Neural stem cell transplantation can ameliorate the phenotype of a mouse model of spinal muscular atrophy.
ABSTRACT: Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a motor neuron disease (MND) and one of the most common genetic causes of infant mortality, currently has no cure. Patients with SMA exhibit muscle weakness and hypotonia. Stem cell transplantation is a potential therapeutic strategy for SMA and other MNDs. In this study, we isolated spinal cord neural stem cells (NSCs) from mice expressing green fluorescent protein only in motor neurons and assessed their therapeutic effects on the phenotype of SMA mice. Intrathecally grafted NSCs migrated into the parenchyma and generated a small proportion of motor neurons. Treated SMA mice exhibited improved neuromuscular function, increased life span, and improved motor unit pathology. Global gene expression analysis of laser-capture-microdissected motor neurons from treated mice showed that the major effect of NSC transplantation was modification of the SMA phenotype toward the wild-type pattern, including changes in RNA metabolism proteins, cell cycle proteins, and actin-binding proteins. NSC transplantation positively affected the SMA disease phenotype, indicating that transplantation of NSCs may be a possible treatment for SMA.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a common disease that results in motor and sensory disorders and even lifelong paralysis. The transplantation of stem cells, such as embryonic stem cells (ESCs), induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), or subsequently generated stem/progenitor cells, is predicted to be a promising treatment for SCI. In this study, we aimed to investigate effect of human iPSC-derived neural stem cells (hiPSC-NSCs) and umbilical cord-derived MSCs (huMSCs) in a mouse model of acute SCI.<h4>Methods</h4>Acute SCI mice model were established and were randomly treated as phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) (control group), repaired with 1?×?10<sup>5</sup> hiPSC-NSCs (NSC group), and 1?×?10<sup>5</sup> huMSCs (MSC group), respectively, in a total of 54 mice (n?=?18 each). Hind limb motor function was evaluated in open-field tests using the Basso Mouse Scale (BMS) at days post-operation (dpo) 1, 3, 5, and 7 after spinal cord injury, and weekly thereafter. Spinal cord and serum samples were harvested at dpo 7, 14, and 21. Haematoxylin-eosin (H&E) staining and Masson staining were used to evaluate the morphological changes and fibrosis area. The differentiation of the transplanted cells in vivo was evaluated with immunohistochemical staining.<h4>Results</h4>The hiPSC-NSC-treated group presented a significantly smaller glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) positive area than MSC-treated mice at all time points. Additionally, MSC-transplanted mice had a similar GFAP+ area to mice receiving PBS. At dpo 14, the immunostained hiPSC-NSCs were positive for SRY-related high-mobility-group (HMG)-box protein-2 (SOX2). Furthermore, the transplanted hiPSC-NSCs differentiated into GFAP-positive astrocytes and beta-III tubulin-positive neurons, whereas the transplanted huMSCs differentiated into GFAP-positive astrocytes. In addition, hiPSC-NSC transplantation reduced fibrosis formation and the inflammation level. Compared with the control or huMSC transplanted group, the group with transplantation of hiPSC-NSCs exhibited significantly improved behaviours, particularly limb coordination.<h4>Conclusions</h4>HiPSC-NSCs promote functional recovery in mice with acute SCI by replacing missing neurons and attenuating fibrosis, glial scar formation, and inflammation.
Project description:Transplantation of neural stem cells (NSCs) is a potential strategy for the treatment of spinal cord transection (SCT). Here we investigated whether transplanted NSCs would improve motor function of rats with SCT and explored the underlying mechanism. First, the rats were divided into sham, SCT, and NSC groups. Rats in the SCT and NSC groups were all subjected to SCT in T10, and were administered with media and NSC transplantation into the lesion site, respectively. Immunohistochemistry was used to label Nestin-, TUNEL-, and NeuN-positive cells and reveal the expression and location of type I insulin-like growth factor receptor (IGF-1 R). Locomotor function of hind limbs was assessed by Basso, Beattie, Bresnahan (BBB) score and inclined plane test. The conduction velocity and amplitude of spinal nerve fibers were measured by electrophysiology and the anatomical changes were measured using magnetic resonance imaging. Moreover, expression of IGF-1 R was determined by real-time polymerase chain reaction and Western blotting. The results showed that NSCs could survive and differentiate into neurons in vitro and in vivo. SCT-induced deficits were reduced by NSC transplantation, including increase in NeuN-positive cells and decrease in apoptotic cells. Moreover, neurophysiological profiles indicated that the latent period was decreased and the peak-to-peak amplitude of spinal nerve fibers conduction was increased in transplanted rats, while morphological measures indicated that fractional anisotropy and the number of nerve fibers in the site of spinal cord injury were increased after NSC transplantation. In addition, mRNA and protein level of IGF-1 R were increased in the rostral segment in the NSC group, especially in neurons. Therefore, we concluded that NSC transplantation promotes motor function improvement of SCT, which might be associated with activated IGF-1 R, especially in the rostral site. All of the above suggests that this approach has potential for clinical treatment of spinal cord injury.
Project description:BACKGROUND Spinal cord injury (SCI) causes a rapid loss of motor neurons, leading to weakness and paralysis. Transplantation of neural stem cells is known to restore the neuronal activity but is inefficient due to limited regenerative capability and low rate of survival. There has been an emphasis on the use of growth factors along with neural stem cells (NSCs) to enhance the neuronal recovery. Transplantation of recombinant NSCs with vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) might promote neuronal repair. This effect might be attributed to the reduced transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) expression following transplantation. MATERIAL AND METHODS NSCs were cultured from the embryos of Sprague-Dawley rats (E12.5). Four group of rats (n=10, each) were subjected to SCI and allowed to recover for 1 week. Recombinant VEGF-NSCs, normal NSCs and PBS were intrathecally administered to the rats. VEGF and TRPV-1 expression at mRNA and protein level was evaluated. ELISA was performed to determine the release of neurotrophic factors after the transplantation. Motor neurons and axons were counted and the motor behavioral outcome was assessed using the rota-rod test. RESULTS VEGF-NSC transgene transplantation resulted in an enhanced neuronal repair and motor behavioral outcome compared to the normal NSCs transplanted group. VEGF-NSCs increased the release of neurotrophic factors and reduced the expression of TRPV1. CONCLUSIONS Recombinant VEGF-NSCs transplantation following SCI is more efficacious compared to normal NSC transplantation. This might also be related to a reduced pain in the process of recovery due to reduced TRPV1 expression.
Project description:Traditional therapeutic strategies for spinal cord injury (SCI) are insufficient to repair locomotor function because of the failure of axonal reconnection and neuronal regeneration in the injured central nervous system (CNS). Neural stem cell (NSC) transplantation has been considered a potential strategy and is generally feasible for repairing the neural circuit after SCI; however, the most formidable problem is that the neuronal differentiation rate of NSCs is quite limited. Therefore, it is essential to induce the neuronal differentiation of NSCs and improve the differentiation rate of NSCs in spinal cord repair. Our results demonstrate that both Wnt5a and miRNA200b-3p could promote NSC differentiation into neurons and that Wnt5a upregulated miRNA200b-3p expression through MAPK/JNK signaling to promote NSC differentiation into neurons. Wnt5a could reduce RhoA expression by upregulating miRNA200b-3p expression to inhibit activation of the RhoA/Rock signaling pathway, which has been reported to suppress neuronal differentiation. Overexpression of RhoA abolished the neurogenic capacity of Wnt5a and miRNA200b-3p. In vivo, miRNA200b-3p was critical for Wnt5a-induced NSC differentiation into neurons to promote motor functional and histological recovery after SCI by suppressing RhoA/Rock signaling. These findings provide more insight into SCI and help with the identification of novel treatment strategies.
Project description:The body's capacity to restore damaged neural networks in the injured CNS is severely limited. Although various treatment regimens can partially alleviate spinal cord injury (SCI), the mechanisms responsible for symptomatic improvement remain elusive. Here, using a mouse model of SCI, we have shown that transplantation of neural stem cells (NSCs) together with administration of valproic acid (VPA), a known antiepileptic and histone deacetylase inhibitor, dramatically enhanced the restoration of hind limb function. VPA treatment promoted the differentiation of transplanted NSCs into neurons rather than glial cells. Transsynaptic anterograde corticospinal tract tracing revealed that transplant-derived neurons reconstructed broken neuronal circuits, and electron microscopic analysis revealed that the transplant-derived neurons both received and sent synaptic connections to endogenous neurons. Ablation of the transplanted cells abolished the recovery of hind limb motor function, confirming that NSC transplantation directly contributed to restored motor function. These findings raise the possibility that epigenetic status in transplanted NSCs can be manipulated to provide effective treatment for SCI.
Project description:Motor neuron diseases (MNDs) are characterized by selective death of motor neurons and include mainly adult-onset amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). Neurodegeneration is not the single pathogenic event occurring during disease progression. There are multiple lines of evidence for the existence of defects in lipid metabolism at peripheral level. For instance, hypermetabolism is well characterized in ALS, and dyslipidemia correlates with better prognosis in patients. Lipid metabolism plays also a role in other MNDs. In SMA, misuse of lipids as energetic nutrients is described in patients and in related animal models. The composition of structural lipids in the central nervous system is modified, with repercussion on membrane fluidity and on cell signaling mediated by bioactive lipids. Here, we review the main epidemiologic and mechanistic findings that link alterations of lipid metabolism and motor neuron degeneration, and we discuss the rationale of targeting these modifications for therapeutic management of MNDs.
Project description:Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is an inherited neuromuscular disorder and the leading genetic cause of death in infants. Despite the disease-causing gene, survival motor neuron (SMN1), encodes a ubiquitous protein, SMN1 deficiency preferentially affects spinal motor neurons (MNs), leaving the basis of this selective cell damage still unexplained. As neural stem cells (NSCs) are multipotent self-renewing cells that can differentiate into neurons, they represent an in vitro model for elucidating the pathogenetic mechanism of neurodegenerative diseases such as SMA. Here we characterize for the first time neural stem cells (NSCs) derived from embryonic spinal cords of a severe SMN?7 SMA mouse model. SMN?7 NSCs behave as their wild type (WT) counterparts, when we consider neurosphere formation ability and the expression levels of specific regional and self-renewal markers. However, they show a perturbed cell cycle phase distribution and an increased proliferation rate compared to wild type cells. Moreover, SMN?7 NSCs are characterized by the differential expression of a limited number of miRNAs, among which miR-335-5p and miR-100-5p, reduced in SMN?7 NSCs compared to WT cells. We suggest that such miRNAs may be related to the proliferation differences characterizing SMN?7 NSCs, and may be potentially involved in the molecular mechanisms of SMA.
Project description:Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is among the most common genetic neurological diseases that cause infant mortality. Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) generated from skin fibroblasts from SMA patients and genetically corrected have been proposed to be useful for autologous cell therapy. We generated iPSCs from SMA patients (SMA-iPSCs) using nonviral, nonintegrating episomal vectors and used a targeted gene correction approach based on single-stranded oligonucleotides to convert the survival motor neuron 2 (SMN2) gene into an SMN1-like gene. Corrected iPSC lines contained no exogenous sequences. Motor neurons formed by differentiation of uncorrected SMA-iPSCs reproduced disease-specific features. These features were ameliorated in motor neurons derived from genetically corrected SMA-iPSCs. The different gene splicing profile in SMA-iPSC motor neurons was rescued after genetic correction. The transplantation of corrected motor neurons derived from SMA-iPSCs into an SMA mouse model extended the life span of the animals and improved the disease phenotype. These results suggest that generating genetically corrected SMA-iPSCs and differentiating them into motor neurons may provide a source of motor neurons for therapeutic transplantation for SMA.
Project description:Systemically low levels of survival motor neuron-1 (SMN1) protein cause spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). ?-Motor neurons of the spinal cord are considered particularly vulnerable in this genetic disorder and their dysfunction and loss cause progressive muscle weakness, paralysis and eventually premature death of afflicted individuals. Historically, SMA was therefore considered a motor neuron-autonomous disease. However, depletion of SMN in motor neurons of normal mice elicited only a very mild phenotype. Conversely, restoration of SMN to motor neurons in an SMA mouse model had only modest effects on the SMA phenotype and survival. Collectively, these results suggested that additional cell types contribute to the pathogenesis of SMA, and understanding the non-autonomous requirements is crucial for developing effective therapies. Astrocytes are critical for regulating synapse formation and function as well as metabolic support for neurons. We hypothesized that astrocyte functions are disrupted in SMA, exacerbating disease progression. Using viral-based restoration of SMN specifically to astrocytes, survival in severe and intermediate SMA mice was observed. In addition, neuromuscular circuitry was improved. Astrogliosis was prominent in end-stage SMA mice and in post-mortem patient spinal cords. Increased expression of proinflammatory cytokines was partially normalized in treated mice, suggesting that astrocytes contribute to the pathogenesis of SMA.
Project description:Spinal muscular atrophy with respiratory distress type 1 (SMARD1) is a motor neuron disease caused by mutations in the IGHMBP2 gene, without a cure. Here, we demonstrate that neural stem cells (NSCs) from human-induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) have therapeutic potential in the context of SMARD1. We show that upon transplantation NSCs can appropriately engraft and differentiate in the spinal cord of SMARD1 animals, ameliorating their phenotype, by protecting their endogenous motor neurons. To evaluate the effect of NSCs in the context of human disease, we generated human SMARD1-iPSCs motor neurons that had a significantly reduced survival and axon length. Notably, the coculture with NSCs ameliorate these disease features, an effect attributable to the production of neurotrophic factors and their dual inhibition of GSK-3 and HGK kinases. Our data support the role of iPSC as SMARD1 disease model and their translational potential for therapies in motor neuron disorders.