Archives of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery

, Volume 128, Issue 7, pp 751–759

Characterization of EGFP-labeled mesenchymal stem cells and redistribution of allogeneic cells after subcutaneous implantation

  • Xiaojun Duan
  • Liu Yang
  • Shiwu Dong
  • Rong Xin
  • Guangxin Chen
  • Lin Guo
Basic Science



Bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are ideal target cells for cell transplantation and tissue engineering. We investigated their biological characteristics and differentiation mediated by different methods. It is important to study the short-term fate of labeled allogeneic MSCs after subcutaneous implantation in rabbits in order to provide insights into the application of allogeneic MSCs for tissue regeneration.

Materials and methods

Mesenchymal stem cells were labeled by two different methods in vitro and then were incubated with gelatin sponge. Autologous MSCs-Gelatin constructs and allogeneic MSCs-Gelatin constructs were subcutaneously implanted into 32 rabbits. The constructs were analyzed for the survival and migration of labeled MSCs at day 3, week 1, 3, and 5 post-implantation.


EGFP was successfully expressed following transfection of MSCs with the retroviral vector pLEGFP-N1. In addition, EGFP-MSCs can be functionally induced into osteocytes, chondrocytes, and adipocytes in conditioned media. By weeks 3 after implantation, the labeled cells distributed extensively on the surface of gelatin sponge and gradually integrated into host tissues. EGFP-labeled MSCs were observed under fluorescence microscopy and BrdU-expressing cells were detected with immunohistochemical stain in allogeneic or autologous MSCs-Gelatin constructs during the initial five weeks after implantation.


It is a simple and reliable way to trace the changes of MSCs in vivo by EGFP in cell transplantation and gene therapy. Allogeneic rabbit MSCs can survive for at least 5 weeks after subcutaneous implantation and maintain a strong ability of migration, indicating that allogeneic MSCs are of certain value in clinical application for temporary replacement.


Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) Retroviral transfection Enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) Migration Allogeneic cell therapy 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiaojun Duan
    • 1
  • Liu Yang
    • 1
  • Shiwu Dong
    • 2
  • Rong Xin
    • 3
  • Guangxin Chen
    • 1
  • Lin Guo
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Joint Surgery, Southwest HospitalThe Third Military Medical UniversityChongqingChina
  2. 2.Department of Anatomy, College of MedicineThe Third Military Medical UniversityChongqingChina
  3. 3.Department of Pathology, Southwest HospitalThe Third Military Medical UniversityChongqingChina

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