Preferential Expansion of Human CD34+CD133+CD90+ Hematopoietic Stem Cells Enhances Gene-Modified Cell Frequency for Gene Therapy

Hum Gene Ther. 2022 Feb;33(3-4):188-201. doi: 10.1089/hum.2021.089. Epub 2022 Jan 7.


CD34+CD133+CD90+ hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are responsible for long-term multilineage hematopoiesis, and the high frequency of gene-modified HSCs is crucial for the success of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cell (HSPC) gene therapy. However, the ex vivo culture and gene manipulation steps of HSPC graft preparation significantly reduce the frequency of HSCs, thus necessitating large doses of HSPCs and reagents for the manipulation. In this study, we identified a combination of small molecules, Resveratrol, UM729, and SR1 that preferentially expands CD34+CD133+CD90+ HSCs over other subpopulations of adult HSPCs in ex vivo culture. The preferential expansion enriches the HSCs in ex vivo culture, enhances the adhesion, and results in a sixfold increase in the long-term engraftment in NSG mice. Further, the culture-enriched HSCs are more responsive to gene modification by lentiviral transduction and gene editing, increasing the frequency of gene-modified HSCs up to 10-fold in vivo. The yield of gene-modified HSCs obtained by the culture enrichment is similar to the sort-purification of HSCs and superior to Cyclosporin-H treatment. Our study addresses a critical challenge of low frequency of gene modified HSCs in HSPC graft by developing and demonstrating a facile HSPC culture condition that increases the frequency of gene-modified cells in vivo. This strategy will improve the outcome of HSPC gene therapy and also simplify the gene manipulation process.

Keywords: HSC gene manipulation; gene editing; gene therapy; hematopoietic stem cells; lentiviral; long-term engraftment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, CD34 / genetics
  • Antigens, CD34 / metabolism
  • Fetal Blood
  • Genetic Therapy
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation* / methods
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells* / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred NOD
  • Mice, SCID


  • Antigens, CD34