Noise exposure causes damage of multiple cochlear cell types producing permanent hearing loss with important social consequences. In mammals, no regeneration of either damaged hair cells or auditory neurons has been observed and no successful treatment is available to achieve a functional recovery. Loads of evidence indicate adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs) as promising tools in diversified regenerative medicine applications, due to the high degree of plasticity and trophic features. This study was aimed at identifying the path of in vivo cell migration and expression of trophic growth factors, upon ASCs transplantation into the cochlea, following noise-induced injury. ASCs were isolated in primary culture from the adipose tissue of a guinea pig, transduced using a viral vector to express the green fluorescent protein, and implanted into the scala tympani of deafened animals. Auditory function was assessed 3 and 7?days after surgery. The expression of trophic growth factors was comparatively analyzed using real-time PCR in control and noise-injured cochlear tissues. Immunofluorescence was used to assess the in vivo localization and expression of trophic growth factors in ASCs and cochleae, 3 and 7?days following homologous implantation. ASC implantation did not modify auditory function. ASCs migrated from the perilymphatic to the endolymphatic compartment, during the analyzed time course. Upon noise exposure, the expression of chemokine ligands and receptors related to the PDGF, VEGF, and TGFbeta pathways, increased in the cochlear tissues, possibly guiding in vivo cell migration. Immunofluorescence confirmed the increased expression, which appeared to be further strengthened by ASCs' implantation. These results indicated that ASCs are able to migrate at the site of tissue damage and express trophic factors, upon intracochlear implantation, providing an original proof of principle, which could pave the way for further developments of ASC-based treatments of deafness.
Bone fusion represents a challenge in the orthopedics practice, being especially indicated for spine disorders. Spinal fusion can be defined as the bony union between two vertebral bodies obtained through the surgical introduction of an osteoconductive, osteoinductive, and osteogenic compound. Autogenous bone graft provides all these three qualities and is considered the gold standard. However, a high morbidity is associated with the harvest procedure. Intensive research efforts have been spent during the last decades to develop new approaches and technologies for successful spine fusion. In recent years, cell and gene therapies have attracted great interest from the scientific community. The improved knowledge of both mesenchymal stem cell biology and osteogenic molecules allowed their use in regenerative medicine, representing attractive approaches to achieve bone regeneration also in spinal surgery applications. In this review we aim to describe the developing gene- and cell-based bone regenerative approaches as promising future trends in spine fusion.
Modulation of endogenous neurogenesis is regarded as a promising challenge in neuroprotection. In the rat model of hippocampal neurodegeneration obtained by Trimethyltin (TMT) administration (8 mg/kg), characterised by selective pyramidal cell loss, enhanced neurogenesis, seizures and cognitive impairment, we previously demonstrated a proliferative role of exogenous neuropeptide Y (NPY), on dentate progenitors in the early phases of neurodegeneration. To investigate the functional integration of newly-born neurons, here we studied in adult rats the long-term effects of intracerebroventricular administration of NPY (2 µg/2 µl, 4 days after TMT-treatment), which plays an adjuvant role in neurodegeneration and epilepsy. Our results indicate that 30 days after NPY administration the number of new neurons was still higher in TMT+NPY-treated rats than in control+saline group. As a functional correlate of the integration of new neurons into the hippocampal network, long-term potentiation recorded in Dentate Gyrus (DG) in the absence of GABAA receptor blockade was higher in the TMT+NPY-treated group than in all other groups. Furthermore, qPCR analysis of Kruppel-like factor 9, a transcription factor essential for late-phase maturation of neurons in the DG, and of the cyclin-dependent kinase 5, critically involved in the maturation and dendrite extension of newly-born neurons, revealed a significant up-regulation of both genes in TMT+NPY-treated rats compared with all other groups. To explore the early molecular events activated by NPY administration, the Sonic Hedgehog (Shh) signalling pathway, which participates in the maintenance of the neurogenic hippocampal niche, was evaluated by qPCR 1, 3 and 5 days after NPY-treatment. An early significant up-regulation of Shh expression was detected in TMT+NPY-treated rats compared with all other groups, associated with a modulation of downstream genes. Our data indicate that the neurogenic effect of NPY administration during TMT-induced neurodegeneration involves early Shh pathway activation and results in a functional integration of newly-generated neurons into the local circuit.
The aim of this study was to analyze previously published gene expression data of skeletal muscle biopsies of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) patients and controls (gene expression omnibus database, accession #GSE6011) using systems biology approaches. We applied an unsupervised method to discriminate patient and control populations, based on principal component analysis, using the gene expressions as units and patients as variables. The genes having the highest absolute scores in the discrimination between the groups, were then analyzed in terms of gene expression networks, on the basis of their mutual correlation in the two groups. The correlation network structures suggest two different modes of gene regulation in the two groups, reminiscent of important aspects of DMD pathogenesis.
Trimethyltin (TMT) is an organotin compound exhibiting neurotoxicant effects selectively localized in the limbic system and especially marked in the hippocampus, in both experimental animal models and accidentally exposed humans. TMT administration causes selective neuronal death involving either the granular neurons of the dentate gyrus or the pyramidal cells of the Cornu Ammonis, with a different pattern of localization depending on the different species studied or the dosage schedule. TMT is broadly used to realize experimental models of hippocampal neurodegeneration associated with cognitive impairment and temporal lobe epilepsy, though the molecular mechanisms underlying the associated selective neuronal death are still not conclusively clarified. Experimental evidence indicates that TMT-induced neurodegeneration is a complex event involving different pathogenetic mechanisms, probably acting differently in animal and cell models, which include neuroinflammation, intracellular calcium overload, and oxidative stress. Microarray-based, genome-wide expression analysis has been used to investigate the molecular scenario occurring in the TMT-injured brain in different in vivo and in vitro models, producing an overwhelming amount of data. The aim of this review is to discuss and rationalize the state-of-the-art on TMT-associated genome wide expression profiles in order to identify comparable and reproducible data that may allow focusing on significantly involved pathways.
Adipose tissue represents a hot topic in regenerative medicine because of the tissue source abundance, the relatively easy retrieval, and the inherent biological properties of mesenchymal stem cells residing in its stroma. Adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (ASCs) are indeed multipotent somatic stem cells exhibiting growth kinetics and plasticity, proved to induce efficient tissue regeneration in several biomedical applications. A defined consensus for their isolation, classification, and characterization has been very recently achieved. In particular, bone tissue reconstruction and regeneration based on ASCs has emerged as a promising approach to restore structure and function of bone compromised by injury or disease. ASCs have been used in combination with osteoinductive biomaterial and/or osteogenic molecules, in either static or dynamic culture systems, to improve bone regeneration in several animal models. To date, few clinical trials on ASC-based bone reconstruction have been concluded and proved effective. The aim of this review is to dissect the state of the art on ASC use in bone regenerative applications in the attempt to provide a comprehensive coverage of the topics, from the basic laboratory to recent clinical applications.
The aim of this study was to analyze previously published gene expression data of skeletal muscle biopsies of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) patients and controls (Gene Expression Omnibus database, accession #GSE6011) using systems biology approaches. We applied an unsupervised method to discriminate patient and control populations, based on principal component analysis, using the gene expressions as units and patients as variables. The genes having the highest absolute scores in the discrimination between the groups, were then analyzed in terms of gene expression networks, on the basis of their mutual correlation in the two groups. The correlation network structures suggest two different modes of gene regulation in the two groups, reminiscent of important aspects of DMD pathogenesis.
Among somatic stem cells, those residing in the intestine represent a fascinating and poorly explored research field. Particularly, somatic stem cells reside in the small intestine at the level of the crypt base, in a constant balance between self-renewal and differentiation. Aim of the present review is to delve into the mechanisms that regulate the delicate equilibrium through which intestinal stem cells orchestrate intestinal architecture. To this aim, special focus will be addressed to identify the integrating signals from the surrounding niche, supporting a model whereby distinct cell populations facilitate homeostatic vs injury-induced regeneration.
Recent evidence suggested that muscle degeneration might lead and/or contribute to neurodegeneration, thus it possibly play a key role in the etiopathogenesis and progression of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). To test this hypothesis, this study attempted to categorize functionally relevant genes within the genome-wide expression profile of human ALS skeletal muscle, using microarray technology and gene regulatory network analysis. The correlation network structures significantly change between patients and controls, indicating an increased inter-gene connection in patients compared to controls. The gene network observed in the ALS group seems to reflect the perturbation of muscle homeostasis and metabolic balance occurring in affected individuals. In particular, the network observed in the ALS muscles includes genes (PRKR1A, FOXO1, TRIM32, ACTN3, among others), whose functions connect the sarcomere integrity to mitochondrial oxidative metabolism. Overall, the analytical approach used in this study offer the possibility to observe higher levels of correlation (i.e. common expression trends) among genes, whose function seems to be aberrantly activated during the progression of muscle atrophy.
Tumors have long been viewed as a population in which all cells have the equal propensity to form new tumors, the so called conventional stochastic model. The cutting-edge theory on tumor origin and progression, tends to consider cancer as a stem cell disease. Stem cells are actively involved in the onset and maintenance of colon cancer. This review is intended to examine the state of the art on colon cancer stem cells (CSCs), with regard to the recent achievements of basic research and to the corresponding translational consequences. Specific prominence is given to the hypothesized origin of CSCs and to the methods for their identification. The growing understanding of CSC biology is driving the optimization of novel anti-cancer targeted drugs.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), represent an attractive tool for the establishment of a successful stem-cell-based therapy of liver diseases. A number of different mechanisms contribute to the therapeutic effects exerted by MSCs, since these cells can differentiate into functional hepatic cells and can also produce a series of growth factors and cytokines able to suppress inflammatory responses, reduce hepatocyte apoptosis, regress liver fibrosis, and enhance hepatocyte functionality. To date, the infusion of MSCs or MSC-conditioned medium has shown encouraging results in the treatment of fulminant hepatic failure and in end-stage liver disease in experimental settings. However, some issues under debate hamper the use of MSCs in clinical trials. This paper summarizes the biological relevance of MSCs and the potential benefits and risks that can result from translating the MSC research to the treatment of liver diseases.
Due to its abundance, easy retrieval, and plasticity characteristics, adipose-tissue-derived stromal cells (ATSCs) present unquestionable advantages over other adult-tissue-derived stem cells. Based on the in silico analysis of our previous data reporting the ATSC-specific expression profiles, the present study attempted to clarify and validate at the functional level the expression of the neurospecific genes expressed by ATSC both in vitro and in vivo. This allowed evidencing that ATSCs express neuro-specific trophins, metabolic genes, and neuroprotective molecules. They were in fact able to induce neurite outgrowth in vitro, along with tissue-specific commitment along the neural lineage and the expression of the TRKA neurotrophin receptor in vivo. Our observation adds useful information to recent evidence proposing these cells as a suitable tool for cell-based applications in neuroregenerative medicine.
To test the osteo-regenerative potential of adipose tissue-derived stromal cells (ATSCs), an attractive human source for tissue engineering, in a rat model of mandibular defect. Human dermal fibroblasts (HDFs) were used as a differentiated cellular control in the study.
Lim mineralization protein-3 (LMP3) induces osteoblast differentiation by regulating the expression and activity of certain molecules involved in the osteogenic cascade, including those belonging to the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) family. The complete network of molecular events involved in LMP3-mediated osteogenesis is still unknown. The aim of this study was to analyze the genome-wide gene expression profiles in human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSC) induced by exogenous LMP3 to mediate osteogenesis. For this purpose hMSC were transduced with a defective adenoviral vector expressing the human LMP3 gene and microarray analysis was performed 1 day post-adenoviral transduction. Cells transduced with the vector backbone and untransduced cells were used as independent controls in the experiments. Microarray data were independently validated by means of real-time PCR on selected transcripts. The statistical analysis of microarray data produced a list of 263 significantly (p < 0.01) differentially expressed transcripts. The biological interpretation of the results indicated, among the most noteworthy effects, the modulation of genes involved in the TGF-beta1 pathway: 88 genes coding for key regulators of the cell cycle regulatory machinery and 28 genes implicated in the regulation of cell proliferation along with the development of connective, muscular, and skeletal tissues. These results suggested that LMP3 could affect the fine balance between cell proliferation/differentiation of mesenchymal cells mostly by modulating the TGF-beta1 signaling pathway.
Bone marrow- and adipose tissue-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC) represent promising sources for regenerative medicine. However, the precise molecular mechanisms underlying MSC stemness maintenance versus differentiation are not fully understood. The aim of this study was to compare the genome-wide expression profiles of bone marrow-and adipose tissue-derived MSC, in order to identify a common molecular stemness core.
Multipotent mesenchymal stem cells with extensive self-renewal properties can be easily isolated and rapidly expanded in culture from small volumes of amniotic fluid. These cells, namely, amniotic fluid-stromal cells (AFSCs), can be regarded as an attractive source for tissue engineering purposes, being phenotypically and genetically stable, plus overcoming all the safety and ethical issues related to the use of embryonic/fetal cells. LMP3 is a novel osteoinductive molecule acting upstream to the main osteogenic pathways. This study is aimed at delineating the basic molecular events underlying LMP3-induced osteogenesis, using AFSCs as a cellular model to focus on the molecular features underlying the multipotency/differentiation switch. For this purpose, AFSCs were isolated and characterized in vitro and transfected with a defective adenoviral vector expressing the human LMP3. LMP3 induced the successful osteogenic differentiation of AFSC by inducing the expression of osteogenic markers and osteospecific transcription factors. Moreover, LMP3 induced an early repression of the Kruppel-like factor-4, implicated in MSC stemness maintenance. KLF4 repression was released upon LMP3 silencing, indicating that this event could be reasonably considered among the basic molecular events that govern the proliferation/differentiation switch during LMP3-induced osteogenic differentiation of AFSC.
Sporadic mono-sutural craniosynostosis represents a highly prevalent regional bone disorder, where a single cranial suture undergoes premature ossification due to a generally unclear etiopathogenesis. The LIM mineralization protein (LMP) was recently described as an efficient osteogenic molecule involved in osteoblast differentiation, expressed in calvarial tissues upon corticosteroid-osteogenic induction and used as a potent inducer of bone formation in several animal models. In this study, calvarial cells isolated from both prematurely fused and physiologically patent sutures of children with sporadic craniosynostosis, were used as an in vitro paradigmatic model for the study of the molecular events involved in calvarial osteogenesis, focusing on the possible role of the LMP-related osteogenic signaling. Calvarial cells isolated from both patent and fused sutures expressed a mesenchymal-like immunophenotype. Cells isolated from fused sutures displayed an increased osteogenic potential, being able to undergo spontaneous mineralization and premature response to osteogenic induction, leading to in vitro bone nodule formation. The expression of LMP and its target genes (bone morphogenetic protein-2, osteocalcin and Runt-related transcription factor 2) was significantly up-regulated in cells derived from the fused sutures. Upon silencing the expression of LMP in fused suture-derived cells, the osteogenic potential along with the expression of osteo-specific transcription factors decreased, restoring the "physiologic" cell behavior. These results suggested that: 1. mesenchymal cells residing in fused sutures display a constitutionally active osteogenic disposition leading to the premature suture ossification; 2. the molecular basis of the overactive osteogenic process may at least in part involve a deregulation of the LMP-related pathway in calvarial cells.
The objective of this study was to perform global gene expression profiling of patients affected by narcolepsy with cataplexy (NRLCP). This enabled identifying new potential biomarkers and relevant molecules possibly involved in the disease pathogenesis. In this study 10 NRLCP patients and 10 healthy controls were compared. Total RNA isolated from blood specimens was analyzed using microarray technology followed by statistical data analysis to detect genome-wide differential gene expression between patients and controls. Functional analysis of the gene list was performed in order to interpret the biological significance of the data. One hundred and seventy-three genes showed significant (p < 0.01) differential expression between the two tested conditions. The biological interpretation allowed categorizing differentially expressed genes involved in neurite outgrowth/extension and brain development, which could be possibly regarded as peripheral markers of the disease. Moreover, the NRLCP-related gene expression profiles indicated a dysregulation of metabolic and immune-related mechanisms. In conclusion, the gene expression profile associated to NRLCP suggested that molecular markers of neurological impairment, dysmetabolic and immune-related mechanisms, can be detected in blood of NRLCP patients.
The effects of intracerebroventricular administration of neuropeptide Y (NPY), which is believed to play an important role in neuroprotection against excitotoxicity and in the modulation of adult neurogenesis, were evaluated in an animal model of hippocampal neurodegeneration and temporal lobe epilepsy represented by trimethyltin (TMT) intoxication. A single TMT injection (8 mg/kg) causes, in the rat brain, massive neuronal death, selectively involving pyramidal neurons, accompanied by glial activation and enhanced hippocampal neurogenesis. Our data indicate that intracerebroventricular administration of exogenous NPY (at the dose of 2 ?g/2 ?L, 4 days after TMT-administration), in adult rats, exerts a protective role in regard to TMT-induced hippocampal damage and a proliferative effect on the hippocampal neurogenic niche through the up-regulation of Bcl-2, Bcl2l1, Bdnf, Sox-2, NeuroD1, Noggin and Doublecortin genes, contributing to delineate more clearly the role of NPY in in vivo neurodegenerative processes.
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