OBJECTIVES Amniotic fluid stem cells (AFSCs) are derived from the amniotic fluid of the developing fetus and can give rise to diverse differentiated cells of ectoderm, mesoderm, and endoderm lineages. Intrauterine transplantation is an approach used to cure inherited genetic fetal defects during the gestation period of pregnant dams. Certain disease such as osteogenesis imperfecta was successfully treated in affected fetal mice using this method. However, the donor cell destiny remains uncertain. METHODS The purpose of this study was to investigate the biodistribution and cell fate of Ds-red-harboring porcine AFSCs (Ds-red pAFSCs) after intrauterine transplantation into enhanced green fluorescent protein-harboring fetuses of pregnant mice. Pregnant mice (12.5 days) underwent open laparotomy with intrauterine pAFSC transplantation (5 × 10(4) cells per pup) into fetal peritoneal cavity. RESULTS Three weeks after birth, the mice were sacrificed. Several samples from different organs were obtained for histological examination and flow cytometric analysis. Ds-red pAFSCs migrated most frequently into the intestines. Furthermore, enhanced green fluorescent protein and red fluorescent protein signals were co-expressed in the intestine and liver cells via immunohistochemistry studies. CONCLUSION In utero xenotransplantation of pAFSCs fused with recipient intestinal cells instead of differentiating or maintaining the undifferentiated status in the tissue.
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