Intranasal delivery of mesenchymal stem cells significantly extends survival of irradiated mice with experimental brain tumors

Irina V. Balyasnikova*, Melanie S. Prasol, Sherise D. Ferguson, Yu Han, Atique U. Ahmed, Margarita Gutova, Alex L. Tobias, Devkumar Mustafi, Esther Rincón, Lingjiao Zhang, Karen S. Aboody, Maciej S. Lesniak

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


Treatment options of glioblastoma multiforme are limited due to the blood-brain barrier (BBB). In this study, we investigated the utility of intranasal (IN) delivery as a means of transporting stem cell-based antiglioma therapeutics. We hypothesized that mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) delivered via nasal application could impart therapeutic efficacy when expressing TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) in a model of human glioma. 111 In-oxine, histology and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) were utilized to track MSCs within the brain and associated tumor. We demonstrate that MSCs can penetrate the brain from nasal cavity and infiltrate intracranial glioma xenografts in a mouse model. Furthermore, irradiation of tumor-bearing mice tripled the penetration of 111In -oxine-labeled MSCs in the brain with a fivefold increase in cerebellum. Significant increase in CXCL12 expression was observed in irradiated xenograft tissue, implicating a CXCL12-dependent mechanism of MSCs migration towards irradiated glioma xenografts. Finally, MSCs expressing TRAIL improved the median survival of irradiated mice bearing intracranial U87 glioma xenografts in comparison with nonirradiated and irradiated control mice. Cumulatively, our data suggest that IN delivery of stem cell-based therapeutics is a feasible and highly efficacious treatment modality, allowing for repeated application of modified stem cells to target malignant glioma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)140-148
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery


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