Ectopic humanized mesenchymal niche in mice enables robust engraftment of myelodysplastic stem cells


Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) are clonal stem cell diseases characterized mainly by ineffective hematopoiesis. Here, we present an approach that enables robust long-term engraftment of primary MDS stem cells (MDS-SC) in mice by implantation of human mesenchymal cell-seeded scaffolds. Critically for modeling MDS, where patient sample material is limiting, mononuclear bone marrow cells containing as few as 104 CD34+ cells can be engrafted and expanded by this approach with the maintenance of the genetic make-up seen in the patients. Noninvasive high-resolution ultrasound imaging shows that these scaffolds are fully perfused. Our data show that the human microenvironment but not mouse is essential to MDS-SC homing and engraftment. Notably, the alternative niche provided by healthy donor mesenchymal stromal cells enhances engraftment of MDS-SCs. This study characterizes a new tool to model MDS human disease with the level of engraftment previously unattainable in mice and offers insights into human-specific determinants of the MDS-SC microenvironment. SIGNIFICANCE: These findings are significant for understanding the niche dependence of MDS. This report provides the evidence of the migratory behavior of hematopoietic stem cells in myeloid cancers. Our model offers a unique opportunity to study the clonal behavior of the myeloid/lymphoid cancers and delineate how cancer cells interact with different niches.

Journal details

Volume 2
Issue number 2
Pages 135-145
Available online
Publication date