Quantitative metabolic imaging using endogenous fluorescence to detect stem cell differentiation.
ABSTRACT: The non-invasive high-resolution spatial mapping of cell metabolism within tissues could provide substantial advancements in assessing the efficacy of stem cell therapy and understanding tissue development. Here, using two-photon excited fluorescence microscopy, we elucidate the relationships among endogenous cell fluorescence, cell redox state, and the differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cells into adipogenic and osteoblastic lineages. Using liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry and quantitative PCR, we evaluate the sensitivity of an optical redox ratio of FAD/(NADH + FAD) to metabolic changes associated with stem cell differentiation. Furthermore, we probe the underlying physiological mechanisms, which relate a decrease in the redox ratio to the onset of differentiation. Because traditional assessments of stem cells and engineered tissues are destructive, time consuming, and logistically intensive, the development and validation of a non-invasive, label-free approach to defining the spatiotemporal patterns of cell differentiation can offer a powerful tool for rapid, high-content characterization of cell and tissue cultures.
Project description:The ability of stem cells to differentiate into specialized cell types presents a number of opportunities for regenerative medicine, stem cell therapy and developmental biology. Because traditional assessments of stem cells are destructive, time consuming, and logistically intensive, the use of a non-invasive, label-free approach to study of cell differentiation provides a powerful tool for rapid, high-content characterization of cell and tissue cultures. Here, we elucidate the metabolic changes in MSCs during adipogenic differentiation, based on the fluorescence of the metabolic co-factors NADH, NADPH, and FAD using the methods of two-photon fluorescence microscopy combined with FLIM. To estimate the contribution of energy metabolism and lipogenesis in the observed changes of the metabolic profile, a separate analysis of NADH and NADPH is required. In our study we demonstrated, for the first time, an increased contribution of protein-bound NADPH in adipocytes that is associated with lipogenesis. The optical redox ratio FAD/NAD(P)H decreased during adipogenic differentiation, and that this was likely to be explained by the intensive biosynthesis of lipids and the enhanced NADPH production associated with this. Based on the data on the fluorescence lifetime contribution of protein-bound NAD(P)H, we registered a metabolic switch from glycolysis to oxidative phosphorylation in adipocytes.
Project description:Non-invasive approaches to assess tissue function could improve significantly current methods to diagnose diseases and optimize engineered tissues. In this study, we describe a two-photon excited fluorescence microscopy approach that relies entirely on endogenous fluorophores to dynamically quantify functional metabolic readouts from individual cells within three-dimensional engineered tissues undergoing adipogenic differentiation over six months. Specifically, we employ an automated approach to analyze 3D image volumes and extract a redox ratio of metabolic cofactors. We identify a decrease in redox ratio over the first two months of culture that is associated with stem cell differentiation and lipogenesis. In addition, we demonstrate that the presence of endothelial cells facilitate greater cell numbers deeper within the engineered tissues. Since traditional assessments of engineered tissue structure and function are destructive and logistically intensive, this non-destructive, label-free approach offers a potentially powerful high-content characterization tool for optimizing tissue engineering protocols and assessing engineered tissue implants.
Project description:Non-linear optical microscopy methods can characterize over time multiple functional properties of engineered tissues during development. Here, we demonstrate how the combined use of third-harmonic generation (THG) and two-photon excited fluorescence (2PEF) imaging can provide direct quantitative biomarkers of adipogenic stem cell differentiation and metabolic state, respectively. Specifically, we imaged over nine weeks silk scaffolds embedded with human mesenchymal stem cells and exposed to either propagation (PM) or adipogenic differentiation media (AM). THG was employed to visualize the formation of lipid droplets. 2PEF was used to assess the metabolic state of the cells through the redox ratio defined based on the endogenous FAD and NADH fluorescence. The redox ratio of cells in the AM scaffold was significantly lower than that in the PM scaffold during week 5 and 9, and correlated with significant increases in lipid-to-cell volume ratio, and number and size of lipid droplets in the AM scaffold. These findings indicate that the decrease in redox ratio during adipogenic differentiation is associated with fatty acid synthesis and lipid accumulation. Our methods therefore enabled us to identify and measure dynamic correlations between lipid droplet formation and cell metabolic state, while providing insight on the spatial heterogeneity of the observed signals.
Project description:PURPOSE:Optical redox imaging (ORI), based on collecting the endogenous fluorescence of reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) and oxidized flavoproteins (Fp) containing a redox cofactor flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD), provides sensitive indicators of cellular metabolism and redox status. ORI indices (such as NADH, FAD, and their ratio) have been under investigation as potential progression/prognosis biomarkers for cancer. Higher FAD redox ratio (i.e., FAD/(FAD + NADH)) has been associated with higher invasive/metastatic potential in tumor xenografts and cultured cells. This study is to examine whether ORI indices can respond to the modulation of oncogene DEK activities that change cancer cell invasive/metastatic potential. PROCEDURES:Using lentiviral shRNA, DEK gene expression was efficiently knocked down in MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells (DEKsh). These DEKsh cells, along with scrambled shRNA-transduced control cells (NTsh), were imaged with a fluorescence microscope. In vitro invasive potential of the DEKsh cells and NTsh cells was also measured in parallel using the transwell assay. RESULTS:FAD and FAD redox ratios in polyclonal cells with DEKsh were significantly lower than that in NTsh control cells. Consistently, the DEKsh cells demonstrated decreased invasive potential than their non-knockdown counterparts NTsh cells. CONCLUSIONS:This study provides direct evidence that oncogene activities could mediate ORI-detected cellular redox state.
Project description:Flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD), synthesized from riboflavin, is redox cofactor in energy production and plays an important role in cell survival. More recently, riboflavin deficiency has been linked to developmental disorders, but its role in stem cell differentiation remains unclear. Here, we show that FAD treatment, using DMSO as a solvent, enabled an increase in the amount of intracellular FAD and promoted neuronal differentiation of human neural stem cells (NSCs) derived not only from fetal brain, but also from induced pluripotent stem cells. Depression of FAD-dependent histone demethylase, lysine-specific demethylase-1 (LSD1), prevented FAD-induced neuronal differentiation. Furthermore, FAD influx facilitated nuclear localization of LSD1 and its enzymatic activity. Together, these findings led us to propose that FAD contributes to proper neuronal production from NSCs in the human fetal brain during development.
Project description:Derivation of bone forming cells (osteoblasts) from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) is a prerequisite for their use in clinical applications. However, there is no standard protocol for differentiating hESCs into osteoblastic cells. The aim of this study was to identify the emergence of a human stromal (mesenchymal and skeletal) stem cell (hMSC)-like population, known to be osteoblastic cell precursors and to test their osteoblastic differentiation capacity in ex vivo cultures and in vivo. We cultured hESCs in a feeder-free environment using serum replacement and as suspension aggregates (embryoid bodies; hEBs). Over a 20 day developmental period, the hEBs demonstrated increasing enrichment for cells expressing hMSC markers: CD29, CD44, CD63, CD56, CD71, CD73, CD105, CD106, and CD166 as revealed by immunohistochemical staining and flow cytometry (fluorescence-activated cell sorting) analysis. Ex vivo differentiation of hEBs using bone morphogenic protein 2 (BMP2) combined with standard osteoblast induction medium led to weak osteoblastic induction. Conversely, subcutaneous in vivo implantation of day 20 hEBs in immune deficient mice, mixed with hydroxyapatite/tricalcium phosphate (HA/TCP) as an osteoconductive scaffold, revealed bone and cartilage, and fibrous tissue elements after 8 weeks. These tissues were of human origin and there was no evidence of differentiation to nonmesodermal tissues. hEBs implanted in the absence of HA/TCP formed vacuolated tissue containing glandular, fibrous and muscle-like tissue elements. Conversely, implantation of undifferentiated hESCs resulted in the formation of a teratoma containing a mixture of endodermal, mesodermal, and ectodermal tissues. Our study demonstrates that hMSC-like cells can be obtained from hESCs and they can be induced to form skeletal tissues in vivo when combined with HA/TCP. These findings are relevant for tissue engineering and suggest that differentiated hEBs can provide an unlimited source for functional osteogenic cells.
Project description:Two-photon imaging of endogenous fluorescence can provide physiological and metabolic information from intact tissues. However, simultaneous imaging of multiple intrinsic fluorophores, such as nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide(phosphate) (NAD(P)H), flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) and retinoids in living systems is generally hampered by sequential multi-wavelength excitation resulting in motion artifacts. Here, we report on efficient and simultaneous multicolor two-photon excitation of endogenous fluorophores with absorption spectra spanning the 750-1040?nm range, using wavelength mixing. By using two synchronized pulse trains at 760 and 1041?nm, an additional equivalent two-photon excitation wavelength at 879?nm is generated, and achieves simultaneous excitation of blue, green and red intrinsic fluorophores. This method permits an efficient simultaneous imaging of the metabolic coenzymes NADH and FAD to be implemented with perfect image co-registration, overcoming the difficulties associated with differences in absorption spectra and disparity in concentration. We demonstrate ratiometric redox imaging free of motion artifacts and simultaneous two-photon fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) of NADH and FAD in living tissues. The lifetime gradients of NADH and FAD associated with different cellular metabolic and differentiation states in reconstructed human skin and in the germline of live C. Elegans are thus simultaneously measured. Finally, we present multicolor imaging of endogenous fluorophores and second harmonic generation (SHG) signals during the early stages of Zebrafish embryo development, evidencing fluorescence spectral changes associated with development.
Project description:We describe a label-free imaging method to monitor stem-cell metabolism that discriminates different states of stem cells as they differentiate in living tissues. In this method we use intrinsic fluorescence biomarkers and the phasor approach to fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy in conjunction with image segmentation, which we use to introduce the concept of the cell phasor. In live tissues we are able to identify intrinsic fluorophores, such as collagen, retinol, retinoic acid, porphyrin, flavins, and free and bound NADH. We have exploited the cell phasor approach to detect a trend in metabolite concentrations along the main axis of the Caenorhabditis elegans germ line. This trend is consistent with known changes in metabolic states during differentiation. The cell phasor approach to lifetime imaging provides a label-free, fit-free, and sensitive method to identify different metabolic states of cells during differentiation, to sense small changes in the redox state of cells, and may identify symmetric and asymmetric divisions and predict cell fate. Our method is a promising noninvasive optical tool for monitoring metabolic pathways during differentiation or disease progression, and for cell sorting in unlabeled tissues.
Project description:As neurodegenerative conditions are increasingly linked to mitochondrial dysfunction, methods for studying brain cell metabolism at high spatial resolution are needed to elucidate neurodegeneration mechanisms. Two-photon excited fluorescence (TPEF) imaging is a non-destructive, high-resolution technique for studying cell metabolism via endogenous fluorescence of reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (phosphate) (NAD(P)H) and flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD). We employed TPEF to study the metabolism of primary rat astrocyte and neuronal cultures under normal growth conditions and in response to manganese (Mn) treatment. Histograms of pixel-wise optical redox ratio, defined as FAD/(FAD?+?NAD(P)H), revealed three distinct redox distributions and significant differences in their relative weights between astrocytes and neurons. When treated with Mn, both cell types exhibited redox ratio shifts consistent with increased oxidative stress. However, the manner in which the redox distributions was affected was distinct for the two cell types. Furthermore, NAD(P)H fluorescence lifetime imaging revealed an increase in bound NAD(P)H fraction upon Mn treatment for neurons, consistent with enhanced apoptosis. Astrocytes showed a decrease in bound fraction, possibly due to a shift towards glycolytic metabolism in response to impaired respiration. These results exhibit TPEF's utility for characterizing detailed metabolic changes of different brain cell types in response to neurotoxins.
Project description:Chronic wounds are difficult to diagnose and characterize due to a lack of quantitative biomarkers. Label-free multiphoton microscopy has emerged as a useful imaging modality capable of quantifying changes in cellular metabolism using an optical redox ratio of FAD/(NADH+FAD) autofluorescence. However, the utility of an optical redox ratio for long-term in vivo monitoring of tissue metabolism has not been robustly evaluated. In this study, we demonstrate how multiphoton microscopy can be used to monitor changes in the metabolism of individual full-thickness skin wounds in vivo. 3D optical redox ratio maps and NADH fluorescence lifetime images identify differences between diabetic and control mice during the re-epithelialization of wounds. These metabolic changes are associated with a transient increase in keratinocyte proliferation at the wound edge. Our study demonstrates that high-resolution, non-invasive autofluorescence imaging can be performed in vivo and that optical redox ratios can serve as quantitative optical biomarkers of impaired wound healing.