplantation paradigms.

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