H Lu, T Cook, C Poirier, S Merfeld-Clauss, I Petrache, KL March, NV Bogatcheva
Transplantation of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) has been shown to effectively prevent lung injury in several preclinical models of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Since MSC therapy is tested in clinical trials for ARDS, there is an increased need to define the dynamics of cell trafficking and organ-specific accumulation. We examined how the presence of ARDS changes retention and organ-specific distribution of intravenously delivered MSCs isolated from subcutaneous adipose tissue [adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs)]. This type of cell therapy was previously shown to ameliorate ARDS pathology. ARDS was triggered by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) aspiration, 4 h after which 300,000 murine CRE+ ADSCs were delivered intravenously. The distribution of ADSCs in the lungs and other organs was assessed by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) of genomic DNA. As anticipated, the majority of delivered ADSCs accumulated in the lungs of both control and LPS-challenged mice, with minor amounts distributed to the liver, kidney, spleen, heart, and brain. Interestingly, within 2 h following ADSC administration, LPS-challenged lungs retained significantly lower levels of ADSCs compared to control lungs (∼7% vs. 15% of the original dose, respectively), whereas the liver, kidney, spleen, and brain of ARDS-affected animals retained significantly higher numbers of ADSCs compared to control animals. In contrast, 48 h later, only LPS-challenged lungs continued to retain ADSCs (∼3% of the original dose), whereas the lungs of control animals and nonpulmonary organs in either control or ARDS mice had no detectable levels of ADSCs. Our data suggest that the pulmonary microenvironment during ARDS may lessen the pulmonary capillary occlusion by MSCs immediately following cell delivery while facilitating pulmonary retention of the cells.