Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover (TiHo)

Repeated intra-articular administration of equine allogeneic peripheral blood-derived mesenchymal stem cells does not induce a cellular and humoral immune response in horses

Objective

The use of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) for the treatment of equine joint disease is widely investigated because of their regenerative and immunomodulatory potential. Allogeneic MSCs provide a promising alternative to autologous MSCs, since the former are immediately available and enable a thorough donor screening. However, questions have been raised concerning the immunogenic potential of allogeneic MSCs, especially after repeated administration.

Methods

Current retrospective study assessed the cellular and humoral immunogenicity of ten jumping and dressage horses with naturally occurring degenerative joint disease which were treated 3 times intra-articularly with a 1 mL stem cell suspension containing 1.4-2.5 million chondrogenic induced equine allogeneic peripheral blood-derived MSCs (ciMSCs) combined with 1 mL equine allogeneic plasma. Stem cells from 2 donor horses were used. Horses were clinically evaluated for joint effusion, presence of pain to palpation and skin surface temperature at the local injection site, joint range of motion, occurrence of adverse events and the presence of ectopic tissue. The cellular immune response was analyzed using a modified mixed lymphocyte reaction and the humoral immune response was investigated using a flow cytometric crossmatch assay by which the presence of alloantibodies against the ciMSCs was evaluated. Presence of anti-bovine serum albumin antibodies was detected via ELISA.

Results

Clinical evaluation of the horses revealed no serious adverse effects or suspected adverse drug reactions and no ectopic tissue formation at the local injection site or in other areas of the body. Generally, repeated administration led to a decrease of horses with joint effusion of the affected joint. Pain to palpation, skin surface temperature and joint range of motion did not increase or even decreased after treatment administration. Allogeneic ciMSCs did not induce a cellular immune response and no alloantibodies were detected in the recipients' serum, regardless the presence of BSA antibodies in 70 % of the horses.

Conclusion

Repeated intra-articular injections with allogeneic equine ciMSCs did not elicit clinically relevant adverse events. Furthermore, current study indicates the absence of a cellular or a humoral immune response following repeated intra-articular injections.

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