, Volume 51, Issue 10, pp 661–667 | Cite as

Endovascular transplantation of stem cells to the injured rat CNS

  • Johan Lundberg
  • Katarina Le Blanc
  • Mikael Söderman
  • Tommy Andersson
  • Staffan Holmin
Interventional Neuroradiology



Transplantation procedures using intraparenchymal injection of stem cells result in tissue injury in addition to associated surgical risks. Intravenous injection of mesenchymal stem cells gives engraftment to lesions, but the method has low efficiency and specificity. In traumatic brain injuries (TBI), there is a transient breakdown of the blood–brain barrier and an inflammatory response, which increase migration of cells from blood to parenchyma. The aim of this investigation was to analyze the effect of intra-arterial administration on cellular engraftment.


Experimental TBI was produced in a rat model. Endovascular technique was used to administer human mesenchymal stem cells in the ipsilateral internal carotid artery. Evaluation of engraftment and side effects were performed by immunohistochemical analysis of the brain and several other organs. The results were compared to intravenous administration of stem cells.


Intra-arterial transplantion of mesenchymal stem cells resulted in central nervous system (CNS) engraftment without thromboembolic ischemia. We observed a significantly higher number of transplanted cells in the injured hemisphere after intra-arterial compared to intravenous administration both 1 day (p < 0.01) and 5 days (p < 0.05) after the transplantation. Some cells were also detected in the spleen but not in the other organs analyzed.


Selective intra-arterial administration of mesenchymal stem cells to the injured CNS is a minimally invasive method for transplantation. The method is significantly more efficient than the intravenous route and causes no side effects in the current model. The technique can potentially be used for repeated transplantation to the CNS after TBI and in other diseases.


Trauma Mesenchymal MAB 1281 Intra-arterial 



Mrs. Britt Meijer is thanked for her excellent technical assistance. This study was supported by the Swedish Research Council (2005-19973-31999-24, K2006-32X-14716-04-1, K2008-64X-20742-01-3, K2008-64P-15457-04-3), the Swedish Cancer Society (07 0132, 07 0529), the Children’s Cancer Foundation (05/077), the Cancer Society in Stockholm, the Tobias Foundation, the Sven and Ebba-Christina Hagbergs Foundation, the Karolinska Institutet, ALF funding from the Stockholm County Council, and the Swedish Society of Medicine.

Conflict of interest statement

We declare that we have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Johan Lundberg
    • 1
  • Katarina Le Blanc
    • 2
  • Mikael Söderman
    • 1
  • Tommy Andersson
    • 1
  • Staffan Holmin
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Department of NeuroradiologyKarolinska University HospitalStockholmSweden
  2. 2.Department of Stem Cell Research, Karolinska Institutet, Department of Clinical ImmunologyKarolinska University HospitalStockholmSweden

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