Platelet transfusions total >2.17 million apheresis-equivalent units/year in the United States and are derived entirely from human donors despite clinically significant immunogenicity, associated risk of sepsis, and inventory shortages due to high demand and 5-day shelf life. To take advantage of known physiological drivers of thrombopoiesis we have developed a microfluidic human platelet bioreactor that recapitulates bone marrow stiffness, extracellular matrix composition, micro-channel size, hemodynamic vascular shear stress, and endothelial cell contacts, and supports high-resolution live-cell microscopy and quantification of platelet production. Physiological shear stresses triggered proplatelet initiation, reproduced ex vivo bone marrow proplatelet production, and generated functional platelets. Modeling human bone marrow composition and hemodynamics in vitro obviates risks associated with platelet procurement and storage to help meet growing transfusion needs.
Current therapies for multiple sclerosis (MS) are largely palliative, not curative. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) harbor regenerative and immunosuppressive functions, indicating a potential therapy for MS, yet the variability and low potency of MSCs from adult sources hinder their therapeutic potential. MSCs derived from human embryonic stem cells (hES-MSCs) may be better suited for clinical treatment of MS because of their unlimited and stable supply. Here, we show that hES-MSCs significantly reduce clinical symptoms and prevent neuronal demyelination in a mouse experimental autoimmune encephalitis (EAE) model of MS, and that the EAE disease-modifying effect of hES-MSCs is significantly greater than that of human bone-marrow-derived MSCs (BM-MSCs). Our evidence also suggests that increased IL-6 expression by BM-MSCs contributes to the reduced anti-EAE therapeutic activity of these cells. A distinct ability to extravasate and migrate into inflamed CNS tissues may also be associated with the robust therapeutic effects of hES-MSCs on EAE.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are being tested in a wide range of human diseases; however, loss of potency and inconsistent quality severely limit their use. To overcome these issues, we have utilized a developmental precursor called the hemangioblast as an intermediate cell type in the derivation of a highly potent and replenishable population of MSCs from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). This method circumvents the need for labor-intensive hand-picking, scraping, and sorting that other hESC-MSC derivation methods require. Moreover, unlike previous reports on hESC-MSCs, we have systematically evaluated their immunomodulatory properties and in vivo potency. As expected, they dynamically secrete a range of bioactive factors, display enzymatic activity, and suppress T-cell proliferation that is induced by either allogeneic cells or mitogenic stimuli. However, they also display unique immunophenotypic properties, as well as a smaller size and >30,000-fold proliferative capacity than bone marrow-derived MSCs. In addition, this is the first report which demonstrates that hESC-MSCs can inhibit CD83 up-regulation and IL-12p70 secretion from dendritic cells and enhance regulatory T-cell populations induced by interleukin 2 (IL-2). This is also the first report which shows that hESC-MSCs have therapeutic efficacy in two different autoimmune disorder models, including a marked increase in survival of lupus-prone mice and a reduction of symptoms in an autoimmune model of uveitis. Our data suggest that this novel and therapeutically active population of MSCs could overcome many of the obstacles that plague the use of MSCs in regenerative medicine and serve as a scalable alternative to current MSC sources.
It has recently been shown that genomic integrity (with respect to copy number variants [CNVs]) is compromised in human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) generated by viral-based ectopic expression of specific transcription factors (e.g., Oct4, Sox2, Klf4, and c-Myc). However, it is unclear how different methods for iPSC generation compare with one another with respect to CNV formation. Because array-based methods remain the gold standard for detecting unbalanced structural variants (i.e., CNVs), we have used this approach to comprehensively identify CNVs in iPSC as a proxy for determining whether our modified protein-based method minimizes genomic instability compared with retro- and lentiviral methods. In this study, we established an improved method for protein reprogramming by using partially purified reprogramming proteins, resulting in more efficient generation of iPSCs from C57/BL6J mouse hepatocytes than using protein extracts. We also developed a robust and unbiased 1 M custom array CGH platform to identify novel CNVs and previously described hot spots for CNV formation, allowing us to detect CNVs down to the size of 1.9 kb. The genomic integrity of these protein-based mouse iPSCs (p-miPSCs) was compared with miPSCs developed from viral-based strategies (i.e., retroviral: retro-miPSCs or lentiviral: lenti-miPSCs). We identified an increased CNV content in lenti-miPSCs and retro-miPSCs (29?53 CNVs) compared with p-miPSCs (9?10 CNVs), indicating that our improved protein-based reprogramming method maintains genomic integrity better than current viral reprogramming methods. Thus, our study, for the first time to our knowledge, demonstrates that reprogramming methods significantly influence the genomic integrity of resulting iPSCs.
Derivation of patient-specific human pluripotent stem cells via somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) has the potential for applications in a range of therapeutic contexts. However, successful SCNT with human cells has proved challenging to achieve, and thus far has only been reported with fetal or infant somatic cells. In this study, we describe the application of a recently developed methodology for the generation of human ESCs via SCNT using dermal fibroblasts from 35- and 75-year-old males. Our study therefore demonstrates the applicability of SCNT for adult human cells and supports further investigation of SCNT as a strategy for regenerative medicine.
Self-renewal and pluripotency are hallmark properties of pluripotent stem cells, including embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and iPS cells. Previous studies revealed the ESC-specific core transcription circuitry and showed that these core factors (e.g., Oct3/4, Sox2, and Nanog) regulate not only self-renewal but also pluripotent differentiation. However, it remains elusive how these two cell states are regulated and balanced during in vitro replication and differentiation. Here, we report that the transcription elongation factor Tcea3 is highly enriched in mouse ESCs (mESCs) and plays important roles in regulating the differentiation. Strikingly, altering Tcea3 expression in mESCs did not affect self-renewal under nondifferentiating condition; however, upon exposure to differentiating cues, its overexpression impaired in vitro differentiation capacity, and its knockdown biased differentiation toward mesodermal and endodermal fates. Furthermore, we identified Lefty1 as a downstream target of Tcea3 and showed that the Tcea3-Lefty1-Nodal-Smad2 pathway is an innate program critically regulating cell fate choices between self-replication and differentiation commitment. Together, we propose that Tcea3 critically regulates pluripotent differentiation of mESCs as a molecular rheostat of Nodal-Smad2/3 signaling.
Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) have been derived and maintained on mouse embryonic fibroblast feeders to keep their undifferentiated status. To realize their clinical potential, a feeder-free and scalable system for large scale production of hESCs and their differentiated derivatives is required.
Retinal degenerations are typically characterized by loss of highly differentiated cell types within the neurosensory retina, such as photoreceptors, or retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). RPE loss is the final common pathway in a number of degenerations including the leading cause of new blindness in the developed world: age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Parkinson disease (PD) involves the selective loss of midbrain dopamine (mDA) neurons and is a possible target disease for stem cell-based therapy. Human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) are a potentially unlimited source of patient-specific cells for transplantation. However, it is critical to evaluate the safety of hiPSCs generated by different reprogramming methods. Here, we compared multiple hiPSC lines derived by virus- and protein-based reprogramming to human ES cells (hESCs). Neuronal precursor cells (NPCs) and dopamine (DA) neurons delivered from lentivirus-based hiPSCs exhibited residual expression of exogenous reprogramming genes, but those cells derived from retrovirus- and protein-based hiPSCs did not. Furthermore, NPCs derived from virus-based hiPSCs exhibited early senescence and apoptotic cell death during passaging, which was preceded by abrupt induction of p53. In contrast, NPCs derived from hESCs and protein-based hiPSCs were highly expandable without senescence. DA neurons derived from protein-based hiPSCs exhibited gene expression, physiological, and electrophysiological properties similar to those of mDA neurons. Transplantation of these cells into rats with striatal lesions, a model of PD, significantly rescued motor deficits. These data support the clinical potential of protein-based hiPSCs for personalized cell therapy of PD.
Platelets play an essential role in hemostasis and atherothrombosis. Owing to their short storage time, there is constant demand for this life-saving blood component. In this study, we report that it is feasible to generate functional megakaryocytes and platelets from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) on a large scale. Differential-interference contrast and electron microscopy analyses showed that ultrastructural and morphological features of hESC-derived platelets were indistinguishable from those of normal blood platelets. In functional assays, hESC-derived platelets responded to thrombin stimulation, formed microaggregates, and facilitated clot formation/retraction in vitro. Live cell microscopy demonstrated that hESC-platelets formed lamellipodia and filopodia in response to thrombin activation, and tethered to each other as observed in normal blood. Using real-time intravital imaging with high-speed video microscopy, we have also shown that hESC-derived platelets contribute to developing thrombi at sites of laser-induced vascular injury in mice, providing the first evidence for in vivo functionality of hESC-derived platelets. These results represent an important step toward generating an unlimited supply of platelets for transfusion. Since platelets contain no genetic material, they are ideal candidates for early clinical translation involving human pluripotent stem cells.
Under culture conditions that promote hematopoietic differentiation, human embryonic stem cells (huESC) give rise to primitive erythroid cells that closely resemble the nucleated erythrocytes of early-stage human embryos. The globin chain distribution of these cells is similar to that seen during the embryonic and fetal stages of development. Here we show that huESC-derived erythroid cells produce substantial quantities of homotetrameric hemoglobin (Hb) composed exclusively of gamma-globin-containing subunits. The globin synthesis of these erythroid cells was also significantly unbalanced, with a substantial decrease of alpha-like globin chain synthesis in relation to that of their beta-like globins, a pattern characteristically associated with alpha-thalassemia (alpha-thal). This pattern of unbalanced globin synthesis appears to be an inherent feature of human erythroid cells that synthesize predominantly embryonic-stage globins.
Human embryonic stem cells (hESC) represent a new source of stem cells that can be propagated and expanded in vitro indefinitely, providing a potentially inexhaustible and donorless source of cells for human therapy. The ability to create banks of hESC lines with matched or reduced incompatibility could potentially reduce or eliminate the need for immunosuppressive drugs and/or immunomodulatory protocols altogether, for example, O-type RhD(-) lines for generation of universal red blood cells (RBC). Hematopoietic differentiation of hESCs has been extensively investigated in vitro, and hematopoietic precursors as well as differentiated progeny representing erythroid, myeloid, macrophage, megakaryocytic, and lymphoid lineages have been identified in differentiating hESC cultures. Previous studies also generated primitive erythroid cells from hESCs by embryoid body (EB) formation and coculturing with stromal cells. However, the efficient and controlled differentiation of hESCs into homogeneous RBC populations with oxygen-carrying capacity has not been previously achieved. In this chapter, we describe a robust system that can efficiently generate large numbers of hemangioblasts from multiple hESC lines using well-defined conditions and produce functional homogeneous RBCs with oxygen-carrying capacity in large scale. The homogeneous erythroid cells can be used for further mechanism studies.
Given the usefulness of rats as an experimental system, an efficient method for generating rat induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells would provide researchers with a powerful tool for studying human physiology and disease. Here, we report direct reprogramming of rat neural precursor (NP) cells and rat embryonic fibroblasts (REF) into iPS cells by retroviral transduction using either three (Oct3/4, Sox2, and Klf4), four (Oct3/4, Sox2, Klf4, and c-Myc), or five (Oct3/4, Sox2, Klf4, c-Myc, and Nanog) genes.
Human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC) have been shown to differentiate into a variety of replacement cell types. Detailed evaluation and comparison with their human embryonic stem cell (hESC) counterparts is critical for assessment of their therapeutic potential. Using established methods, we demonstrate here that hiPSCs are capable of generating hemangioblasts/blast cells (BCs), endothelial cells, and hematopoietic cells with phenotypic and morphologic characteristics similar to those derived from hESCs, but with a dramatic decreased efficiency. Furthermore, in distinct contrast with the hESC derivatives, functional differences were observed in BCs derived from hiPSCs, including significantly increased apoptosis, severely limited growth and expansion capability, and a substantially decreased hematopoietic colony-forming capability. After further differentiation into erythroid cells, >1,000-fold difference in expansion capability was observed in hiPSC-BCs versus hESC-BCs. Although endothelial cells derived from hiPSCs were capable of taking up acetylated low-density lipoprotein and forming capillary-vascular-like structures on Matrigel, these cells also demonstrated early cellular senescence (most of the endothelial cells senesced after one passage). Similarly, retinal pigmented epithelium cells derived from hiPSCs began senescing in the first passage. Before clinical application, it will be necessary to determine the cause and extent of such abnormalities and whether they also occur in hiPSCs generated using different reprogramming methods.
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a major health problem especially when associated to concomitant diabetes and hypercholesterolemia. Hyperglycemia with an overwhelming generation of oxygen radicals and formation of glycation end-products exacerbates oxidation-sensitive mechanisms activated by tissue ischemia. Administration of autologous bone marrow cells (BMC) is an increasing notable intervention to induce therapeutic angiogenesis, ameliorated by metabolic intervention (MT). Recently, hemangioblasts (HS) with functional properties were isolated.
Assessments of safety and efficacy are crucial before human ESC (hESC) therapies can move into the clinic. Two important early potential hESC applications are the use of retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration and Stargardt disease, an untreatable form of macular dystrophy that leads to early-onset blindness. Here we show long-term functional rescue using hESC-derived RPE in both the RCS rat and Elov14 mouse, which are animal models of retinal degeneration and Stargardt, respectively. Good Manufacturing Practice-compliant hESC-RPE survived subretinal transplantation in RCS rats for prolonged periods (>220 days). The cells sustained visual function and photoreceptor integrity in a dose-dependent fashion without teratoma formation or untoward pathological reactions. Near-normal functional measurements were recorded at >60 days survival in RCS rats. To further address safety concerns, a Good Laboratory Practice-compliant study was carried out in the NIH III immune-deficient mouse model. Long-term data (spanning the life of the animals) showed no gross or microscopic evidence of teratoma/tumor formation after subretinal hESC-RPE transplantation. These results suggest that hESCs could serve as a potentially safe and inexhaustible source of RPE for the efficacious treatment of a range of retinal degenerative diseases.
Embryo-derived stem cells hold enormous potential for producing cell-based transplantation therapies, allowing high-throughput drug screening and delineating early embryonic development. However, potential clinical applications must first be tested for safety and efficacy in preclinical animal models. Due to physiological and genetic parity to humans, the domestic dog is widely used as a clinically relevant animal model for cardiovascular, neurodegenerative, orthopedic, and oncologic diseases. Therefore, we established numerous putative canine embryonic stem cell (cESC) lines by immunodissection of the inner cell mass (ICM), which we termed OVC.ID.1-23, and by explant outgrowths from whole canine blastocysts, named OVC.EX.1-16. All characterized lines were immunopositive for OCT4, SOX2, NANOG, SSEA-3, and SSEA-4; displayed high telomerase and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activities; and were maintained in this state up to 37 passages ( approximately 160 days). Colonies from OVC.EX lines showed classic domed hESC-like morphology surrounded by a ring of fibroblast-like cells, whereas all OVC.ID lines exhibited a mixed cell colony of tightly packed cESCs surrounded by a GATA6+/CDX2- hypoblast-derived support layer. Spontaneous serum-only differentiation without feeder layers demonstrated a strong lineage selection associated with the colony niche type, and not the isolation method. Upon differentiation, cESC lines formed embryoid bodies (EB) comprised of cells representative of all germinal layers, and differentiated into cell types of each layer. Canine ESC lines such as these have the potential to identify differences between embryonic stem cell line derivations, and to develop or to test cell-based transplantation therapies in the dog before attempting human clinical trials.
Embryonic stem cells are envisioned as a viable source of pluripotent cells for use in regenerative medicine applications when donor tissue is not available. However, most current harvest techniques for embryonic stem cells require the destruction of embryos, which has led to significant political and ethical limitations on their usage. Parthenogenesis, the process by which an egg can develop into an embryo in the absence of sperm, may be a potential source of embryonic stem cells that may avoid some of the political and ethical concerns surrounding embryonic stem cells. Here we provide the technical aspects of embryonic stem cell isolation and expansion from the parthenogenetic activation of oocytes. These cells were characterized for their stem-cell properties. In addition, these cells were induced to differentiate to the myogenic, osteogenic, adipogenic, and endothelial lineages, and were able to form muscle-like and bony-like tissue in vivo. Furthermore, parthenogenetic stem cells were able to integrate into injured muscle tissue. Together, these results demonstrate that parthenogenetic stem cells can be successfully isolated and utilized for various tissue engineering applications.
There is renewed interest in using animal oocytes to reprogram human somatic cells. Here we compare the reprogramming of human somatic nuclei using oocytes obtained from animal and human sources. Comparative analysis of gene expression in morula-stage embryos was carried out using single-embryo transcriptome amplification and global gene expression analyses. Genomic DNA fingerprinting and PCR analysis confirmed that the nuclear genome of the cloned embryos originated from the donor somatic cell. Although the human-human, human-bovine, and human-rabbit clones appeared morphologically similar and continued development to the morula stage at approximately the same rate (39, 36, and 36%, respectively), the pattern of reprogramming of the donor genome was dramatically different. In contrast to the interspecies clones, gene expression profiles of the human-human embryos showed that there was extensive reprogramming of the donor nuclei through extensive upregulation, and that the expression pattern was similar in key upregulation in normal control embryos. To account for maternal gene expression, enucleated oocyte transcriptome profiles were subtracted from the corresponding morula-stage embryo profiles. t-Test comparisons (median-normalized data @ fc>4; p<0.005) between human in vitro fertilization (IVF) embryos and human-bovine or human-rabbit interspecies somatic cell transfer (iSCNT) embryos found between 2400 and 2950 genes that were differentially expressed, the majority (60-70%) of which were downregulated, whereas the same comparison between the bovine and rabbit oocyte profiles found no differences at all. In contrast to the iSCNT embryos, expression profiles of human-human clones compared to the age-matched IVF embryos showed that nearly all of the differentially expressed genes were upregulated in the clones. Importantly, the human oocytes significantly upregulated Oct-4, Sox-2, and nanog (22-fold, 6-fold, and 12-fold, respectively), whereas the bovine and rabbit oocytes either showed no difference or a downregulation of these critical pluripotency-associated genes, effectively silencing them. Without appropriate reprogramming, these data call into question the potential use of these discordant animal oocyte sources to generate patient-specific stem cells.
The formation and regeneration of functional vasculatures require both endothelial cells (ECs) and vascular smooth muscle cells (SMCs). Identification and isolation of progenitors with potential for both EC and SMC lineage differentiation from an inexhaustible source, such as human embryonic stem (hES) or induced pluripotent stem cells, will be desirable for cell replacement therapy.
Complex partial seizures arising from mesial temporal lobe structures are a defining feature of mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE). For many TLE patients, there is an initial traumatic head injury that is the precipitating cause of epilepsy. Severe TLE can be associated with neuropathological changes, including hippocampal sclerosis, neurodegeneration in the dentate gyrus, and extensive reorganization of hippocampal circuits. Learning disabilities and psychiatric conditions may also occur in patients with severe TLE for whom conventional anti-epileptic drugs are ineffective. Novel treatments are needed to limit or repair neuronal damage, particularly to hippocampus and related limbic regions in severe TLE and to suppress temporal lobe seizures. A promising therapeutic strategy may be to restore inhibition of dentate gyrus granule neurons by means of cell grafts of embryonic stem cell-derived GABAergic neuron precursors. "Proof-of-concept" studies show that human and mouse embryonic stem cell-derived neural precursors can survive, migrate, and integrate into the brains of rodents in different experimental models of TLE. In addition, studies have shown that hippocampal grafts of cell lines engineered to release GABA or other anticonvulsant molecules can suppress seizures. Furthermore, transplants of fetal GABAergic progenitors from the mouse or human brain have also been shown to suppress the development of seizures. Here, we review these relevant studies and highlight areas of future research directed toward producing embryonic stem cell-derived GABAergic interneurons for cell-based therapies for treating TLE.
It has been 13 years since the discovery of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). Our report provides the first description of hESC-derived cells transplanted into human patients.
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