Surviving Lambs with Myelomeningocele Repaired in utero with Placental Mesenchymal Stromal Cells for 6 Months: A Pilot Study

Kaeli Yamashiro, Laura A. Galganski, Jamie Peyton, Kalie Haynes, Victoria Vicuna, Priyadarsini Kumar, Benjamin Keller, James Becker, Christopher Pivetti, Sarah Stokes, Christina Theodorou, Jordan Jackson, Aijun Wang, Diana Farmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: Fetal repair of myelomeningocele (MMC) with placental mesenchymal stromal cells (PMSCs) rescues ambulation in the ovine model up to 48 h postnatally. Outcomes past 48 h are unknown as MMC lambs have not been survived past this timepoint. Objective: We aimed to survive lambs for 6 months following the fetal repair of MMC with PMSCs. Methods: Fetal MMC lambs were repaired with PMSCs. Lambs received either no additional treatment or postnatal bracing and physical therapy (B/PT). Motor function was assessed with the sheep locomotor rating (SLR). Lambs with an SLR of 15 at birth were survived for 6 months or until a decline in SLR less than 15, whichever came first. All lambs underwent a perimortem MRI. Results: The lambs with no postnatal treatment (n = 2) had SLR declines to 7 and 13 at 29 and 65 days, respectively, and were euthanized. These lambs had a spinal angulation of 57° and 47°, respectively. The B/PT lamb (n = 1) survived for 6 months with a sustained SLR of 15 and a lumbar angulation of 42°. Conclusion: Postnatal physical therapy and bracing counteracted the inherent morbidity of the absent paraspinal muscles in the ovine MMC model allowing for survival and maintenance of rescued motor function of the prenatally treated lamb up to 6 months.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalFetal Diagnosis and Therapy
StateAccepted/In press - 2020


  • Fetal myelomeningocele repair
  • Fetal surgery
  • Placental mesenchymal stromal cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Embryology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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