Vascular diseases are a major cause of morbidity and mortality, particularly in diabetic patients. Stem/progenitor cell treatments with bone marrow-derived cells show safety and promising outcomes, albeit not without some preprocedural adverse events related to cell collection and mobilization. We describe a novel technology for generating a therapeutic population (BGC101) of enriched endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) from non-mobilized blood, using dendritic cells to specifically direct stem/progenitor cell activity in vitro.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disorder of motor neurons. Although most cases of ALS are sporadic (sALS) and of unknown etiology, there are also inherited familial ALS (fALS) cases that share a phenotype similar to sALS pathological and clinical phenotype. In this study, we have identified two new potential genetic ALS biomarkers in human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (hMSC) obtained from sALS patients, namely the TDP-43 (TAR DNA-binding protein 43) and SLPI (secretory leukocyte protease inhibitor). Together with the previously discovered ones-CyFIP2 and RbBP9, we investigated whether these four potential ALS biomarkers may be differentially expressed in tissues obtained from mutant SOD1(G93A) transgenic mice, a model that is relevant for at least 20% of the fALS cases. Quantitative real-time PCR analysis of brain, spinal cord and muscle tissues of the mSOD1(G93A) and controls at various time points during the progression of the neurological disease showed differential expression of the four identified biomarkers in correlation with (i) the tissue type, (ii) the stage of the disease and (iii) the gender of the animals, creating thus a novel spatiotemporal molecular signature of ALS. The biomarkers detected in the fALS animal model were homologous to those that were identified in hMSC of our sALS cases. These results support the possibility of a molecular link between sALS and fALS and may indicate common pathogenetic mechanisms involved in both types of ALS. Moreover, these results may pave the path for using the mSOD1(G93A) mouse model and these biomarkers as molecular beacons to evaluate the effects of novel drugs/treatments in ALS.
Human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSC) are easily isolated from the bone marrow by adherence to plastic surfaces. These cells show self-renewal capacity and multipotency. A unique feature of hMSC is their capacity to survive without serum. Under this condition hMSC neither proliferate nor differentiate but maintain their biological properties unaffected. Therefore, this should be a perfect platform to study the biological effects of defined molecules on these human stem cells. We show that hMSC treated for five days with retinoic acid (RA) in the absence of serum undergo several transcriptional changes causing an inhibition of ERK related pathways. We found that RA induces the loss of hMSC properties such as differentiation potential to either osteoblasts or adipocytes. We also found that RA inhibits cell cycle progression in the presence of proliferating signals such as epidermal growth factor (EGF) combined with basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF). In the same manner, RA showed to cause a reduction in cell adhesion and cell migration. In contrast to these results, the addition of EGF+bFGF to serum free cultures was enough to upregulate ERK activity and induce hMSC proliferation and cell migration. Furthermore, the addition of these factors to differentiation specific media instead of serum was enough to induce either osteogenesis or adipogenesis. Altogether, our results show that hMSCs ability to survive without serum enables the identification of signaling factors and pathways that are involved in their stem cell biological characteristics without possible serum interferences.
Bone marrow human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) are known to survive in serum-free media, when most normal somatic cells do not survive. We found that the endogenously-activated bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) pathway is involved in this cellular behavior. Under this culture condition, phosphorylated Smad1 (PSmad1), the transducer of this signal, is localized in the hMSC nuclei. In addition, inhibition of this pathway with noggin, a BMP antagonist, elicits a caspase-dependent hMSCs death in a concentration-dependent manner. Furthermore, exogenously added BMP4 alleviates the noggin effect, restoring cell survival, and suggesting that BMP signal is essential for hMSC survival under serum deprivation conditions. Altogether these findings demonstrate for the first time an endogenous survival pathway of hMSCs driven by a BMP signal. Such a survival mechanism might be involved in the maintenance of the hMSC population within their bone marrow niche.
Human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) reside in the bone marrow and are known for their ability to differentiate along the mesenchymal lineage (fat, bone, and cartilage). Recent works have suggested the possibility that these cells are also capable of differentiating toward the neuroectodermal lineage. Using lentiviral gene delivery, we sought to reprogram the bone marrow-derived MSCs toward dopaminergic differentiation through delivery of LMX1a, which was reported to be a key player in dopaminergic differentiation in both developmental animal models and embryonic stem cells. Transduction of cells with fluorescent reporter genes confirmed efficiency of gene delivery. On incubation of the LMX1a transduced cells in differentiation medium, the LMX1a protein was concentrated in the cells nuclei and specific dopaminergic developmental genes were upregulated. Moreover, the transduced cells expressed higher levels of tyrosine hydroxylase, the rate limiting enzyme in dopamine synthesis, and secreted significantly higher level of dopamine in comparison to nontransduced cells. We hereby present a novel strategy to facilitate the dopaminergic differentiation of bone marrow-derived MSCs as a possible cell source for autologous transplantation for Parkinsonian patients in the future.
Stem cell-based therapy is a promising treatment for neurodegenerative diseases. In our laboratory, a novel protocol has been developed to induce bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) into neurotrophic factors- secreting cells (NTF-SC), thus combining stem cell-based therapy with the NTF-based neuroprotection. These cells produce and secrete factors such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and glial cell-derived neurotrophic factor. Conditioned medium of the NTF-SC that was applied to a neuroblastoma cell line (SH-SY5Y) 1 h before exposure to the neurotoxin 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) demonstrated marked protection. An efficacy study was conducted on the 6-OHDA-induced lesion, a rat model of Parkinsons disease. The cells, either MSC or NTF-SC, were transplanted on the day of 6-OHDA administration and amphetamine-induced rotations were measured as a primary behavior index. We demonstrated that when transplanted posterior to the 6-OHDA lesion, the NTF-SC ameliorated amphetamine-induced rotations by 45%. HPLC analysis demonstrated that 6-OHDA induced dopamine depletion to a level of 21% compared to the untreated striatum. NTF-SC inhibited dopamine depletion to a level of 72% of the contralateral striatum. Moreover, an MRI study conducted with iron-labeled cells, followed by histological verification, revealed that the engrafted cells migrated toward the lesion. In a histological assessment, we found that the cells induced regeneration in the damaged striatal dopaminergic nerve terminal network. We therefore conclude that the induced MSC have a therapeutic potential for neurodegenerative processes and diseases, both by the NTFs secretion and by the migratory trait toward the diseased tissue.
Parkinsons disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder with its motor phenomena due mostly to loss of dopamine-producing neurons in the substantia nigra. Pharmacological treatments aimed to increase the deficient dopaminergic neurotransmission are effective in ameliorating the cardinal symptoms, but none of these therapies is curative. It has been suggested that treatment with neurotrophic factors (NTFs) might protect and prevent death of the surviving dopaminergic neurons and induce proliferation of their axonal nerve terminals with reinnervations of the deafferented striatum. However, long-term delivery of such proteins into the CNS is problematic. We therefore aimed to differentiate ex vivo human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal cells into astrocyte-like cells, capable of generating NTFs for future transplantation into basal ganglia of PD patients. Indeed, mesenchymal stromal cells treated with our novel astrocyte differentiation medium, present astrocyte-like morphology and express the astrocyte markers S100beta, glutamine synthetase and glial fibrillary acidic protein. Moreover, these astrocyte-like cells produce and secrete significant amounts of glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF), nerve growth factor (NGF), and brain-derived neurotrophic factor as indicated by messenger RNA, real-time polymerase chain reaction, ELISA, and Western blot analyses. Such NTF-producing cells transplanted into the striatum of 6-hydroxydopamine-lesioned rats, a model of PD, produced a progressive reduction in the apomorphine-induced contralateral rotations as well as behavioral improvement in rotor-rod and the "sunflower seeds" eating motor tests. Histological assessments revealed that the engrafted cells survived and expressed astrocyte and human markers and acted to regenerate the damaged dopaminergic nerve terminal system. Findings indicate that our novel procedure to induce NTF-producing astrocyte-like cells derived from human bone marrow stromal cells might become a promising and feasible autologous transplantation strategy for PD.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal, neurodegenerative disorder caused by degeneration of motor neurons. The cause for most cases of ALS is multi-factorial,this enhances the need to characterize and isolate specific biomarkers found in biological samples from ALS patients. To this end we use human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSC) derived from the bone marrow of six ALS patients (ALS hMSC) and identified two genes, Cytoplasmic FMR Interacting Protein 2 (CyFIP2) and Retinoblastoma (Rb) Binding Protein 9 (RbBP9) with a significant decrease in post transcriptional A to I RNA editing compared to hMSC of healthy individuals. At the transcriptional level we show abnormal expression of these two genes in ALS hMSC by quantitative real time-PCR (qRT-PCR) and Western blot suggesting a problem in the regulation of these genes in ALS. To strengthen this view we tested by qRT-PCR the expression of these genes in peripheral blood leukocytes (PBL) isolated from blood samples of 17 ALS patients and found that CyFIP2 and RbBP9 levels of expression were significantly different compared to the levels of expression of these two genes in 19 normal PBL samples. Altogether we found two novel ALS potential biomarkers in non-neural tissues from ALS patients that may have direct diagnostic and therapeutic implications to the disease.
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