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Transplanted human multipotent stromal cells reduce acute tongue fibrosis in rats.

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Tongue fibrosis resulting from head and neck cancer, surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or a combination thereof devastates one's quality of life. Therapeutic options are limited. Here we investigate human bone marrow-derived multipotent stromal cells (MSC) as a novel injectable treatment for post-injury tongue fibrosis.


MSCs were grown in culture. Eighteen athymic rats underwent unilateral partial glossectomy. After two weeks for scar formation, a single injection was performed in the tongue scar. Three treatment groups were studied: low and high concentration MSC, and control media injection. Tongues were harvested for evaluation at three weeks post-treatment.


Dense fibrosis was achieved in control animals at five weeks. High concentration MSC reduced cross sectional scar burden (P = .007) and pathologic score for inflammation and fibrosis.


This study establishes the feasibility of a novel rodent tongue fibrosis model, and begins to assess the utility of human MSCs to reduce scar burden.

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