In utero bone marrow transplantation of fetal baboons with mismatched adult marrow: Initial observations

G. D. Roodman, J. L. Vandeberg, T. J. Kuehl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations


Recent advances in prenatal diagnoses of sickle cell anemia and thalassemia permit early identification of affected fetuses. However, the only intervention possible to date is abortion of the affected fetuses. Transplantation of normal marrow into fetuses in utero could correct these life-threatening disorders, but to accomplish this techniques must be developed for fetal transplantation in man. Therefore, we have transplanted fetal baboons with mismatched adult baboon bone marrow from donors that differed at the glucose phosphate isomerase locus. Twenty-two fetuses between 60 and 160 days of gestation (term gestation is 182 days) were transplanted intraperitoneally with 109 marrow mononuclear cells/kg body weight using an ultrasonic technique. No immunosuppressive or preparative regimen was given prior to or after transplantation, and all fetuses tolerated the procedure well. One month after transplantation fetal blood samples were obtained to assess chimerism. Three chimeras were detected among 10 fetuses transplanted at 80 days' gestation, and no chimeras were detected in fetuses greater than 80 days' gestation at the time of transplantation. All chimeras died in utero during the third trimester of pregnancy: one of an intrauterine infection at 160 days' gestation, one at 135 days' gestation and one at 145 days' gestation. In contrast, the other 19 non-chimeric fetuses survived. These data suggest: (1) in utero fetal bone marrow transplantation is technically feasible in primates; (2) that allogeneic adult bone marrow can engraft and persist for at least 1 month in fetal baboons transplanted at 80 days of gestation; and (3) that delineation of the causes for loss of fetal chimeras should prove valuable in assessing the therapeutic potential for in utero bone marrow transplantation in man.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-147
Number of pages7
JournalBone marrow transplantation
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Transplantation

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