Donor cell expansion is delayed following nonablative in utero transplantation to treat murine mucopolysaccharidosis type VII.

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Exp Hematol 2003 Nov; 31(11):1112-8.


To block development of progressive childhood diseases, in utero transplantation (IUTx) requires immediate and significant donor peripheral blood (PB) cell amplification. To date, negligible and nontherapeutic donor PB cell levels have been observed postnatally, except in patients with immunodeficiency diseases. Donor cell fate in utero still is not clear. Ease of identifying and quantifying beta-glucuronidase (GUSB)-expressing donor cells in GUSB-null mucopolysaccharidosis type VII (MPSVII) mouse recipients allowed us to evaluate temporal donor cell engraftment and amplification post-IUTx. Like humans, MPSVII mice are unable to catabolize lysosomal glycosaminoglycans and progressively develop severe storage disease unless they are treated early in life.IUTx recipients were nonablated MPSVII fetuses and genetically stem cell-deficient, and hence myeloablated, W(41)/W(41) MPSVII fetuses. Donor GUSB+ cells were identified and counted in histochemical tissue sections. Quantitative results were confirmed by flow cytometry, enzyme analysis, and histopathology.Whereas GUSB+ cells engraft in most tissues in utero, significant amplification does not occur until the first postnatal week in the nonablated MPSVII hosts. In contrast, genetically myeloablated MPSVII recipients display widely distributed donor cell replacement accompanied by extensive amplification in utero. In both models, storage is alleviated in adult tissues with significant donor cell repopulation.To become therapeutic, IUTx must overcome the limitations of donor cell expansion in the highly competitive fetal environment. Fortunately, nonablative mechanisms to amplify cells in utero are coming on line.