Mesenchymal stromal cell delivery via an ex vivo bioreactor preclinical test system attenuates clot formation for intravascular application

Brian O'Rourke, Sunny Nguyen, Arno W. Tilles, James A. Bynum, Andrew P. Cap, Biju Parekkadan, Rita N. Barcia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


While mesenchymal stromal cells are an appealing therapeutic option for a range of clinical applications, their potential to induce clotting when used systemically remains a safety concern, particularly in hypercoagulable conditions, such as in patients with severe COVID-19, trauma, or cancers. Here, we tested a novel preclinical approach aimed at improving the safety of mesenchymal stromal cell (MSC) systemic administration by use of a bioreactor. In this system, MSCs are seeded on the exterior of a hollow-fiber filter, sequestering them behind a hemocompatible semipermeable membrane with defined pore-size and permeability to allow for a molecularly defined cross talk between the therapeutic cells and the whole blood environment, including blood cells and signaling molecules. The potential for these bioreactor MSCs to induce clots in coagulable plasma was compared against directly injected “free” MSCs, a model of systemic administration. Our results showed that restricting MSCs exposure to plasma via a bioreactor extends the time necessary for clot formation to occur when compared with “free” MSCs. Measurement of cell surface data indicates the presence of known clot inducing factors, namely tissue factor and phosphatidylserine. Results also showed that recovering cells and flushing the bioreactor prior to use further prolonged clot formation time. Furthermore, application of this technology in two in vivo models did not require additional heparin in fully anticoagulated experimental animals to maintain target activated clotting time levels relative to heparin anticoagulated controls. Taken together the clinical use of bioreactor housed MSCs could offer a novel method to control systemic MSC exposure and prolong clot formation time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)883-894
Number of pages12
JournalStem Cells Translational Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • COVID-19
  • IBMR
  • bioreactor
  • clot formation time
  • clotting
  • ex vivo
  • heparin
  • hypercoagulable
  • instant blood-mediated inflammatory reaction
  • mesenchymal stromal cells
  • perfusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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