Cytotoxic Effects of Nonionic Iodinated Contrast Agent on Human Adipose-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells

Tao Wu, Hai Nie, Allan B. Dietz, David R. Salek, Jay Smith, Andre J. van Wijnen, Wenchun Qu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: Transplantation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) is a promising therapy for degenerative spine conditions. However, cell therapy for painful spine degeneration presently requires use of contrast agents during fluoroscopy-guided injections, and the effects of these agents on MSCs represents a gap in knowledge. Objective: To investigate the biological effects of contrast media (CM) that are coinjected with MSCs. Design: Prospective observational study. Setting: Academic medical center. Participants: Patient-derived clinical-grade culture expanded MSCs. Interventions: Iohexol (Omnipaque300) was reduced to 12.5%, 25%, 50%, and 100% of the stock solution and incubated with MSCs for 30 minutes, 4 hours, and 48 hours. We also used complete media and 12.5%, 25%, 50%, 100% of phosphate-buffered saline as a control group. Main Outcome Measures: We examined cytotoxicity of iohexol at different concentrations and exposure duration, as well as the potential for recovery over time. Cell counts, mitochondrial activity, and quantitative real time reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction of related genes were analyzed immediately after exposure (day 0) and after 2 days of exposure (day 2). Results: Human MSCs exhibit a time- and concentration-dependent cytotoxic response to iodinated CM. A brief, 30-minute exposure did not affect MSCs function and viability. However, extended treatment with iohexol for 4 hours at 50% or higher concentration had a significant impact on both viability and gene expression in MSCs. Conclusions: Iohexol is cytotoxic to MSCs in a time-and concentration-dependent manner. Hence, the concentration of CM that accompanies MSC injections should be carefully considered during MSC therapy for disk-degenerative diseases. Level of Evidence: III.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-55
Number of pages11
JournalPM and R
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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