Mesenchymal Stromal Cells Are Retained in the Renal Cortex Independently of Their Metabolic State After Renal Intra-Arterial Infusion

Jesus M. Sierra-Parraga*, Anders Munk, Christine Andersen, Stine Lohmann, Cyril Moers, Carla C. Baan, Rutger J. Ploeg, Merel Pool, Anna K. Keller, Bjarne K. Moller, Henri Leuvenink, Martin J. Hoogduijn, Bente Jespersen, Marco Eijken

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


The regenerative capacities of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) make them suitable for renal regenerative therapy. The most common delivery route of MSC is through intravenous infusion, which is associated with off-target distribution. Renal intra-arterial delivery offers a targeted therapy, but limited knowledge is available regarding the fate of MSCs delivered through this route. Therefore, we studied the efficiency and tissue distribution of MSCs after renal intra-arterial delivery to a porcine renal ischemia-reperfusion model. MSCs were isolated from adipose tissue of healthy male pigs, fluorescently labeled and infused into the renal artery of female pigs. Flow cytometry allowed MSC detection and quantification in tissue and blood. In addition, quantitative polymerase chain reaction was used to trace MSCs by their Y-chromosome. During infusion, a minor number of MSCs left the kidney through the renal vein, and no MSCs were identified in arterial blood. Ischemic and healthy renal tissues were analyzed 30 min and 8 h after infusion, and 1-4 x 10(4) MSCs per gram of tissue were detected, predominantly, in the renal cortex, with a viability >70%. Confocal microscopy demonstrated mainly glomerular localization of MSCs, but they were also observed in the capillary network around tubuli. The infusion of heat-inactivated (HI) MSCs, which are metabolically inactive, through the renal artery showed that HI-MSCs were distributed in the kidney in a similar manner to regular MSCs, suggesting a passive retention mechanism. Long-term MSC survival was analyzed by Y-chromosome tracing, and demonstrated that a low percentage of the infused MSCs were present in the kidney 14 days after administration, while HI-MSCs were completely undetectable. In conclusion, renal intra-arterial MSC infusion limited off-target engraftment, leading to efficient MSC delivery to the kidney, most of them being cleared within 14 days. MSC retention was independent of the metabolic state of MSC, indicating a passive mechanism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1224-1235
Number of pages12
JournalStem cells and development
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 16-Sep-2019


  • mesenchymal stromal cells
  • renal intra-arterial
  • cell therapy
  • ischemia-reperfusion injury
  • porcine model

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