Purpose To investigate the safety and effectiveness of a novel endovascular approach for therapeutic cell delivery using a balloon occlusion catheter in a large animal model of liver fibrosis. Materials and Methods Transcatheter arterial embolization with ethiodized oil (Ethiodol) and ethanol was used to induce liver damage in 11 pigs. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) were harvested from adipose tissue and engineered to express green fluorescent protein (GFP). A balloon occlusion catheter was positioned in the bilateral first-order portal vein branches 2 weeks after embolization to allow intraportal application of MSCs in six experimental animals. MSCs were allowed to dwell for 10 minutes using prolonged balloon inflation. Five control animals received a sham injection of normal saline in a similar fashion. Hepatic venous pressure gradient (HVPG) was measured immediately before necropsy. Specimens from all accessible lobes were obtained with ultrasound-guided percutaneous 18-gauge biopsy 2 hours after cell application. All animals were euthanized within 4 weeks. Fluorescent microscopy was used to assess the presence and distribution of cells. Results Liver injury and fibrosis were successfully induced in all animals. MSCs (6-10 × 107) were successfully delivered into the portal vein in the six experimental animals. Cell application was not associated with vascular complications. HVPG showed no instances of portal hypertension. GFP-expressing MSCs were visualized in biopsy specimens and were distributed primarily within the sinusoidal spaces; however, 4 weeks after implantation, MSCs could not be identified in histologic specimens. Conclusions A percutaneous endovascular approach for cell delivery using a balloon occlusion catheter proved safe for intraportal MSC application in a large animal model of liver fibrosis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine