Multiorgan Engraftment of Human Somatic Cells in Swine Foetuses After Intra-Blastocyst Transplantation

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ContentsAdult human stem cells, mainly from hematopoietic lineage, have been injected into developing pre-immune animal foetuses, and xenogenic engraftment of liver and other organs has been reported. We isolated a rare cell population from adult human liver, fat and skin. Colonies with few cells became visible as early as 2–3 days, and a fully formed colony took 10–14 days to form. These colonies were named as liver-derived cell lines (LDCs), fat-derived cell lines (FDCs) and skin-derived cell lines (SDCs). All these cells express few pluripotency markers like Klf4, c-myc and Sox2. Pig blastocysts were injected with LDCs, FDCs and SDCs and transferred to recipient pigs. We achieved an overall pregnancy rate of 71.4% at day 35. The foetuses were analysed for human cell chimerism in liver, kidney and heart both by RT-PCR and real-time PCR using primers specific to human and pig mitochondrial DNA. The percentage of foetuses showing chimerism was 17.4% (4/23), 12.5% (2/16) and 11.1% (1/9) for LDCs, FDCs and SDCs, respectively. Of these, 42.9% (three out of seven) showed chimerism in liver and 71.4% (five out of seven) showed kidney chimerism. However, we did not detect any chimerism in the heart. The level of chimerism varied and was in the range of one human cell per one hundred thousand to one million pig cells.

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