Immunosuppression of allogenic mesenchymal stem cells transplantation after spinal cord injury improves graft survival and beneficial outcomes.
ABSTRACT: Cell therapy for spinal cord injury (SCI) is a promising strategy for clinical application. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) have demonstrated beneficial effects following transplantation in animal models of SCI. However, despite the immunoprivilege properties of the MSC, their survival in the injured spinal cord is reduced due to the detrimental milieu in the damaged tissue and immune rejection of the cells. The limited survival of the engrafted cells may determine the therapy success. Therefore, we compared two strategies to increase the presence of the cells in the injured spinal cord in rats: increasing the amount of MSC transplants and using immunosuppressive treatment with FK506 after transplantation. Functional outcomes for locomotion and electrophysiological responses were assessed. The grafted cells survival and the amount of cavity and spared tissue were studied. The findings indicate that immunosuppression improved grafted cells survival. A cell-dose effect was found regarding locomotion recovery and tissue protection independent of immunosuppression. Nevertheless, immunosuppression enhanced the electrophysiological outcomes and allowed filling of the cavity formed after injury by new regenerative tissue and axons. These results indicate that MSC transplantation combined with immunosuppression prolongs the survival of engrafted cells and improves functional and morphological outcomes after SCI.
Project description:Transplantation of bone marrow derived mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC) or olfactory ensheathing cells (OEC) have demonstrated beneficial effects after spinal cord injury (SCI), providing tissue protection and improving the functional recovery. However, the changes induced by these cells after their transplantation into the injured spinal cord remain largely unknown. We analyzed the changes in the spinal cord transcriptome after a contusion injury and MSC or OEC transplantation. The cells were injected immediately or 7 days after the injury. The mRNA of the spinal cord injured segment was extracted and analyzed by microarray at 2 and 7 days after cell grafting. The gene profiles were analyzed by clustering and functional enrichment analysis based on the Gene Ontology database. We found that both MSC and OEC transplanted acutely after injury induce an early up-regulation of genes related to tissue protection and regeneration. In contrast, cells transplanted at 7 days after injury down-regulate genes related to tissue regeneration. The most important change after MSC or OEC transplant was a marked increase in expression of genes associated with foreign body response and adaptive immune response. These data suggest a regulatory effect of MSC and OEC transplantation after SCI regarding tissue repair processes, but a fast rejection response to the grafted cells. Our results provide an initial step to determine the mechanisms of action and to optimize cell therapy for SCI.
Project description:Demyelination contributes to the dysfunction after traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI). We explored whether the combination of neurotrophic factors and transplantation of adult rat spinal cord oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) could enhance remyelination and functional recovery after SCI. Ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF) was the most effective neurotrophic factor to promote oligodendrocyte (OL) differentiation and survival of OPCs in vitro. OPCs were infected with retroviruses expressing enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) or CNTF and transplanted into the contused adult thoracic spinal cord 9 d after injury. Seven weeks after transplantation, the grafted OPCs survived and integrated into the injured spinal cord. The survival of grafted CNTF-OPCs increased fourfold compared with EGFP-OPCs. The grafted OPCs differentiated into adenomatus polyposis coli (APC(+)) OLs, and CNTF significantly increased the percentage of APC(+) OLs from grafted OPCs. Immunofluorescent and immunoelectron microscopic analyses showed that the grafted OPCs formed central myelin sheaths around the axons in the injured spinal cord. The number of OL-remyelinated axons in ventrolateral funiculus (VLF) or lateral funiculus (LF) at the injured epicenter was significantly increased in animals that received CNTF-OPC grafts compared with all other groups. Importantly, 75% of rats receiving CNTF-OPC grafts recovered transcranial magnetic motor-evoked potential and magnetic interenlargement reflex responses, indicating that conduction through the demyelinated axons in VLF or LF, respectively, was partially restored. More importantly, recovery of hindlimb locomotor function was significantly enhanced in animals receiving grafts of CNTF-OPCs. Thus, combined treatment with OPC grafts expressing CNTF can enhance remyelination and facilitate functional recovery after traumatic SCI.
Project description:<h4>Aims</h4>This study was aimed to investigate whether electroacupuncture (EA) would increase the secretion of neurotrophin-3 (NT-3) from injured spinal cord tissue, and, if so, whether the increased NT-3 would promote the survival, differentiation, and migration of grafted tyrosine kinase C (TrkC)-modified mesenchymal stem cell (MSC)-derived neural network cells. We next sought to determine if the latter would integrate with the host spinal cord neural circuit to improve the neurological function of injured spinal cord.<h4>Methods</h4>After NT-3-modified Schwann cells (SCs) and TrkC-modified MSCs were co-cultured in a gelatin sponge scaffold for 14 days, the MSCs differentiated into neuron-like cells that formed a MSC-derived neural network (MN) implant. On this basis, we combined the MN implantation with EA in a rat model of spinal cord injury (SCI) and performed immunohistochemical staining, neural tracing, electrophysiology, and behavioral testing after 8 weeks.<h4>Results</h4>Electroacupuncture application enhanced the production of endogenous NT-3 in damaged spinal cord tissues. The increase in local NT-3 production promoted the survival, migration, and maintenance of the grafted MN, which expressed NT-3 high-affinity TrkC. The combination of MN implantation and EA application improved cortical motor-evoked potential relay and facilitated the locomotor performance of the paralyzed hindlimb compared with those of controls. These results suggest that the MN was better integrated into the host spinal cord neural network after EA treatment compared with control treatment.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Electroacupuncture as an adjuvant therapy for TrkC-modified MSC-derived MN, acted by increasing the local production of NT-3, which accelerated neural network reconstruction and restoration of spinal cord function following SCI.
Project description:Transplantation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) improves functional recovery in experimental models of spinal cord injury (SCI); however, the mechanisms underlying this effect are not completely understood. We investigated the effect of intrathecal implantation of human MSC on functional recovery, astrogliosis and levels of inflammatory cytokines in rats using balloon-induced spinal cord compression lesions. Transplanted cells did not survive at the lesion site of the spinal cord; however, functional recovery was enhanced in the MSC-treated group as was confirmed by the Basso, Beattie, and Bresnahan (BBB) and the flat beam test. Morphometric analysis showed a significantly higher amount of remaining white matter in the cranial part of the lesioned spinal cords. Immunohistochemical analysis of the lesions indicated the rearrangement of the glial scar in MSC-treated animals. Real-time PCR analysis revealed an increased expression of Irf5, Mrc1, Fgf2, Gap43 and Gfap. Transplantation of MSCs into a lesioned spinal cord reduced TNF?, IL-4, IL-1?, IL-2, IL-6 and IL-12 and increased the levels of MIP-1? and RANTES when compared to saline-treated controls. Intrathecal implantation of MSCs reduces the inflammatory reaction and apoptosis, improves functional recovery and modulates glial scar formation after SCI, regardless of cell survival. Therefore, repeated applications may prolong the beneficial effects induced by MSC application.
Project description:We analyzed the changes in the spinal cord transcriptome after a spinal cord contusion injury and MSC or OEC transplantation. The cells were injected immediately or 7 days after the injury. The mRNA of the spinal cord injured segment was extracted and analyzed by microarray at 2 and 7 days after cell grafting. 52 total samples were analyzed in 13 different groups. Each group include 4 samples and each one were analyzed as a biological replica. The intact animals were used as control of injury. The vehicle (VHC) groups were used as control of transplantation procedure. The MSC or OEC graft were injected at the day of injury (acute graft) or seven days after injury (delayed graft). The samples from engrafted animals were obtained at 2 or 7 days after cell transplantation. To determine the effects of MSC or OEC transplantation, the expression value of each engrafted sample were compared with correspondent VHC group.
Project description:Transplantation of bone marrow stem cells into spinal cord lesions enhances axonal regeneration and promotes functional recovery in animal studies. There are two types of adult bone marrow stem cell; hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), and mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). The mechanisms by which HSCs and MSCs might promote spinal cord repair following transplantation have been extensively investigated. The objective of this review is to discuss these mechanisms; we briefly consider the controversial topic of HSC and MSC transdifferentiation into central nervous system cells but focus on the neurotrophic, tissue sparing, and reparative action of MSC grafts in the context of the spinal cord injury (SCI) milieu. We then discuss some of the specific issues related to the translation of HSC and MSC therapies for patients with SCI and present a comprehensive critique of the current bone marrow cell clinical trials for the treatment of SCI to date.
Project description:Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC) are used for cell therapy for spinal cord injury (SCI) because of their ability to support tissue repair by paracrine signaling. Preclinical and clinical research testing MSC transplants for SCI have revealed limited success, which warrants the exploration of strategies to improve their therapeutic efficacy. MSC are sensitive to the microenvironment and their secretome can be altered in vitro by exposure to different culture media. Priming MSC with inflammatory stimuli increases the expression and secretion of reparative molecules. We studied the effect of macrophage-derived inflammation priming on MSC transplants and of primed MSC (pMSC) acute transplants (3 days) on spinal cord repair using an adult rat model of moderate-severe contusive SCI. We found a decrease in long-term survival of pMSC transplants compared with unprimed MSC transplants. With a pMSC transplant, we found significantly more anti-inflammatory macrophages in the contusion at 4 weeks post transplantation (wpt). Blood vessel presence and maturation in the contusion at 1 wpt was similar in rats that received pMSC or untreated MSC. Nervous tissue sparing and functional recovery were similar across groups. Our results indicate that macrophage-derived inflammation priming does not increase the overall therapeutic potential of an MSC transplant in the adult rat contused spinal cord.
Project description:The transplantation of neural progenitor cells (NPCs) derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) has beneficial effects on spinal cord injury (SCI). However, while there are many subtypes of NPCs with different regional identities, the subtype of iPSC-derived NPCs that is most appropriate for cell therapy for SCI has not been identified. Here, we generated forebrain- and spinal cord-type NPCs from human iPSCs and grafted them onto the injured spinal cord in mice. These two types of NPCs retained their regional identities after transplantation and exhibited different graft-host interconnection properties. NPCs with spinal cord regional identity but not those with forebrain identity resulted in functional improvement in SCI mice, especially in those with mild-to-moderate lesions. This study highlights the importance of the regional identity of human iPSC-derived NPCs used in cell therapy for SCI.
Project description:Functional recovery is still limited mainly due to several mechanisms, such as the activation of Nogo receptor-1 (NgR1) signaling, when human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived neural stem/progenitor cells (hiPSC-NS/PC) are transplanted for subacute spinal cord injury (SCI). We previously reported the neuroprotective and regenerative benefits of overexpression of lateral olfactory tract usher substance (LOTUS), an endogenous NgR1 antagonist, in the injured spinal cord using transgenic mice. Here, we evaluate the effects of lentiviral transduction of LOTUS gene into hiPSC-NS/PCs before transplantation in a mouse model of subacute SCI. The transduced LOTUS contributes to neurite extension, suppression of apoptosis, and secretion of neurotrophic factors in vitro. In vivo, the hiPSC-NS/PCs enhance the survival of grafted cells and enhance axonal extension of the transplanted cells, resulting in significant restoration of motor function following SCI. Therefore, the gene transduction of LOTUS in hiPSC-NS/PCs could be a promising adjunct for transplantation therapy for SCI.
Project description:The adult spinal cord harbours a population of multipotent neural precursor cells (NPCs) with the ability to replace oligodendrocytes. However, despite this capacity, proliferation and endogenous remyelination is severely limited after spinal cord injury (SCI). In the post-traumatic microenvironment following SCI, endogenous spinal NPCs mainly differentiate into astrocytes which could contribute to astrogliosis that exacerbate the outcomes of SCI. These findings emphasize a key role for the post-SCI niche in modulating the behaviour of spinal NPCs after SCI. We recently reported that chondroitin sulphate proteoglycans (CSPGs) in the glial scar restrict the outcomes of NPC transplantation in SCI by reducing the survival, migration and integration of engrafted NPCs within the injured spinal cord. These inhibitory effects were attenuated by administration of chondroitinase (ChABC) prior to NPC transplantation. Here, in a rat model of compressive SCI, we show that perturbing CSPGs by ChABC in combination with sustained infusion of growth factors (EGF, bFGF and PDGF-AA) optimize the activation and oligodendroglial differentiation of spinal NPCs after injury. Four days following SCI, we intrathecally delivered ChABC and/or GFs for seven days. We performed BrdU incorporation to label proliferating cells during the treatment period after SCI. This strategy increased the proliferation of spinal NPCs, reduced the generation of new astrocytes and promoted their differentiation along an oligodendroglial lineage, a prerequisite for remyelination. Furthermore, ChABC and GF treatments enhanced the response of non-neural cells by increasing the generation of new vascular endothelial cells and decreasing the number of proliferating macrophages/microglia after SCI. In conclusions, our data strongly suggest that optimization of the behaviour of endogenous spinal NPCs after SCI is critical not only to promote endogenous oligodendrocyte replacement, but also to reverse the otherwise detrimental effects of their activation into astrocytes which could negatively influence the repair process after SCI.