Systemic and Local Administration of Allogeneic Bone Marrow-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells Promotes Fracture Healing in Rats

Cell Transplant. 2015;24(12):2643-55. doi: 10.3727/096368915X687219. Epub 2015 Feb 2.


Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are immune privileged and a cell source for tissue repair. Previous studies showed that there is systemic mobilization of osteoblastic precursors to the fracture site. We hypothesized that both systemic and local administration of allogeneic MSCs may promote fracture healing. Bone marrow-derived MSCs and skin fibroblasts were isolated from GFP Sprague-Dawley rats, cultured, and characterized. Closed transverse femoral fracture with internal fixation was established in 48 adult male Sprague-Dawley rats, which were randomly assigned into four groups receiving PBS injection, MSC systemic injection, fibroblast systemic injection, and MSC fracture site injection; 2 × 10(6) cells were injected at 4 days after fracture. All animals were sacrificed at 5 weeks after fracture; examinations included weekly radiograph, micro-CT, mechanical testing, histology, immunohistochemistry, and double immunofluorescence. The callus size of MSC injection groups was significantly larger among all the groups. Radiographs and 3D reconstruction images showed that the fracture gaps united in the MSC injected groups, while gaps were still seen in the fibroblast and PBS injection groups. The mechanical properties were significantly higher in the MSC injection groups than those in the fibroblast and PBS groups, but no difference was found between the MSC local and systemic injection groups. Immunohistochemistry and double immunofluorescence demonstrated that GFP-positive MSCs were present in the callus in the MSC injection groups at 5 weeks after fracture, and some differentiated into osteoblasts. Quantitative analysis revealed the number of GFP-positive cells in the callus in the MSC systemic injection group was significantly lower than that of the MSC local injection group. The proportion of GFP osteoblasts in GFP-positive cells in the MSC systemic injection group was significantly lower than that of the MSC local injection group. These findings provide critical insight for developing MSC-based therapies, and systemic injection of allogeneic MSCs may be a novel treatment method for promoting fracture repair.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Marrow Cells / cytology
  • Bone Regeneration
  • Bone and Bones / diagnostic imaging
  • Bone and Bones / metabolism
  • Bony Callus / growth & development*
  • Cell- and Tissue-Based Therapy / methods
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Femoral Fractures / diagnostic imaging
  • Femoral Fractures / therapy*
  • Fibroblasts / cytology
  • Fibroblasts / transplantation*
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Male
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Osteoblasts / cytology
  • Osteogenesis / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Skin / cytology
  • Transplantation, Homologous
  • X-Ray Microtomography


  • Green Fluorescent Proteins