In the present paper, we analyze the cell number within lamina X at the end stage of disease in a G93A mouse model of ALS; the effects induced by lithium; the stem-cell like phenotype of lamina X cells during ALS; the differentiation of these cells towards either a glial or neuronal phenotype. In summary we found that G93A mouse model of ALS produces an increase in lamina X cells which is further augmented by lithium administration. In the absence of lithium these nestin positive stem-like cells preferentially differentiate into glia (GFAP positive), while in the presence of lithium these cells differentiate towards a neuron-like phenotype ( ? III-tubulin, NeuN, and calbindin-D28K positive). These effects of lithium are observed concomitantly with attenuation in disease progression and are reminiscent of neurogenetic effects induced by lithium in the subependymal ventricular zone of the hippocampus.
The success of skeletal muscle reconstruction depends on finding the most effective, clinically suitable strategy to engineer myogenic cells and biocompatible scaffolds. Satellite cells (SCs), freshly isolated or transplanted within their niche, are presently considered the best source for muscle regeneration. Here, we designed and developed the delivery of either SCs or muscle progenitor cells (MPCs) via an in situ photo-cross-linkable hyaluronan-based hydrogel, hyaluronic acid-photoinitiator (HA-PI) complex. Partially ablated tibialis anterior (TA) of C57BL/6J mice engrafted with freshly isolated satellite cells embedded in hydrogel showed a major improvement in muscle structure and number of new myofibers, compared to muscles receiving hydrogel + MPCs or hydrogel alone. Notably, SCs embedded in HA-PI also promoted functional recovery, as assessed by contractile force measurements. Tissue reconstruction was associated with the formation of both neural and vascular networks and the reconstitution of a functional SC niche. This innovative approach could overcome previous limitations in skeletal muscle tissue engineering.
The ideal bioartificial liver should be designed to reproduce as nearly as possible in vitro the habitat that hepatic cells find in vivo. In the present work, we investigated the in vitro perfusion condition with a view to improving the hepatic differentiation of pluripotent human liver stem cells (HLSCs) from adult liver. Tissue engineering strategies based on the cocultivation of HLSCs with hepatic stellate cells (ITO) and with several combinations of medium were applied to improve viability and differentiation. A mathematical model estimated the best flow rate for perfused cultures lasting up to 7 days. Morphological and functional assays were performed. Morphological analyses confirmed that a flow of perfusion medium (assured by the bioreactor system) enabled the in vitro organization of the cells into liver clusters even in the deeper levels of the sponge. Our results showed that, when cocultured with ITO using stem cell medium, HLSCs synthesized a large amount of albumin and the MTT test confirmed an improvement in cell proliferation. In conclusion, this study shows that our in vitro cell conditions promote the formation of clusters of HLSCs and enhance the functional differentiation into a mature hepatic population.
An in vitro muscle-like structure with parallel-oriented contractile myotubes is needed as a model of muscle tissue regeneration. For this purpose, it is necessary to reproduce a controllable microscale environment mimicking the in vivo cues. In this work we focused on the application of topological and electrical stimuli on muscle precursor cell (MPC) culture to influence MPC orientation and induce myotube alignment. The two stimulations were tested both independently and together. A structural and topological template was achieved using micropatterned poly-(L-lactic acid) membranes. Electrical stimulation, consisting of square pulses of 70 mV/cm amplitude each 30 s, was applied to the MPC culture. The effect of different pulse durations on cultures was evaluated by galvanotaxis analysis. The highest cell displacement rate toward the cathode was observed for 3 ms pulse stimulation, which was then applied in combination with topological stimuli. Topological and electrical stimuli had an additive effect in enhancing differentiation of cultured MPC, shown by high Troponin I protein production and, in parallel, Myogenin and Desmin genes, down- and upregulation respectively.
It has been widely demonstrated that perfusion bioreactors improve in vitro three-dimensional (3D) cultures in terms of high cell density and uniformity of cell distribution; however, the studies reported in literature were primarily based on qualitative analysis (histology, immunofluorescent staining) or on quantitative data averaged on the whole population (DNA assay, PCR). Studies on the behavior, in terms of cell cycle, of a cell population growing in 3D scaffolds in static or dynamic conditions are still absent. In this work, a perfusion bioreactor suitable to culture C(2)C(12) muscle precursor cells within 3D porous collagen scaffolds was designed and developed and a method based on flowcytometric analyses for analyzing the cell cycle in the cell population was established. Cells were extracted by enzymatic digestion of the collagen scaffolds after 4, 7, and 10 days of culture, and flow cytometric live/dead and cell cycle analyses were performed with Propidium Iodide. A live/dead assay was used for validating the method for cell extraction and staining. Moreover, to investigate spatial heterogeneity of the cell population under perfusion conditions, two stacked scaffolds in the 3D domain, of which only the upstream layer was seeded, were analyzed separately. All results were compared with those obtained from static 3D cultures. The live/dead assay revealed the presence of less than 20% of dead cells, which did not affect the cell cycle analysis. Cell cycle analyses highlighted the increment of cell fractions in proliferating phases (S/G(2)/M) owing to medium perfusion in long-term cultures. After 7-10 days, the percentage of proliferating cells was 8-12% for dynamic cultures and 3-5% for the static controls. A higher fraction of proliferating cells was detected in the downstream scaffold. From a general perspective, this method provided data with a small standard deviation and detected the differences between static and dynamic cultures and between upper and lower scaffolds. Our methodology can be extended to other cell types to investigate the influence of 3D culture conditions on the expression of other relevant cell markers.
The mass transport through biocompatible and biodegradable polymeric 3D porous scaffolds may be depleted by non-porous impermeable internal walls. As consequence the concentration of metabolites and growth factors within the scaffold may be heterogeneous leading to different cell fate depending on spatial cell location, and in some cases it may compromise cell survival. In this work, we fabricated polymeric scaffolds with micro- and nano-scale porosity by developing a new technique that couples two conventional scaffold production methods: solvent casting-salt leaching and gas antisolvent precipitation. 10-15w/w solutions of a hyaluronic benzyl esters (HYAFF11) and poly-(lactic acid) (PLA) were used to fill packed beds of 0.177-0.425mm NaCl crystals. The polymer precipitation in micro and nano-porous structures between the salt crystals was induced by high-pressure gas, then its flushing extracted the residual solvent. The salt was removed by water-wash. Morphological analysis by scanning electron microscopy showed a uniform porosity (~70%) and a high interconnectivity between porous. The polymeric walls were porous themselves counting for 30% of the total porosity. This wall porosity did not lead to a remarkable change in compressive modulus, deformation, and rupture pressure. Scaffold biocompatibility was tested with murine muscle cell line C2C12 for 4 and 7days. Viability analysis and histology showed that micro- and nano-porous scaffolds are biocompatible and suitable for 3D cell culture promoting cell adhesion on the polymeric wall and allowing their proliferation in layers. Micro- and nano-scale porosities enhance cell migration and growth in the inner part of the scaffold.
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