Our previous work reported functional recovery after transplantation of mouse and human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived neural stem/progenitor cells (hiPSC-NS/PCs) into rodent models of spinal cord injury (SCI). Although hiPSC-NS/PCs proved useful for the treatment of SCI, the tumorigenicity of the transplanted cells must be resolved before they can be used in clinical applications. The current study sought to determine the feasibility of ablation of the tumors formed after hiPSC-NS/PC transplantation through immunoregulation. Tumorigenic hiPSC-NS/PCs were transplanted into the intact spinal cords of immunocompetent BALB/cA mice with or without immunosuppressant treatment. In vivo bioluminescence imaging was used to evaluate the chronological survival and growth of the transplanted cells. The graft survival rate was 0% in the group without immunosuppressants versus 100% in the group with immunosuppressants. Most of the mice that received immunosuppressants exhibited hindlimb paralysis owing to tumor growth at 3 months after iPSC-NS/PC transplantation. Histological analysis showed that the tumors shared certain characteristics with low-grade gliomas rather than with teratomas. After confirming the progression of the tumors in immunosuppressed mice, the immunosuppressant agents were discontinued, resulting in the complete rejection of iPSC-NS/PC-derived masses within 42 days after drug cessation. In accordance with the tumor rejection, hind-limb motor function was recovered in all of the mice. Moreover, infiltration of microglia and lymphocytes was observed during the course of tumor rejection, along with apoptosis of iPSC-NS/PC-generated cells. Thus, immune rejection can be used as a fail-safe system against potential tumorigenicity after transplantation of iPSC-NS/PCs to treat SCI.
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