Tendon-derived stem/progenitor cell aging: defective self-renewal and altered fate.
ABSTRACT: Aging is a major risk factor for tendon injury and impaired tendon healing, but the basis for these relationships remains poorly understood. Here we show that rat tendon- derived stem ? progenitor cells (TSPCs) differ in both self-renewal and differentiation capability with age. The frequency of TSPCs in tendon tissues of aged animals is markedly reduced based on colony formation assays. Proliferation rate is decreased, cell cycle progression is delayed and cell fate patterns are also altered in aged TSPCs. In particular, expression of tendon lineage marker genes is reduced while adipocytic differentiation increased. Cited2, a multi-stimuli responsive transactivator involved in cell growth and senescence, is also downregulated in aged TSPCs while CD44, a matrix assembling and organizing protein implicated in tendon healing, is upregulated, suggesting that these genes participate in the control of TSPC function.
Project description:Aged tendon-derived stem/progenitor cells (TSPCs) lead to age-related tendon disorders and impair tendon healing. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms of TSPC aging remain largely unknown. Here, we investigated the role of connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) in TSPC aging. CTGF protein and mRNA levels were markedly decreased in the aged TSPCs. Moreover, recombinant CTGF attenuates TSPC aging and restores the age-associated reduction of self-renewal and differentiation of TSPCs. In addition, cell cycle distribution of aged TSPCs was arrested in the G1/S phase while recombinant CTGF treatment promoted G1/S transition. Recombinant CTGF also rescued decreased levels of cyclin D1 and CDK4 and reduced p27kip1 expression in aged TSPCs. Our results demonstrated that CTGF plays a vital role in TSPC aging and might be a potential target for molecular therapy of age-related tendon disorders.
Project description:Tendons are dense connective tissues, which are critical for the integrity and function of our musculoskeletal system. During tendon aging and degeneration, tendon stem/progenitor cells (TSPCs) experience profound phenotypic changes with declined cellular functions that can be linked to the known increase in complications during tendon healing process in elderly patients. Tissue engineering is a promising approach for achieving a complete recovery of injured tendons. However, use of autologous cells from aged individuals would require restoring the cellular fitness prior to implantation. In this study, we applied an established cell sheet model for in vitro tenogenesis and compared the sheet formation of TSPC derived from young/healthy (Y-TSPCs) versus aged/degenerative (A-TSPCs) human Achilles tendon biopsies with the purpose to unravel differences in their potential to form self-assembled three-dimensional (3D) tendon organoids. Using our three-step protocol, 4 donors of Y-TSPCs and 9 donors of A-TSPCs were subjected to cell sheet formation and maturation in a period of 5 weeks. The sheets were then cross evaluated by weight and diameter measurements; quantification of cell density, proliferation, senescence and apoptosis; histomorphometry; gene expression of 48 target genes; and collagen type I protein production. The results revealed very obvious and significant phenotype in A-TSPC sheets characterized by being fragile and thin with poor tissue morphology, and significantly lower cell density and proliferation, but significantly higher levels of the senescence-related gene markers and apoptotic cells. Quantitative gene expression analyses at the mRNA and protein levels, also demonstrated abnormal molecular circuits in the A-TSPC sheets. Taken together, we report for the first time that A-TSPCs exhibit profound deficits in forming 3D tendon tissue organoids, thus making the cell sheet model suitable to investigate the molecular mechanisms involved in tendon aging and degeneration, as well as examining novel pharmacologic strategies for rejuvenation of aged cells.
Project description:Tendon tissues, due to their composition and function, are prone to suffer age-related degeneration and diseases as well as to respond poorly to current repair strategies. It has been suggested that local stem cells, named tendon stem/progenitor cells (TSPCs), play essential roles in tendon maintenance and healing. Recently, we have shown that TSPC exhibit a distinct age-related phenotype involving transcriptomal shift, poor self-renewal, and elevated senescence coupled with reduced cell migration and actin dynamics. Here, we report for the first time the significant downregulation of the ephrin receptors EphA4, EphB2 and B4 and ligands EFNB1 in aged-TSPC (A-TSPC). Rescue experiments, by delivery of target-specific clustered proteins, revealed that activation of EphA4- or EphB2-dependent reverse signaling could restore the migratory ability and normalize the actin turnover of A-TSPC. However, only EphA4-Fc stimulation improved A-TSPC cell proliferation to levels comparable to young-TSPC (Y-TSPC). Hence, our novel data suggests that decreased expression of ephrin receptors during tendon aging and degeneration limits the establishment of appropriate cell-cell interactions between TSPC and significantly diminished their proliferation, motility, and actin turnover. Taken together, we could propose that this mechanism might be contributing to the inferior and delayed tendon healing common for aged individuals.
Project description:The link between tendon stem/progenitor cells (TSPCs) senescence and tendon aging has been well recognized. However, the cellular and molecular mechanisms of TSPCs senescence are still not fully understood. In present study, we investigated the role of Aquaporin 1 (AQP1) in TSPCs senescence. We showed that AQP1 expression declines with age during tendon aging. In aged TSPCs, overexpression of AQP1 significantly attenuated TSPCs senescence. In addition, AQP1 overexpression also restored the age-related dysfunction of self-renewal, migration and tenogenic differentiation. Furthermore, we demonstrated that the JAK-STAT signaling pathway is activated in aged TSPCs, and AQP1 overexpression inhibited the JAK-STAT signaling pathway activation which indicated that AQP1 attenuates senescence and age-related dysfunction of TSPCs through the repression of JAK-STAT signaling pathway. Taken together, our findings demonstrated the critical role of AQP1 in the regulation of TSPCs senescence and provided a novel target for antagonizing tendon aging.
Project description:The repair of injured tendons remains a formidable clinical challenge because of our limited understanding of tendon stem cells and the regulation of tenogenesis. With single-cell analysis to characterize the gene expression profiles of individual cells isolated from tendon tissue, a subpopulation of nestin+ tendon stem/progenitor cells (TSPCs) was identified within the tendon cell population. Using Gene Expression Omnibus datasets and immunofluorescence assays, we found that nestin expression was activated at specific stages of tendon development. Moreover, isolated nestin+ TSPCs exhibited superior tenogenic capacity compared to nestin- TSPCs. Knockdown of nestin expression in TSPCs suppressed their clonogenic capacity and reduced their tenogenic potential significantly both in vitro and in vivo. Hence, these findings provide new insights into the identification of subpopulations of TSPCs and illustrate the crucial roles of nestin in TSPC fate decisions and phenotype maintenance, which may assist in future therapeutic strategies to treat tendon disease.
Project description:Purpose:In order to accelerate the tendon-bone healing processes and achieve the efficient osteointegration between the tendon graft and bone tunnel, we aim to design bioactive electrospun nanofiber membranes combined with tendon stem/progenitor cells (TSPCs) to promote osteogenic regeneration of the tendon and bone interface. Methods:In this study, nanofiber membranes of polycaprolactone (PCL), PCL/collagen I (COL-1) hybrid nanofiber membranes, poly(dopamine) (PDA)-coated PCL nanofiber membranes and PDA-coated PCL/COL-1 hybrid nanofiber membranes were successfully fabricated by electrospinning. The biochemical characteristics and nanofibrous morphology of the membranes, as well as the characterization of rat TSPCs, were defined in vitro. After co-culture with different types of electrospun nanofiber membranes in vitro, cell proliferation, viability, adhesion and osteogenic differentiation of TSPCs were evaluated at different time points. Results:Among all the membranes, the performance of the PCL/COL-1 (volume ratio: 2:1 v/v) group was superior in terms of its ability to support the adhesion, proliferation, and osteogenic differentiation of TSPCs. No benefit was found in this study to include PDA coating on cell adhesion, proliferation and osteogenic differentiation of TSPCs. Conclusion:The PCL/COL-1 hybrid electrospun nanofiber membranes are biocompatible, biomimetic, easily fabricated, and are capable of supporting cell adhesion, proliferation, and osteogenic differentiation of TSPCs. These bioactive electrospun nanofiber membranes may act as a suitable functional biomimetic scaffold in tendon-bone tissue engineering applications to enhance tendon-bone healing abilities.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Tendon stem/progenitor cells (TSPC) exhibit a low proliferative response to heal tendon injury, leading to limited regeneration outcomes. Exogenous growth factors that activate TSPC proliferation have emerged as a promising approach for treatment. Here, we evaluated the pigment epithelial-derived factor (PEDF)-derived short peptide (PSP; 29-mer) for treating acute tendon injury and to determine the timing and anatomical features of CD146- and necleostemin-positive TSPC in the tendon healing process. METHODS:Tendon cells were isolated from rabbit Achilles tendons, stimulated by the 29-mer and analyzed for colony-forming capacity. The expression of the TSPC markers CD146, Oct4, and nestin, induced by the 29-mer, was examined by immunostaining and western blotting. Tendo-Achilles injury was induced in rats by full-thickness insertion of an 18-G needle and immediately treated topically with an alginate gel, loaded with 29-mer. The distribution of TSPC in the injured tendon and their proliferation were monitored using immunohistochemistry with antibodies to CD146 and nucleostemin and by BrdU labeling. RESULTS:TSPC markers were enriched among the primary tendon cells when stimulated by the 29-mer. The 29-mer also induced the clonogenicity of CD146+ TSPC, implying TSPC stemness was retained during TSPC expansion in culture. Correspondingly, the expanded TSPC differentiated readily into tenocyte-like cells after removal of the 29-mer from culture. 29-mer/alginate gel treatment caused extensive expansion of CD146+ TSPC in their niche on postoperative day 2, followed by infiltration of CD146+/BrdU- TSPC into the injured tendon on day 7. The nucleostemin+ TSPC were located predominantly in the healing region of the injured tendon in the later phase (day 7) and exhibited proliferative capacity. By 3 weeks, 29-mer-treated tendons showed more organized collagen fiber regeneration and higher tensile strength than control tendons. In culture, the mitogenic effect of the 29-mer was found to be mediated by the phosphorylation of ERK2 and STAT3 in nucleostemin+ TSPC. CONCLUSIONS:The anatomical analysis of TSPC populations in the wound healing process supports the hypothesis that substantial expansion of resident TSPC by exogenous growth factor is beneficial for tendon healing. The study suggests that synthetic 29-mer peptide may be an innovative therapy for acute tendon rupture.
Project description:Although the mineralization in tendon tissue has been reported in a series of aging and disease models, the underlying mechanisms remain unknown. This study aimed to describe the appearance of heterotopic ossification in rat Achilles tendon and further verify whether this tissue metaplasia is related to the enhanced osteogenic differentiation of tendon stem/progenitor cells (TSPCs) owing to the higher expression of bone morphogenetic proteins (BMP-2/4/7) with aging. The male SD rats, aged 4, 8, and 20 months (M), were used. The analyses of ossification and BMP expression in tendon were tested by radiological view (X-ray and CT), histological staining [hematoxylin and eosin (HE), Alcian blue, and Alizarin red], immunohistochemistry, and Western blot. The osteogenic differentiation potential and BMP expression of TSPCs were examined by Alizarin red S staining and real-time PCR. TSPCs were treated with BMP-2 or noggin, and the osteogenic differentiation potential was also examined. X-ray and CT showed the appearance of heterotopic ossification in tendon, and the volume and density of ossification was increased with aging. Histological staining showed the appearance of calcified region surrounded by chondrocyte-like cells and the increased osteogenesis-related gene and BMP expression in ossified tendon with aging. Moreover, the osteogenic differentiation potential and BMP expression in TSPCs isolated from ossified tendon were increased with aging. Additionally, BMP-2 increased the calcium nodule formation and osteogenesis-related gene expression in TSPCs. The addition of noggin inhibited BMP-induced enhancement of osteogenic differentiation. Thus, these findings suggested that the enhanced osteogenic differentiation of TSPCs contributes to the increased heterotopic ossification in aged tendon, which might be induced by the higher expression of BMPs with aging.
Project description:Tenomodulin (Tnmd) is the best-known mature marker for tendon and ligament lineage cells. It is important for tendon maturation, running performance and has key implications for the resident tendon stem/progenitor cells (TSPCs). However, its exact functions during the tendon repair process still remain elusive. Here, we established an Achilles tendon injury model in a Tnmd knockout (Tnmd-/-) mouse line. Detailed analyses showed not only a very different scar organization with a clearly reduced cell proliferation and expression of certain tendon-related genes, but also increased cell apoptosis, adipocyte and blood vessel accumulation in the early phase of tendon healing compared with their wild-type (WT) littermates. In addition, Tnmd-/- tendon scar tissue contained augmented matrix deposition of biglycan, cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (Comp) and fibronectin, altered macrophage profile and reduced numbers of CD146-positive cells. In vitro analysis revealed that Tnmd-/- TSPCs exhibited significantly reduced migration and proliferation potential compared with that of WT TSPCs. Furthermore, Tnmd-/- TSPCs had accelerated adipogenic differentiation accompanied with significantly increased peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (Ppar?) and lipoprotein lipase (Lpl) mRNA levels. Thus, our results demonstrate that Tnmd is required for prevention of adipocyte accumulation and fibrovascular scar formation during early tendon healing.