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In JoVE (1)
Other Publications (11)
- Experimental Neurology
- AJNR. American Journal of Neuroradiology
- Journal of Neurosurgery. Spine
- Cell Transplantation
- Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair
- Experimental Neurology
- Brain Research
- Cerebral Cortex (New York, N.Y. : 1991)
- The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
- The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
- Journal of Neurosurgery. Spine
Articles by B. Timothy Himes in JoVE
Live Imaging of Dorsal Root Axons after Rhizotomy
Andrew Skuba1, B. Timothy Himes2,3, Young-Jin Son4
1Temple University, Shriners Hospitals Pediatric Research Center and Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, 2Medical Research Service, Department of Veterans Affairs Hospital, 3Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, Drexel University College of Medicine, 4Shriners Hospitals Pediatric Research Center and Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Temple University School of Medicine
An in vivo imaging protocol to monitor primary sensory axons following dorsal root crush is described. The procedures utilize wide-field fluorescence microscopy and thy1-YFP transgenic mice, and permit repeated imaging of axon regeneration over 4 cm in the PNS and axon interactions with the interface of the CNS.
Other articles by B. Timothy Himes on PubMed
Grafts of BDNF-producing Fibroblasts Rescue Axotomized Rubrospinal Neurons and Prevent Their Atrophy
Experimental Neurology. Dec, 2002 | Pubmed ID: 12504875
We have reported that intraspinal transplants of fibroblasts genetically modified to express brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) promote rubrospinal axon regeneration and functional recovery following subtotal cervical hemisection that completely ablated the rubrospinal tract. In the present study we examined whether these transplants could prevent cell loss and/or atrophy of axotomized Red nucleus neurons. Adult rats received a subtotal spinal cord cervical hemisection followed by a graft of unmodified fibroblasts or fibroblasts producing BDNF into the lesion cavity. One or 2 months later, fluorogold was injected several segments caudal to the lesion-transplant site to retrogradely label those Red nucleus neurons whose axons have regenerated. Unmodified fibroblasts failed to protect against either cell loss or atrophy. Neuron counts and soma-size measurements in Nissl-stained preparations showed a 45% loss of recognizable neurons and 40% atrophy of the surviving neurons in the injured Red nucleus. Grafts of BDNF-producing fibroblasts reduced neuron loss to less than 15% and surviving neurons showed only a 20% decrease in mean soma size. Soma size analysis of fluorogold-labeled Red nucleus neurons indicated that the Red nucleus neurons whose axons regenerated caudal to the graft did not atrophy. We conclude that fibroblasts engineered ex vivo to secrete BDNF and grafted into a partial cervical hemisection promote axon regeneration while reducing cell loss and atrophy of neurons in the Red nucleus. These results suggest that transplants of genetically engineered cells could be an important tool for delivery of therapeutic factors that contribute to the repair of spinal cord injury.
AJNR. American Journal of Neuroradiology. Feb, 2003 | Pubmed ID: 12591628
Mechanically Engineered Hydrogel Scaffolds for Axonal Growth and Angiogenesis After Transplantation in Spinal Cord Injury
Journal of Neurosurgery. Spine. Oct, 2004 | Pubmed ID: 15478371
Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a complex pathological entity, the treatment of which requires a multipronged approach. One way to integrate different therapeutic strategies for SCI is to develop implantable scaffolds that can deliver therapies in a synergistic manner. Many investigators have developed implantable "bridges," but an important property of such scaffolds--that is, mechanical compatibility with host tissues--has been neglected. In this study, the authors evaluated the results of implanting a mechanically matched hydrogel-based scaffold to treat SCI.
Cell Transplantation. 2005 | Pubmed ID: 16454352
Bone marrow stromal cells (MSC) are attractive candidates for developing cell therapies for central nervous system (CNS) disorders. They can be easily obtained, expanded in culture, and promote modest functional recovery following transplantation into animal models of injured or degenerative CNS. While syngeneic MSC grafts can be used efficiently, achieving long-term survival of allogeneic MSC grafts has been a challenge. We hypothesize that improved graft survival will enhance the functional recovery promoted by MSC. To improve MSC graft survival, we tested two dosages of the immune suppressant cyclosporin A (CsA) in an allogeneic model. Syngeneic transplantation of MSC where cells survive well without immune suppression was used as a control. Sprague-Dawley rats treated with standard dose (n = 12) or high-dose (n = 12) CsA served as allogeneic hosts; Fisher 344 rats (n = 12) served as syngeneic hosts. MSC were derived from transgenic Fisher 344 rats expressing human placental alkaline phosphatase and were grafted into cervical spinal cord. Animals treated with standard dose CsA showed significant decreases in allograft size 4 weeks posttransplantation; high CsA doses yielded significantly better graft survival 4 and 8 weeks posttransplantation compared to standard CsA. As expected, syngeneic MSC transplants showed good graft survival after 4 and 8 weeks. To investigate MSC graft elimination, we analyzed immune cell infiltration and cell death. Macrophage infiltration was high after 1 week in all groups. After 4 weeks, high-dose CsA and syngeneic animals showed significant reductions in macrophages at the graft site. Few T lymphocytes were detected in any group at each time point. Cell death occurred throughout the study; however, little apoptotic activity was detected. Histochemical analysis revealed no evidence of neural differentiation. These results indicate that allogeneic transplantation with appropriate immune suppression permits long-term survival of MSC; thus, both allogeneic and syngeneic strategies could be utilized in devising novel therapies for CNS injury.
Recovery of Function Following Grafting of Human Bone Marrow-derived Stromal Cells into the Injured Spinal Cord
Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair. Jun, 2006 | Pubmed ID: 16679505
This study evaluates functional recovery after transplanting human bone marrow-derived stromal cells (BMSCs) into contusion models of spinal cord injury (SCI). The authors used a high-throughput process to expand BMSCs and characterized them by flow cytometry, ELISA, and gene expression. They found that BMSCs secrete neurotrophic factors and cytokines with therapeutic potential for cell survival and axon growth. In adult immune-suppressed rats, mild, moderate, or severe contusions were generated using the MASCIS impactor. One week following injury, 0.5 to 1 x 106 BMSCs were injected into the lesioned spinal cord; control animals received vehicle injection. Biweekly behavioral tests included the Basso, Beattie, and Bresnahan Locomotor Rating Scale (BBB), exploratory rearing, grid walking, and thermal sensitivity. Animals receiving moderate contusions followed by BMSC grafts showed significant behavioral recovery in BBB and rearing tests when compared to controls. Animals receiving BMSC grafts after mild or severe contusion showed trends toward improved recovery. Immunocytochemistry identified numerous axons passing through the injury in animals with BMSC grafts but few in controls. BMSCS were detected at 2 weeks after transplantation; however, at 11 weeks very few grafted cells remained. The authors conclude that BMSCs show potential for repairing SCI. However, the use of carefully characterized BMSCs improved transplantation protocols ensuring BMSC, survival, and systematic motor and sensory behavioral testing to identify robust recovery is imperative for further improvement.
Neural Stem Cells May Be Uniquely Suited for Combined Gene Therapy and Cell Replacement: Evidence from Engraftment of Neurotrophin-3-expressing Stem Cells in Hypoxic-ischemic Brain Injury
Experimental Neurology. May, 2006 | Pubmed ID: 16714016
Previously, we reported that, when clonal neural stem cells (NSCs) were transplanted into brains of postnatal mice subjected to unilateral hypoxic-ischemic (HI) injury (optimally 3-7 days following infarction), donor-derived cells homed preferentially (from even distant locations) to and integrated extensively within the large ischemic areas that spanned the hemisphere. A subpopulation of NSCs and host cells, particularly in the penumbra, "shifted" their differentiation towards neurons and oligodendrocytes, the cell types typically damaged following asphyxia and least likely to regenerate spontaneously and in sufficient quantity in the "post-developmental" CNS. That no neurons and few oligodendrocytes were generated from the NSCs in intact postnatal cortex suggested that novel signals are transiently elaborated following HI to which NSCs might respond. The proportion of "replacement" neurons was approximately 5%. Neurotrophin-3 (NT-3) is known to play a role in inducing neuronal differentiation during development and perhaps following injury. We demonstrated that NSCs express functional TrkC receptors. Furthermore, the donor cells continued to express a foreign reporter transgene robustly within the damaged brain. Therefore, it appeared feasible that neuronal differentiation of exogenous NSCs (as well as endogenous progenitors) might be enhanced if donor NSCs were engineered prior to transplantation to (over)express a bioactive gene such as NT-3. A subclone of NSCs transduced with a retrovirus encoding NT-3 (yielding >90% neurons in vitro) was implanted into unilaterally asphyxiated postnatal day 7 mouse brain (emulating one of the common causes of cerebral palsy). The subclone expressed NT-3 efficiently in vivo. The proportion of NSC-derived neurons increased to approximately 20% in the infarction cavity and >80% in the penumbra. The neurons variously differentiated further into cholinergic, GABAergic, or glutamatergic subtypes, appropriate to the cortex. Donor-derived glia were rare, and astroglial scarring was blunted. NT-3 likely functioned not only on donor cells in an autocrine/paracrine fashion but also on host cells to enhance neuronal differentiation of both. Taken together, these observations suggest (1) the feasibility of taking a fundamental biological response to injury and augmenting it for repair purposes and (2) the potential use of migratory NSCs in some degenerative conditions for simultaneous combined gene therapy and cell replacement during the same procedure in the same recipient using the same cell (a unique property of cells with stem-like attributes).
Role of the 5-HT2C Receptor in Improving Weight-supported Stepping in Adult Rats Spinalized As Neonates
Brain Research. Sep, 2006 | Pubmed ID: 16914121
Loss of descending serotonergic (5-HT) projections after spinal cord injury (SCI) contributes to motor deficits and upregulation of receptors on partially denervated serotonergic targets in the spinal cord. Serotonergic agonists acting on these upregulated receptors are potential therapeutic agents that could ameliorate motor deficits. However, modification of 5-HT receptors following complete spinal cord injury results in different effects by 5-HT2C receptor agonists and antagonists. For example, administration of 5-HT2C receptor agonists suppresses locomotor activity in normal animals, but enhances it in spinalized animals. In addition, administration of 5-HT2C receptor agonists does not induce activity-dependent hindlimb tremors in normal animals, but does induce them in spinalized animals. We therefore extended our previous work with the 5-HT2C receptor agonist 1-(m-chlorophenyl)-piperazine hydrochloride (mCPP), which enhances weight-supported stepping when administered to adult rats spinalized as neonates, to identify the optimal dose for improved weight-supported stepping with minimal side effects. In order to determine whether mCPP enhances weight-supported stepping after SCI is through activation of the 5-HT2C receptor, we performed the following experiments. We determined that stimulation of the 5-HT1A receptor did not contribute to this improvement in weight-support. We reversed the increase in mCPP-induced weight-supported stepping with SB 206,553, a 5-HT2C receptor antagonist. We also provide evidence for denervation-induced upregulation of 5-HT2C receptors in the injured spinal cord. Since mCPP does not have the behavioral toxicity associated with non-selective 5-HT2 receptor agonists, targeting the 5-HT2C receptor may have clinical relevance for the treatment of SCI.
Structure of the Excitatory Receptive Fields of Infragranular Forelimb Neurons in the Rat Primary Somatosensory Cortex Responding to Touch
Cerebral Cortex (New York, N.Y. : 1991). Jun, 2006 | Pubmed ID: 16120794
We quantitatively studied the excitatory receptive fields of 297 neurons recorded from the forelimb infragranular somatosensory cortex of the rat while touch stimuli were applied to discrete locations on the forelimbs. Receptive fields were highly heterogeneous, but they were regulated, on average, by an underlying spatio-temporal structure. We found the following. (i) Neurons responded with decreasing magnitude and increasing latency when the stimulus was moved from the primary location to secondary locations and to far ispilateral locations of their excitatory receptive fields, displaying smooth transitions from the primary location to secondary locations. (ii) Receptive field patterns revealed functional connectivity between the digits and ventral palm, which did not depend on whether the digits were stimulated dorsally or ventrally. (iii) The structure of the receptive fields (i.e. the neural responses to stimulation of secondary locations compared to the neural responses to stimulation of the primary location), reflected cortical (rather than body) distances. (iv) There was a functional separation between the forepaw and the rest of the forelimb. Namely: if the primary location was in the digits or palm, secondary locations were biased toward the digits and palm; if the primary location was in rest of the forelimb, secondary locations appeared equally distributed over forelimb, digits and palm. (v) More than 40% of neurons extended their receptive field to the ipsilateral forelimb, without any evident spatial organization. Overall, the stimuli evoked approximately 3 times more spikes from secondary responses than from primary responses. These results suggest that a rich repertoire of spatio-temporal responses is available for encoding tactile information. This highly distributed receptive field structure provides the electrophysiological architecture for studying organization and plasticity of cortical somatosensory processing.
Quantitative and Functional Analyses of Spastin in the Nervous System: Implications for Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia
The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience. Feb, 2008 | Pubmed ID: 18305248
Spastin and P60-katanin are two distinct microtubule-severing proteins. Autosomal dominant mutations in the SPG4 locus corresponding to spastin are the most common cause of hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP), a neurodegenerative disease that afflicts the adult corticospinal tracts. Here we sought to evaluate whether SPG4-based HSP is best understood as a "loss-of-function" disease. Using various rat tissues, we found that P60-katanin levels are much higher than spastin levels during development. In the adult, P60-katanin levels plunge dramatically but spastin levels decline only slightly. Quantitative data of spastin expression in specific regions of the nervous system failed to reveal any obvious explanation for the selective sensitivity of adult corticospinal tracts to loss of spastin activity. An alternative explanation relates to the fact that the mammalian spastin gene has two start codons, resulting in a 616 amino acid protein called M1 and a slightly shorter protein called M85. We found that M1 is almost absent from developing neurons and most adult neurons but comprises 20-25% of the spastin in the adult spinal cord, the location of the axons that degenerate during HSP. Experimental expression in cultured neurons of a short dysfunctional M1 polypeptide (but not a short dysfunctional M85 peptide) is deleterious to normal axonal growth. In squid axoplasm, the M1 peptide dramatically inhibits fast axonal transport, whereas the M85 peptide does not. These results are consistent with a "gain-of-function" mechanism underlying HSP wherein spastin mutations produce a cytotoxic protein in the case of M1 but not M85.
In Vivo Imaging of Dorsal Root Regeneration: Rapid Immobilization and Presynaptic Differentiation at the CNS/PNS Border
The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience. Mar, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21430157
Dorsal root (DR) axons regenerate in the PNS but turn around or stop at the dorsal root entry zone (DREZ), the entrance into the CNS. Earlier studies that relied on conventional tracing techniques or postmortem analyses attributed the regeneration failure to growth inhibitors and lack of intrinsic growth potential. Here, we report the first in vivo imaging study of DR regeneration. Fluorescently labeled, large-diameter DR axons in thy1-YFPH mice elongated through a DR crush site, but not a transection site, and grew along the root at >1.5 mm/d with little variability. Surprisingly, they rarely turned around at the DREZ upon encountering astrocytes, but penetrated deeper into the CNS territory, where they rapidly stalled and then remained completely immobile or stable, even after conditioning lesions that enhanced growth along the root. Stalled axon tips and adjacent shafts were intensely immunolabeled with synapse markers. Ultrastructural analysis targeted to the DREZ enriched with recently arrived axons additionally revealed abundant axonal profiles exhibiting presynaptic features such as synaptic vesicles aggregated at active zones, but not postsynaptic features. These data suggest that axons are neither repelled nor continuously inhibited at the DREZ by growth-inhibitory molecules but are rapidly stabilized as they invade the CNS territory of the DREZ, forming presynaptic terminal endings on non-neuronal cells. Our work introduces a new experimental paradigm to the investigation of DR regeneration and may help to induce significant regeneration after spinal root injuries.
A Pilot Study of Poly(N-isopropylacrylamide)-g-polyethylene Glycol and Poly(N-isopropylacrylamide)-g-methylcellulose Branched Copolymers As Injectable Scaffolds for Local Delivery of Neurotrophins and Cellular Transplants into the Injured Spinal Cord
Journal of Neurosurgery. Spine. Dec, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21888482
The authors investigated the feasibility of using injectable hydrogels, based on poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAAm), lightly cross-linked with polyethylene glycol (PEG) or methylcellulose (MC), to serve as injectable scaffolds for local delivery of neurotrophins and cellular transplants into the injured spinal cord. The primary aims of this work were to assess the biocompatibility of the scaffolds by evaluating graft cell survival and the host tissue immune response. The scaffolds were also evaluated for their ability to promote axonal growth through the action of released brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).