Neurons derived from transplanted neural stem cells restore disrupted neuronal circuitry in a mouse model of spinal cord injury.
ABSTRACT: 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:<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:OBJECTIVE:Currently, cellular transplantation for spinal cord injuries (SCI) is the subject of numerous preclinical studies. Among the many cell types in the adult brain, there is a unique subpopulation of neural stem cells (NSC) that can self-renew and differentiate into neurons. The study aims, therefore, to explore the efficacy of adult monkey NSC (mNSC) in a primate SCI model. MATERIALS AND METHODS:In this experimental study, isolated mNSCs were analyzed by flow cytometry, immunocytochemistry, and RT-PCR. Next, BrdU-labeled cells were transplanted into a SCI model. The SCI animal model was confirmed by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and histological analysis. Animals were clinically observed for 6 months. RESULTS:Analysis confirmed homing of mNSCs into the injury site. Transplanted cells expressed neuronal markers (TubIII). Hind limb performance improved in trans- planted animals based on Tarlov's scale and our established behavioral tests for monkeys. CONCLUSION:Our findings have indicated that mNSCs can facilitate recovery in contusion SCI models in rhesus macaque monkeys. Additional studies are necessary to determine the im- provement mechanisms after cell transplantation.
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:Our previous work reported functional recovery after transplantation of mouse and human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived neural stem/progenitor cells (hiPSC-NS/PCs) into rodent models of spinal cord injury (SCI). Although hiPSC-NS/PCs proved useful for the treatment of SCI, the tumorigenicity of the transplanted cells must be resolved before they can be used in clinical applications. The current study sought to determine the feasibility of ablation of the tumors formed after hiPSC-NS/PC transplantation through immunoregulation. Tumorigenic hiPSC-NS/PCs were transplanted into the intact spinal cords of immunocompetent BALB/cA mice with or without immunosuppressant treatment. In vivo bioluminescence imaging was used to evaluate the chronological survival and growth of the transplanted cells. The graft survival rate was 0% in the group without immunosuppressants versus 100% in the group with immunosuppressants. Most of the mice that received immunosuppressants exhibited hind-limb paralysis owing to tumor growth at 3 months after iPSC-NS/PC transplantation. Histological analysis showed that the tumors shared certain characteristics with low-grade gliomas rather than with teratomas. After confirming the progression of the tumors in immunosuppressed mice, the immunosuppressant agents were discontinued, resulting in the complete rejection of iPSC-NS/PC-derived masses within 42 days after drug cessation. In accordance with the tumor rejection, hind-limb motor function was recovered in all of the mice. Moreover, infiltration of microglia and lymphocytes was observed during the course of tumor rejection, along with apoptosis of iPSC-NS/PC-generated cells. Thus, immune rejection can be used as a fail-safe system against potential tumorigenicity after transplantation of iPSC-NS/PCs to treat SCI.
Project description:Neural stem cell (NSC) transplantation is a major focus of current research for treatment of spinal cord injury (SCI). However, it is very important to promote the survival and differentiation of NSCs into myelinating oligodendrocytes (OLs). In this study, myelin basic protein-activated T (MBP-T) cells were passively immunized to improve the SCI microenvironment. Olig2-overexpressing NSCs were infected with a lentivirus carrying the enhanced green fluorescent protein (GFP) reporter gene to generate Olig2-GFP-NSCs that were transplanted into the injured site to differentiate into OLs. Transferred MBP-T cells infiltrated the injured spinal cord, produced neurotrophic factors, and induced the differentiation of resident microglia and/or infiltrating blood monocytes into an "alternatively activated" anti-inflammatory macrophage phenotype by producing interleukin-13. As a result, the survival of transplanted NSCs increased fivefold in MBP-T cell-transferred rats compared with that of the vehicle-treated control. In addition, the differentiation of MBP-positive OLs increased 12-fold in Olig2-GFP-NSC-transplanted rats compared with that of GFP-NSC-transplanted controls. In the MBP-T cell and Olig2-GFP-NSC combined group, the number of OL-remyelinated axons significantly increased compared with those of all other groups. However, a significant decrease in spinal cord lesion volume and an increase in spared myelin and behavioral recovery were observed in Olig2-NSC- and NSC-transplanted MBP-T cell groups. Collectively, these results suggest that MBP-T cell adoptive immunotherapy combined with NSC transplantation has a synergistic effect on histological and behavioral improvement after traumatic SCI. Although Olig2 overexpression enhances OL differentiation and myelination, the effect on functional recovery may be surpassed by MBP-T cells.
Project description:Spinal cord injury (SCI) often leads to persistent functional deficits due to loss of neurons and glia and to limited axonal regeneration after injury. Here we report that transplantation of human dental pulp stem cells into the completely transected adult rat spinal cord resulted in marked recovery of hind limb locomotor functions. Transplantation of human bone marrow stromal cells or skin-derived fibroblasts led to substantially less recovery of locomotor function. The human dental pulp stem cells exhibited three major neuroregenerative activities. First, they inhibited the SCI-induced apoptosis of neurons, astrocytes, and oligodendrocytes, which improved the preservation of neuronal filaments and myelin sheaths. Second, they promoted the regeneration of transected axons by directly inhibiting multiple axon growth inhibitors, including chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan and myelin-associated glycoprotein, via paracrine mechanisms. Last, they replaced lost cells by differentiating into mature oligodendrocytes under the extreme conditions of SCI. Our data demonstrate that tooth-derived stem cells may provide therapeutic benefits for treating SCI through both cell-autonomous and paracrine neuroregenerative activities.
Project description:We evaluated the importance of histocompatibility of transplanted MSCs in terms of therapeutic potential. Mouse syngeneic MSCs or allogeneic MSCs were transplanted following SCI in mouse. In this study we found that syngeneic, but not allogeneic, MSCs alternatively activated macrophages resulting in a down-regulation of pro-inflammation. Syngeneic MSCs also had a general suppressive effect on the immune response as compared to allogeneic MSCs. Additionally, syngeneic, but not allogeneic, MSCs significantly enhanced the recovery of hind limb function. In this study we show that the histocompatibility of transplanted MSCs is of importance for their therapeutic potential. Overall design: Transplantation of mesenchymal stem cells into spinal cord injury.
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:Spinal cord injury (SCI) is the leading cause of paralysis, disability and even death in severe cases, and neural stem cells (NSCs) transplant has been employed for repairing SCI. Ferulic acid (FA) is able to promote neurogenesis in various stem cell therapies. We aimed to investigate the effect of FA on NSC transplant therapy, and the underlying mechanism, in improving functional recovery in SCI rat model. A rat model of SCI was established, which then received transplant of NSCs with or without FA pre-treatment. Functional recovery of the SCI rats was then evaluated, in terms of spinal cord water content, myeloperoxidase activity and behavioral assessments. Effect of FA in inducing hypoxia in NSCs was also assessed, followed by identifying the hypoxic regulated microRNA and the subsequent target gene. Transplant of FA pre-treated NSCs improved functional recovery of SCI rats to a more significant extent than NSCs without FA pre-treatment. The beneficial effects of FA in repairing SCI was mediated by inducing hypoxia in NSCs, which in turn inhibited microRNA-590 to elevate vascular endothelial growth factor expression. Our findings support the clinical potential of FA in improving efficacy of NSC transplant therapy for treatment of SCI.
Project description:The pathology of spinal cord injury (SCI) makes it appropriate for cell-based therapies. Treatments using neural stem cells (NSCs) in animal models of SCI have shown positive outcomes, although uncertainty remains regarding the optimal cell source. Pluripotent cell sources such as embryonic stem cells (ESCs) provide a limitless supply of therapeutic cells. NSCs derived using embryoid bodies (EB) from ESCs have shown tumorigenic potential. Clonal neurosphere generation is an alternative method to generate safer and more clinically relevant NSCs without the use of an EB stage for use in cell-based therapies. We generated clonally derived definitive NSCs (dNSCs) from ESC. These cells were transplanted into a mouse thoracic SCI model. Embryonic stem cell-derived definitive neural stem cell (ES-dNSC)-transplanted mice were compared with controls using behavioral measures and histopathological analysis of tissue. In addition, the role of remyelination in injury recovery was investigated using transmission electron microscopy. The SCI group that received ES-dNSC transplantation showed significant improvements in locomotor function compared with controls in open field and gait analysis. The cell treatment group had a significant enhancement of spared neural tissue. Immunohistological assessments showed that dNSCs differentiated primarily to oligodendrocytes. These cells were shown to express myelin basic protein, associate with axons, and support nodal architecture as well as display proper compact, multilayer myelination in electron microscopic analysis. This study provides strong evidence that dNSCs clonally derived from pluripotent cells using the default pathway of neuralization improve motor function after SCI and enhance sparing of neural tissue, while remaining safe and clinically relevant.