Blood-brain barrier modeling with co-cultured neural progenitor cell-derived astrocytes and neurons.
ABSTRACT: In vitro blood-brain barrier (BBB) models often consist of brain microvascular endothelial cells (BMECs) that are co-cultured with other cells of the neurovascular unit, such as astrocytes and neurons, to enhance BBB properties. Obtaining primary astrocytes and neurons for co-culture models can be laborious, while yield and heterogeneity of primary isolations can also be limiting. Neural progenitor cells (NPCs), because of their self-renewal capacity and ability to reproducibly differentiate into tunable mixtures of neurons and astrocytes, represent a facile, readily scalable alternative. To this end, differentiated rat NPCs were co-cultured with rat BMECs and shown to induce BBB properties such as elevated trans-endothelial electrical resistance, improved tight junction continuity, polarized p-glycoprotein efflux, and low passive permeability at levels indistinguishable from those induced by primary rat astrocyte co-culture. An NPC differentiation time of 12 days, with the presence of 10% fetal bovine serum, was found to be crucial for generating NPC-derived progeny capable of inducing the optimal response. This approach could also be extended to human NPC-derived astrocytes and neurons which similarly regulated BBB induction. The distribution of rat or human NPC-derived progeny under these conditions was found to be a roughly 3 : 1 mixture of astrocytes to neurons with varying degrees of cellular maturity. BMEC gene expression analysis was conducted using a BBB gene panel, and it was determined that 23 of 26 genes were similarly regulated by either differentiated rat NPC or rat astrocyte co-culture while three genes were differentially altered by the rat NPC-derived progeny. Taken together, these results demonstrate that NPCs are an attractive alternative to primary neural cells for use in BBB co-culture models.
Project description:Blood-brain barrier (BBB) models are often used to investigate BBB function and screen brain-penetrating therapeutics, but it has been difficult to construct a human model that possesses an optimal BBB phenotype and is readily scalable. To address this challenge, we developed a human in vitro BBB model comprising brain microvascular endothelial cells (BMECs), pericytes, astrocytes and neurons derived from renewable cell sources. First, retinoic acid (RA) was used to substantially enhance BBB phenotypes in human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC)-derived BMECs, particularly through adherens junction, tight junction, and multidrug resistance protein regulation. RA-treated hPSC-derived BMECs were subsequently co-cultured with primary human brain pericytes and human astrocytes and neurons derived from human neural progenitor cells (NPCs) to yield a fully human BBB model that possessed significant tightness as measured by transendothelial electrical resistance (~5,000??xcm(2)). Overall, this scalable human BBB model may enable a wide range of neuroscience studies.
Project description:The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is critical in maintaining a physical and metabolic barrier between the blood and the brain. The BBB consists of brain microvascular endothelial cells (BMECs) that line the brain vasculature and combine with astrocytes, neurons and pericytes to form the neurovascular unit. We hypothesized that astrocytes and neurons generated from human-induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) could induce BBB phenotypes in iPSC-derived BMECs, creating a robust multicellular human BBB model. To this end, iPSCs were used to form neural progenitor-like EZ-spheres, which were in turn differentiated to neurons and astrocytes, enabling facile neural cell generation. The iPSC-derived astrocytes and neurons induced barrier tightening in primary rat BMECs indicating their BBB inductive capacity. When co-cultured with human iPSC-derived BMECs, the iPSC-derived neurons and astrocytes significantly elevated trans-endothelial electrical resistance, reduced passive permeability, and improved tight junction continuity in the BMEC cell population, while p-glycoprotein efflux transporter activity was unchanged. A physiologically relevant neural cell mixture of one neuron: three astrocytes yielded optimal BMEC induction properties. Finally, an isogenic multicellular BBB model was successfully demonstrated employing BMECs, astrocytes, and neurons from the same donor iPSC source. It is anticipated that such an isogenic facsimile of the human BBB could have applications in furthering understanding the cellular interplay of the neurovascular unit in both healthy and diseased humans. Read the Editorial Highlight for this article on page 843.
Project description:Mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) transplantation is demonstrated to improve functional and pathological recovery in cerebral ischemia. To understand the underlying mechanism, we transplanted a MSC line (B10) in a rat middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) model and checked the proliferation and migration of neuronal progenitor cells (NPCs). B10 transplantation increased NPCs in the subventricular zone and their migration towards the lesion area at an earlier time. Fourteen days after MCAO, some NPCs were differentiated to neurons and astrocytes. Although B10 transplantation increased total number of both astrocytes and neurons, it only increased the differentiation of NPC to astrocyte. The mRNA of polysialylation enzyme ST8SiaIV and a chemokine SDF-1 were persistently increased in B10-transplanted groups. SDF-1-positive cell number was increased in the core and penumbra area, which was expressed in macrophage/microglia and transplanted B10 cells at 3 days after MCAO. Furthermore, SDF-1 mRNA expression in cell culture was high in B10 compared to a microglia (HMO) or a neuronal (A1) cell line. B10 culture supernatant increased in vitro A1 cell migration, which was significantly inhibited by siRNA-mediated SDF-1 silencing in B10. Thus, our results suggested that MSC transplantation increased endogenous NPC migration in cerebral ischemic condition by increasing chemokine and polysialylation enzyme expression, which could be helpful for the restorative management of cerebral ischemia.
Project description:Neural progenitor cells (NPCs) are a promising cell source to repair damaged nervous tissue. However, expansion of therapeutically relevant numbers of NPCs and their efficient differentiation into desired mature cell types remains a challenge. Material-based strategies, including culture within 3D hydrogels, have the potential to overcome these current limitations. An ideal material would enable both NPC expansion and subsequent differentiation within a single platform. It has recently been demonstrated that cell-mediated remodeling of 3D hydrogels is necessary to maintain the stem cell phenotype of NPCs during expansion, but the role of matrix remodeling on NPC differentiation and maturation remains unknown. By culturing NPCs within engineered protein hydrogels susceptible to degradation by NPC-secreted proteases, it is identified that a critical amount of remodeling is necessary to enable NPC differentiation, even in highly degradable gels. Chemical induction of differentiation after sufficient remodeling time results in differentiation into astrocytes and neurotransmitter-responsive neurons. Matrix remodeling modulates expression of the transcriptional co-activator Yes-associated protein, which drives expression of NPC stemness factors and maintains NPC differentiation capacity, in a cadherin-dependent manner. Thus, cell-remodelable hydrogels are an attractive platform to enable expansion of NPCs followed by differentiation of the cells into mature phenotypes for therapeutic use.
Project description:Cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (CDK5) regulates important neuronal functions via p35. p35 undergoes cleavage in response to neuronal activity and neurotoxic conditions to release its subunit p25. Although p25 has been implicated in various neurodegenerative diseases, the mechanisms by which p25 mediates neurodegenerative impairment have not been fully elucidated. We aimed to determine the role of p25-mediated neurodegeneration on neurogenesis in an inducible transgenic mouse line overexpressing p25 (p25 TG) in the forebrain. Adult neuronal progenitor cells (NPCs) were labeled with BrdU in vivo, which were significantly increased in numbers in the subventricular zone, the hippocampus, and the cortex of p25 TG mice. Consistently, more mitotic cells were observed in p25 TG mice than in controls, even in the cortex and the CA1, which are not neurogenic regions. BrdU-positive cells were negative for GFAP or ?-H2AX, suggesting that they are not astrocytes or dying cells. Neurospheres derived from the dentate gyrus and the cortex were significantly increased in p25 TG mice and can be differentiated into astrocytes and neurons. However, p25 TG decreased the long-term survival of proliferating NPCs and severely impaired adult neurogenesis. A Transwell co-culture system was used to assess the influence of p25-expressing primary neurons on adult NPCs. Co-culture with p25-expressing neurons downregulated Ki67 expression and upregulated cleaved caspase-3, indicating that the paracrine signaling in cell-cell communication is essential for NPC survival and proliferation. Moreover, increased CDK5 activity impairs Wnt activation. This study demonstrates that hyperactivation of p25 may temporarily enhance NPC proliferation, but impair their long-term survival.
Project description:Several protocols have been developed for human induced pluripotent stem cell neuronal differentiation. We compare several methods for forebrain cortical neuronal differentiation by assessing cell morphology, immunostaining and gene expression. We evaluate embryoid aggregate vs. monolayer with dual SMAD inhibition differentiation protocols, manual vs. AggreWell aggregate formation, plating substrates, neural progenitor cell (NPC) isolation methods, NPC maintenance and expansion, and astrocyte co-culture. The embryoid aggregate protocol, using a Matrigel substrate, consistently generates a high yield and purity of neurons. NPC isolation by manual selection, enzymatic rosette selection, or FACS all are efficient, but exhibit some differences in resulting cell populations. Expansion of NPCs as neural aggregates yields higher cell purity than expansion in a monolayer. Finally, co-culture of iPSC-derived neurons with astrocytes increases neuronal maturity by day 40. This study directly compares commonly employed methods for neuronal differentiation of iPSCs, and can be used as a resource for choosing between various differentiation protocols.
Project description:P-glycoprotein (P-gp) on brain microvascular endothelial cells (BMECs) that form the blood brain barrier (BBB), influences transportation of substances between blood and brain. The objective of this study was to characterize the effects of borneol on P-gp efflux function on BBB and explore the potential mechanisms. We established an in vitro BBB model comprised of rat BMECs and astrocytes to measure the effects of borneol on the known P-gp substrates transport across BBB, and examined the function and expression of P-gp in BMECs and the signaling pathways regulating P-gp expression. Borneol increased intracellular accumulation of Rhodamine 123, enhanced verapamil and digoxin across the BBB in vitro model, and depressed mdr1a mRNA and P-gp expression. Borneol could activate nuclear factor-?B (NF-?B) and inhibition of NF-?B with MG132 (carbobenzoxy-Leu-Leu-leucinal) and SN50 (an inhibitory peptide) obscuring the P-gp decreases induced by borneol. These data suggested that borneol depresses P-gp function in BMECs by a NF-?B signaling medicated mechanism in a BBB in vitro model.
Project description:This study examines the regulating effect of Sonic Hedgehog (Shh) on the permeability of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) in cerebral ischemia. By employing permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion (pMCAO) model, we find that Shh significantly decreases brain edema and preserves BBB permeability. Moreover, Shh increases zonula occludens-1 (ZO-1), occludin and angiopiotetin-1 (Ang-1) expression in the ischemic penumbra. Blockage of Shh with cyclopamine abolishes the effects of Shh on brain edema, BBB permeability and ZO-1, occludin, Ang-1 expression. Primary brain microvessel endothelial cells (BMECs) and astrocytes were pre-treated with Shh, cyclopamine, Ang-1-neutralizing antibody, and subjected to oxygen-glucose deprivation (OGD). Results show that the Ang-1 protein level in the culture medium of Shh-treated astrocytes is significantly higher. Shh also increased ZO-1, occludin and Ang-1 expression in BMECs, while cyclopamine and Ang-1-neutralizing antibody inhibited the effects of Shh on the ZO-1 and occludin expression, respectively. This study suggests that, under ischemic insults, Shh triggers Ang-1 production predominantly in astrocytes, and the secreted Ang-1 acts on BMECs, thereby upregulating ZO-1 and occludin to repair the tight junction and ameliorate the brain edema and BBB leakage.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Pericytes of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) are embedded within basement membrane between brain microvascular endothelial cells (BMECs) and astrocyte end-feet. Despite the direct cell-cell contact observed in vivo, most in vitro BBB models introduce an artificial membrane that separates pericytes from BMECs. In this study, we investigated the effects of pericytes on BMEC barrier function across a range of in vitro platforms with varied spatial orientations and levels of cell-cell contact. METHODS:We differentiated RFP-pericytes and GFP-BMECs from hiPSCs and monitored transendothelial electrical resistance (TEER) across BMECs on transwell inserts while pericytes were either directly co-cultured on the membrane, indirectly co-cultured in the basolateral chamber, or embedded in a collagen I gel formed on the transwell membrane. We then incorporated pericytes into a tissue-engineered microvessel model of the BBB and measured pericyte motility and microvessel permeability. RESULTS:We found that BMEC monolayers did not require co-culture with pericytes to achieve physiological TEER values (> 1500 Ω cm2). However, under stressed conditions where TEER values for BMEC monolayers were reduced, indirectly co-cultured hiPSC-derived pericytes restored optimal TEER. Conversely, directly co-cultured pericytes resulted in a decrease in TEER by interfering with BMEC monolayer continuity. In the microvessel model, we observed direct pericyte-BMEC contact, abluminal pericyte localization, and physiologically-low Lucifer yellow permeability comparable to that of BMEC microvessels. In addition, pericyte motility decreased during the first 48 h of co-culture, suggesting progression towards pericyte stabilization. CONCLUSIONS:We demonstrated that monocultured BMECs do not require co-culture to achieve physiological TEER, but that suboptimal TEER in stressed monolayers can be increased through co-culture with hiPSC-derived pericytes or conditioned media. We also developed the first BBB microvessel model using exclusively hiPSC-derived BMECs and pericytes, which could be used to examine vascular dysfunction in the human CNS.
Project description:The blood brain barrier (BBB) is formed by brain microvascular endothelial cells (BMECs) and tightly regulates the transport of molecules from blood to neural tissues. In vitro BBB models from human pluripotent stem cell (PSCs)-derived BMECs would be useful not only for the research on the BBB development and function but also for drug-screening for neurological diseases. However, little is known about the differentiation of human PSCs to BMECs. In the present study, human induced PSCs (iPSCs) were differentiated into endothelial cells (ECs), and further maturated to BMECs. Interestingly, C6 rat glioma cell-conditioned medium (C6CM), in addition to C6 co-culture, induced the differentiation of human iPSC-derived ECs (iPS-ECs) to BMEC-like cells, increase in the trans-endothelial electrical resistance, decreased in the dextran transport and up-regulation of gene expression of tight junction molecules in human iPS-ECs. Moreover, Wnt inhibitors attenuated the effects of C6CM. In summary, we have established a simple protocol of the generation of BMEC-like cells from human iPSCs, and have demonstrated that differentiation of iPS-ECs to BMEC-like cells is induced by C6CM-derived signals, including canonical Wnt signals.