Aim: To study the ability of human adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (AMSCs) to survive over the short and long term, their biodistribution and their biosafety in vivo in tumor-prone environments.
Methods: We subcutaneously injected human AMSCs from different human donors into immunodeficient SCID mice over both short- (2 and 4 mo) and long- (17 mo) term in young, and aged tumor-prone mice. Presence of human cells was studied by immunohistochemistry and polymerase chain reaction analysis in all organs of injected mice.
Results: Subcutaneously injected AMSCs did not form teratomas at any time point. They did not migrate but remained at the site of injection regardless of animal age, and did not fuse with host cells in any organ examined. AMSCs survived in vivo for at least 17 mo after injection, and differentiated into fibroblasts of the subdermic connective tissue and into mature adipocytes of fat tissue, exclusively at the site of injection.
Conclusion: Our results support the assertion that AMSC may be safe candidates for therapy when injected subcutaneously because of their long term inability to form teratomas.
Keywords: Adipose-derived stem cells; Biosafety; Cell therapy; Cell transplant; Mesenchymal stem cells; SCID mice; Teratoma.