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In JoVE (1)
Other Publications (6)
Articles by Fardad T. Afshari in JoVE
Analysis of Schwann-astrocyte Interactions Using In Vitro Assays
Fardad T. Afshari, Jessica C. Kwok, James W. Fawcett
Cambridge Centre for Brain Repair, Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Cambridge
This article intends to describe in stepwise fashion the commonly used in vitro assays used in studying Schwann cell-asrtocyte interactions.
Other articles by Fardad T. Afshari on PubMed
Expert Reviews in Molecular Medicine. 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19968910
Spinal cord injury is one of the most devastating conditions that affects the central nervous system. It can lead to permanent disability and there are around two million people affected worldwide. After injury, accumulation of myelin debris and formation of an inhibitory glial scar at the site of injury leads to a physical and chemical barrier that blocks axonal growth and regeneration. The mammalian central nervous system thus has a limited intrinsic ability to repair itself after injury. To improve axonal outgrowth and promote functional recovery, it is essential to identify the various intrinsic and extrinsic factors controlling regeneration and navigation of axons within the inhibitory environment of the central nervous system. Recent advances in spinal cord research have opened new avenues for the exploration of potential targets for repairing the cord and improving functional recovery after trauma. Here, we discuss some of the important key molecules that could be harnessed for repairing spinal cord injury.
Glia. May, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 20155822
Schwann cells transplantation has considerable promise in spinal cord trauma to bridge the site of injury and for remyelination in demyelinating conditions. They support axonal regeneration and sprouting by secreting growth factors and providing a permissive surface and matrix molecules while shielding axons from the inhibitory environment of the central nervous system. However, following transplantation Schwann cells show limited migratory ability and they are unable to intermingle with the host astrocytes. This in turn leads to formation of a sharp boundary and an abrupt transition between the Schwann cell graft and the host tissue astrocytes, therefore preventing regenerating axons from exiting the graft. The objective of this study was to identify inhibitory elements on astrocytes involved in restricting Schwann cell migration. Using in vitro assays of cell migration, we show that aggrecan produced by astrocytes is involved in the inhibition of Schwann cell motility on astrocytic monolayers. Knockdown of this proteoglycan in astrocytes using RNAi or digestion of glycosaminglycan chains on aggrecan improves Schwann cell migration. We further show aggrecan mediates its effect by disruption of integrin function in Schwann cells, and that the inhibitory effects of aggrecan can overcome by activation of Schwann cell integrins.
Integrin Activation or Alpha 9 Expression Allows Retinal Pigmented Epithelial Cell Adhesion on Bruch's Membrane in Wet Age-related Macular Degeneration
Brain : a Journal of Neurology. Feb, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 20159768
Retinal pigment epithelial cell malfunction is a causative feature of age-related macular degeneration, and transplantation of new retinal pigment epithelial cells is an attractive strategy to prevent further progression and visual loss. However, transplants have shown limited efficacy, mainly because transplanted cells fail to adhere and migrate onto pathological Bruch's membrane. Adhesion to Bruch's membrane is integrin-mediated. Ageing of Bruch's membrane leads to a decline in integrin ligands and, added to this, wet age-related macular degeneration leads to upregulation of anti-adhesive molecules such as tenascin-C. We have therefore investigated whether manipulation of integrin function in retinal pigment epithelial cells can restore their adhesion and migration on wet age-related macular degeneration-damaged Bruch's membrane. Using spontaneously immortalized human retinal pigment epithelial cells (adult retinal pigment epithelium-19), we show that adhesion and migration on the Bruch's membrane components is integrin-dependent and enhanced by integrin-activating agents manganese and TS2/16. These allowed cells to adhere and migrate on low concentrations of ligand, as would be found in aged Bruch's membrane. We next developed a method for stripping cells from Bruch's membrane so that adhesion and migration assays can be performed on its surface. Integrin activation had a moderate effect on enhancing retinal pigmented epithelial cell adhesion and migration on normal human and rat Bruch's membrane. However, on Bruch's membrane prepared from human wet age-related macular degeneration-affected eyes, adhesion was lower and integrin activation had a much greater effect. A candidate molecule for preventing retinal pigmented epithelial interaction with age-related macular degeneration-affected Bruch's membrane is tenascin-C which we confirm is present at high levels in wet age-related macular degeneration membrane. We show that tenascin-C is anti-adhesive for retinal pigmented epithelial cells, but after integrin activation, they can adhere and migrate on it using alphaVbeta3 integrin. Alternatively, we find that transduction of retinal pigmented epithelial cells with alpha9 integrin, a tenascin-C-binding integrin, led to a large increase in alpha9beta1-mediated adhesion and migration on tenascin-C. Both expression of alpha9 integrin and integrin activation greatly enhanced the ability of retinal pigment epithelial cells to adhere to tenascin-rich wet age-related macular degeneration-affected Bruch's membranes. Our results suggest that manipulation of retinal pigment epithelial cell integrins through integrin activating strategies, or expression of new integrins such as alpha9, could be effective in improving the efficacy of retinal pigment epithelial cell transplantation in wet age-related macular degeneration-affected eyes.
The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience. Mar, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 20335460
Schwann cells are a promising candidate for bridging spinal cord injuries and remyelinating axons. However, grafted Schwann cells show little intermingling with host astrocytes and therefore limited migration from transplant sites. This leads to the formation of a sharp border between host astrocytes and Schwann cells, which results in axons stalling at the graft-host interface and failing to exit the graft. We investigated the possibility that Eph/ephrin interactions are involved in the segregation of Schwann cells and astrocytes and in limiting Schwann cell migration. Using reverse transcription-PCR, we have characterized the ephrin and Eph profile in cultured Schwann cells and astrocytes, showing that astrocytes produce all the ephrinAs and Schwann cells produce the receptors EphA2, EphA4, and EphA7. Several ephrinAs inhibit Schwann cell migration on laminin, with ephrinA5 being the most effective. Blocking the EphA receptors with excess EphA4-Fc increases Schwann cell migration on astrocytes and improves Schwann-astrocyte intermingling. We show that the action of ephrinA5 on Schwann cells is mediated via VAV2. Both clustered ephrinA5 and astrocyte contact increases the phosphorylation of VAV2 in Schwann cells. Knockdown of VAV2 abrogates the inhibitory effect of clustered ephrinA5 on migration and increases the ability of Schwann cells to migrate on astrocytes. In addition, we found a role for ephrinA5 in inhibiting Schwann cell integrin signaling and function. Overall, we suggest that Eph/ephrin interactions inhibit Schwann cell migration and intermingling with astrocytes via VAV signaling affecting integrin function.
Methods in Molecular Biology (Clifton, N.J.). 2012 | Pubmed ID: 22144320
Schwann cells are one of the cellular candidates used in repair strategies following trauma and demyelination of the spinal cord. One of the major obstacles in the use of Schwann cells is their limited migratory ability within the astrocytic environment of the CNS and boundary formation between the Schwann cells of the graft and the host astrocytes. This boundary creates an abrupt obstacle for regenerating axons attempting to exit the Schwann cell graft back to the CNS. To facilitate the study of mechanisms underlying these interactions, in vitro coculture assays of Schwann-Astrocytes have been developed. In this chapter, we have described the methodology for two commonly used coculture systems known as the Schwann-Astrocyte boundary assay and the inverted coverslip migration assay.
Methods in Molecular Biology (Clifton, N.J.). 2012 | Pubmed ID: 22144321
Oligodendrocyte migration is required for the myelination of axons during development and also following demyelinating lesions of the central nervous system. Oligodendrocytes arise from oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) which are present within the brain and spinal cord. To reach the demyelinating lesions, OPCs have to migrate through a dense meshwork of inhibitory astrocytes. Therefore, interactions between these two cell types are of great importance in myelination. To facilitate the study of mechanisms underlying these interactions, in vitro co-culture assays of oligodendrocyte-astrocytes have been developed. In this chapter we describe the methodology for a co-culture system known as the inverted coverslip migration assay, which has been used to study the effect of astrocytes on oligodendrocyte migratory behaviour.