The cellular hallmarks of Parkinson's disease (PD) are the loss of nigral dopaminergic neurons and the formation of ?-synuclein-enriched Lewy bodies and Lewy neurites in the remaining neurons. Based on the topographic distribution of Lewy bodies established after autopsy of brains from PD patients, Braak and coworkers hypothesized that Lewy pathology primes in the enteric nervous system and spreads to the brain, suggesting an active retrograde transport of ?-synuclein (the key protein component in Lewy bodies), via the vagal nerve. This hypothesis, however, has not been tested experimentally thus far. Here, we use a human PD brain lysate containing different forms of ?-synuclein (monomeric, oligomeric and fibrillar), and recombinant ?-synuclein in an in vivo animal model to test this hypothesis. We demonstrate that ?-synuclein present in the human PD brain lysate and distinct recombinant ?-synuclein forms are transported via the vagal nerve and reach the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus in the brainstem in a time-dependent manner after injection into the intestinal wall. Using live cell imaging in a differentiated neuroblastoma cell line, we determine that both slow and fast components of axonal transport are involved in the transport of aggregated ?-synuclein. In conclusion, we here provide the first experimental evidence that different ?-synuclein forms can propagate from the gut to the brain, and that microtubule-associated transport is involved in the translocation of aggregated ?-synuclein in neurons.
The generation of human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) represents an exciting advancement with promise for stem cell transplantation therapies as well as for neurological disease modeling. Based on the emerging roles for astrocytes in neurological disorders, we investigated whether hiPSC-derived astrocyte progenitors could be engrafted to the rodent spinal cord and how the characteristics of these cells changed between in vitro culture and after transplantation to the in vivo spinal cord environment. Our results show that human embryonic stem cell- and hiPSC-derived astrocyte progenitors survive long-term after spinal cord engraftment and differentiate to astrocytes in vivo with few cells from other lineages present. Gene profiling of the transplanted cells demonstrates the astrocyte progenitors continue to mature in vivo and upregulate a variety of astrocyte-specific genes. Given this mature astrocyte gene profile, this work highlights hiPSCs as a tool to investigate disease-related astrocyte biology using in vivo disease modeling with significant implications for human neurological diseases currently lacking animal models.
Human motor neurons derived from embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells (hESCs and hiPSCs) are a potentially important tool for studying motor neuron survival and pathological cell death. However, their basic survival requirements remain poorly characterized. Here, we sought to optimize a robust survival assay and characterize their response to different neurotrophic factors. First, to increase motor neuron yield, we screened a small-molecule collection and found that the Rho-associated kinase (ROCK) inhibitor Y-27632 enhances motor neuron progenitor proliferation up to 4-fold in hESC and hiPSC cultures. Next, we FACS-purified motor neurons expressing the Hb9::GFP reporter from Y-27632-amplified embryoid bodies and cultured them in the presence of mitotic inhibitors to eliminate dividing progenitors. Survival of these purified motor neurons in the absence of any other cell type was strongly dependent on neurotrophic support. GDNF, BDNF and CNTF all showed potent survival effects (EC50 1-2 pM). The number of surviving motor neurons was further enhanced in the presence of forskolin and IBMX, agents that increase endogenous cAMP levels. As a demonstration of the ability of the assay to detect novel neurotrophic agents, Y-27632 itself was found to support human motor neuron survival. Thus, purified human stem cell-derived motor neurons show survival requirements similar to those of primary rodent motor neurons and can be used for rigorous cell-based screening.
Differentiation of astrocytes from human stem cells has significant potential for analysis of their role in normal brain function and disease, but existing protocols generate only immature astrocytes. Using early neuralization, we generated spinal cord astrocytes from mouse or human embryonic or induced pluripotent stem cells with high efficiency. Remarkably, short exposure to fibroblast growth factor 1 (FGF1) or FGF2 was sufficient to direct these astrocytes selectively toward a mature quiescent phenotype, as judged by both marker expression and functional analysis. In contrast, tumor necrosis factor alpha and interleukin-1?, but not FGFs, induced multiple elements of a reactive inflammatory phenotype but did not affect maturation. These phenotypically defined, scalable populations of spinal cord astrocytes will be important both for studying normal astrocyte function and for modeling human pathological processes in vitro.
Human pluripotent stem cells are a promising source of differentiated cells for developmental studies, cell transplantation, disease modeling, and drug testing. However, their widespread use even for intensely studied cell types like spinal motor neurons is hindered by the long duration and low yields of existing protocols for in vitro differentiation and by the molecular heterogeneity of the populations generated. We report a combination of small molecules that within 3 weeks induce motor neurons at up to 50% abundance and with defined subtype identities of relevance to neurodegenerative disease. Despite their accelerated differentiation, motor neurons expressed combinations of HB9, ISL1, and column-specific markers that mirror those observed in vivo in human embryonic spinal cord. They also exhibited spontaneous and induced activity, and projected axons toward muscles when grafted into developing chick spinal cord. Strikingly, this novel protocol preferentially generates motor neurons expressing markers of limb-innervating lateral motor column motor neurons (FOXP1(+)/LHX3(-)). Access to high-yield cultures of human limb-innervating motor neuron subtypes will facilitate in-depth study of motor neuron subtype-specific properties, disease modeling, and development of large-scale cell-based screening assays.
At advanced stages of Alzheimers disease, cognitive dysfunction is accompanied by severe alterations of hippocampal circuits that may largely underlie memory impairments. However, it is likely that anatomical remodeling in the hippocampus may start long before any cognitive alteration is detected. Using the well-described Tg2576 mouse model of Alzheimers disease that develops progressive age-dependent amyloidosis and cognitive deficits, we examined whether specific stages of the disease were associated with the expression of anatomical markers of hippocampal dysfunction. We found that these mice develop a complex pattern of changes in their dentate gyrus with aging. Those include aberrant expression of neuropeptide Y and reduced levels of calbindin, reflecting a profound remodeling of inhibitory and excitatory circuits in the dentate gyrus. Preceding these changes, we identified severe alterations of adult hippocampal neurogenesis in Tg2576 mice. We gathered converging data in Tg2576 mice at young age, indicating impaired maturation of new neurons that may compromise their functional integration into hippocampal circuits. Thus, disruption of adult hippocampal neurogenesis occurred before network remodeling in this mouse model and therefore may account as an early event in the etiology of Alzheimers pathology. Ultimately, both events may constitute key components of hippocampal dysfunction and associated cognitive deficits occurring in Alzheimers disease.
During forebrain development, Mash1 directs gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)ergic neuron differentiation ventrally in the ganglionic eminences. Repression of Mash1 in the cortex is necessary to prevent the formation of GABAergic interneurons. Negative regulation of Mash1 has been attributed to members of the Neurogenin family; the genetic ablation of Neurogenin2 (Ngn2) leads to the derepression of Mash1 and the formation of ectopic GABAergic neurons in the cortex. We have developed an in vitro system to clarify the importance of NeuroD proteins in the Mash1 regulatory pathway. Using a neurosphere culture system, we show that the downstream effectors of the Ngn2 pathway NeuroD1 and NeuroD2 can abrogate GABAergic differentiation directed by Mash1. The ectopic expression of either of these genes in Mash1-expressing cells derived from the lateral ganglionic eminence, independently downregulate Mash1 expression without affecting expression of distal less homeodomain genes. This results in a complete loss of the GABAergic phenotype. Moreover, we demonstrate that ectopic expression of Mash1 in cortical progenitors is sufficient to phenocopy the loss of Ngn2 and strongly enhances ectopic GABAergic differentiation. Collectively, our results define the compensatory and cross-regulatory mechanisms that exist among basic helix-loop-helix transcription factors during neuronal fate specification.
Bone marrow-derived multipotent mesenchymal stroma cells (MSCs) have emerged as cellular vectors for gene therapy of solid cancers. We implanted enhanced green fluorescent protein-expressing rat MSCs directly into rat malignant gliomas to address their migratory capacity, phenotype, and effects on tumor neovascularization and animal survival. A single intratumoral injection of MSCs infiltrated the majority of invasive glioma extensions (72 +/- 14%) and a substantial fraction of distant tumor microsatellites (32 +/- 6%). MSC migration was highly specific for tumor tissue. Grafted MSCs integrated into tumor vessel walls and expressed pericyte markers alpha-smooth muscle actin, neuron-glia 2, and platelet-derived growth factor receptor-beta but not endothelial cell markers. The pericyte marker expression profile and perivascular location of grafted MSCs indicate that these cells act as pericytes within tumors. MSC grafting did not influence tumor microvessel density or survival of tumor-bearing animals. The antiangiogenic drug Sunitinib markedly reduced the numbers of grafted MSCs migrating within tumors. We found no MSCs within gliomas following intravenous (i.v.) injections. Thus, MSCs should be administered by intratumoral implantations rather than by i.v. injections. Intratumorally grafted pericyte-like MSCs might represent a particularly well-suited vector system for delivering molecules to affect tumor angiogenesis and for targeting cancer stem cells within the perivascular niche.
Experimental stroke and excitotoxic brain lesion to the striatum increase the proliferation of cells residing within the ventricular wall and cause subsequent migration of newborn neuroblasts into the lesioned brain parenchyma. In this study, we clarify the different events of neurogenesis following striatal or cortical excitotoxic brain lesions in adult rats. Newborn cells were labeled by intraperitoneal injection of bromo-deoxy-uridine (BrdU), or by green fluorescent protein (GFP)-expressing lentiviral vectors injected into the subventricular zone (SVZ). We show that only neural progenitors born the first 5 days in the SVZ reside and expand within this neurogenic niche over time, and that these early labeled cells are more prone to migrate towards the striatum as neuroblasts. However, these neuroblasts could not mature into NeuN+ neurons in the striatum. Furthermore, we found that cortical lesions, close or distant from the SVZ, could not upregulate SVZ cell proliferation nor promote neurogenesis. Our study demonstrates that both the time window for labeling proliferating cells and the site of lesion are crucial when assessing neurogenesis following brain injury.
Postnatal neurogenesis takes place in two brain regions, the hippocampus and the subventricular zone (SVZ). The transcriptional cascade controlling hippocampal neurogenesis has been described in detail; however, the transcriptional control of olfactory bulb neurogenesis is still not well mapped. In this study, we provide insights into the molecular events controlling postnatal olfactory bulb neurogenesis. We first show the existence of diverse neural stem cell/progenitor populations along the SVZ-rostral migratory stream (RMS) axis, focusing on those expressing the basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factor Mash1. We provide evidence that Mash1-derived progenies generate oligodendrocytic and neuronal precursors through the transient expression of the bHLH transcription factors Olig2 and neurogenin2 (Ngn2), respectively. Furthermore, we reveal that Ngn2-positive progenies express the T-box transcription factors Tbr2 and Tbr1, which are usually present during cortical and hippocampal glutamatergic neuronal differentiation. We also highlight a cell population expressing another bHLH transcription factor, neuroD1 (ND1). The ND1-positive cells are located in the SVZ-RMS axis and also co-express Tbr2, Tbr1 and neuroD2. The observations that these cells incorporate bromodeoxyuridine and express both doublecortin and polysialylated form of neural cell adhesion molecule suggest that they are newborn neurons. Finally, using an in vitro assay, we demonstrate that Ngn2 and ND1 equally and exclusively direct differentiation of Mash1-expressing precursors into calbindin-expressing and calretinin-expressing neurons, which are both neuronal subtypes normally found in the olfactory bulb. Taken together, our data illustrate that Ngn2, neuroD and Tbr transcription factors are involved in postnatal neurogenesis in the olfactory bulb.
The specification and differentiation of dentate gyrus granule neurons in the hippocampus require temporally and spatially coordinated actions of both intrinsic and extrinsic molecules. The basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor Neurogenin2 (Ngn2) and NeuroD1 are key regulators in these processes. Based on existing classification, we analyzed the molecular events occurring during hippocampal neurogenesis, primarily focusing on juvenile animals. We found that Ngn2 is transiently expressed by late type-2a amplifying progenitors. The Ngn2 progenies mature into hippocampal granule neurons. Interestingly, the loss of Ngn2 at early stages of development leads to a robust reduction in neurogenesis, but does not disturb granule neuron maturation per se. We found that the role of Ngn2 is to maintain progenitors in an undifferentiated state, allowing them to amplify prior to their maturation into granule neurons upon NeuroD1 induction. When we overexpressed Ngn2 and NeuroD1 in vivo, we found NeuroD1 to exhibit a more pronounced neuron-inductive effect, leading to granule neuron commitment, than that displayed by Ngn2. Finally, we observed that all markers expressed during the transcriptional control of hippocampal neurogenesis in rodents are also present in the human hippocampus. Taken together, we demonstrate a critical role of for Ngn2 and NeuroD1 in controlling neuronal commitment and hippocampal granule neuroblast formation, both during embryonic development and in post-natal hippocampal granule neurogenesis.
Blood vessels and adjacent cells form perivascular stem cell niches in adult tissues. In this perivascular niche, a stem cell with mesenchymal characteristics was recently identified in some adult somatic tissues. These cells are pericytes that line the microvasculature, express mesenchymal markers and differentiate into mesodermal lineages but might even have the capacity to generate tissue-specific cell types. Here, we isolated, purified and characterized a previously unrecognized progenitor population from two different regions in the adult human brain, the ventricular wall and the neocortex. We show that these cells co-express markers for mesenchymal stem cells and pericytes in vivo and in vitro, but do not express glial, neuronal progenitor, hematopoietic, endothelial or microglial markers in their native state. Furthermore, we demonstrate at a clonal level that these progenitors have true multilineage potential towards both, the mesodermal and neuroectodermal phenotype. They can be epigenetically induced in vitro into adipocytes, chondroblasts and osteoblasts but also into glial cells and immature neurons. This progenitor population exhibits long-term proliferation, karyotype stability and retention of phenotype and multipotency following extensive propagation. Thus, we provide evidence that the vascular niche in the adult human brain harbors a novel progenitor with multilineage capacity that appears to represent mesenchymal stem cells and is different from any previously described human neural stem cell. Future studies will elucidate whether these cells may play a role for disease or may represent a reservoir that can be exploited in efforts to repair the diseased human brain.
Related JoVE Video
Journal of Visualized Experiments
What is Visualize?
JoVE Visualize is a tool created to match the last 5 years of PubMed publications to methods in JoVE's video library.
How does it work?
We use abstracts found on PubMed and match them to JoVE videos to create a list of 10 to 30 related methods videos.
Video X seems to be unrelated to Abstract Y...
In developing our video relationships, we compare around 5 million PubMed articles to our library of over 4,500 methods videos. In some cases the language used in the PubMed abstracts makes matching that content to a JoVE video difficult. In other cases, there happens not to be any content in our video library that is relevant to the topic of a given abstract. In these cases, our algorithms are trying their best to display videos with relevant content, which can sometimes result in matched videos with only a slight relation.