NANOG Restores Contractility of Mesenchymal Stem Cell-Based Senescent Microtissues.
ABSTRACT: Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been extensively used in the field of tissue engineering as a source of smooth muscle cells (SMCs). However, recent studies showed deficits in the contractile function of SMCs derived from senescent MSCs and there are no available strategies to restore the contractile function that is impaired due to cellular or organismal senescence. In this study, we developed a tetracycline-regulatable system and employed micropost tissue arrays to evaluate the effects of the embryonic transcription factor, NANOG, on the contractility of senescent MSCs. Using this system, we show that expression of NANOG fortified the actin cytoskeleton and restored contractile function that was impaired in senescent MSCs. NANOG increased the expression of smooth muscle ?-actin (ACTA2) as well as the contractile force generated by cells in three-dimensional microtissues. Interestingly, NANOG worked together with transforming growth factor-beta1 to further enhance the contractility of senescent microtissues. The effect of NANOG on contractile function was sustained for about 10 days after termination of its expression. Our results show that NANOG could reverse the effects of stem cell senescence and restore the myogenic differentiation potential of senescent MSCs. These findings may enable development of novel strategies to restore the function of senescent cardiovascular and other SMC-containing tissues.
Project description:Although the therapeutic potential of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) is widely accepted, loss of cell function due to donor aging or culture senescence are major limiting factors hampering their clinical application. Our laboratory recently showed that MSCs originating from older donors suffer from limited proliferative capacity and significantly reduced myogenic differentiation potential. This is a major concern, as the patients most likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease are elderly. Here we tested the hypothesis that a single pluripotency-associated transcription factor, namely Nanog, may reverse the proliferation and differentiation potential of bone marrow-derived MSC (BM-MSC) from adult donors. Microarray analysis showed that adult (a)BM-MSC expressing Nanog clustered close to Nanog-expressing neonatal cells. Nanog markedly upregulated genes involved in cell cycle, DNA replication, and DNA damage repair and enhanced the proliferation rate and clonogenic capacity of aBM-MSC. Notably, Nanog reversed the myogenic differentiation potential and restored the contractile function of aBM-MSC to a similar level as that of neonatal (n)BM-MSC. The effect of Nanog on contractility was mediated--at least in part--through activation of the TGF-? pathway by diffusible factors secreted in the conditioned medium of Nanog-expressing BM-MSC. Overall, our results suggest that Nanog may be used to overcome the effects of organismal aging on aBM-MSC, thereby increasing the potential of MSC from aged donors for cellular therapy and tissue regeneration.
Project description:Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are essential for the regenerative process; however, biological aging and environmental stress can induce senescence - an irreversible state of growth arrest - that not only affects the behavior of cells but also disrupts their ability to restore tissue integrity. While abnormal tissue properties, including increased extracellular matrix stiffness, are linked with the risk of developing breast cancer, the role and contribution of senescent MSCs to the disease progression to malignancy are not well understood. Here, we investigated senescence-associated biophysical changes in MSCs and how this influences cancer cell behavior in a 3D matrix interface model. Although senescent MSCs were far less motile than pre-senescent MSCs, they induced an invasive breast cancer phenotype, characterized by increased spheroid growth and cell invasion in collagen gels. Further analysis of collagen gels using second-harmonic generation showed increased collagen density when senescent MSCs were present, suggesting that senescent MSCs actively remodel the surrounding matrix. This study provides direct evidence of the pro-malignant effects of senescent MSCs in tumors.
Project description:The immature phenotype of stem cell derived cardiomyocytes is a significant barrier to their use in translational medicine and pre-clinical in vitro drug toxicity and pharmacological analysis. Here we have assessed the contribution of non-myocyte cells on the contractile function of co-cultured human embryonic stem cell derived cardiomyocytes (hESC-CMs) in spheroid microtissue format. Microtissues were formed using a scaffold free 96-well cell suspension method from hESC-CM cultured alone (CM microtissues) or in combination with human primary cardiac microvascular endothelial cells and cardiac fibroblasts (CMEF microtissues). Contractility was characterized with fluorescence and video-based edge detection. CMEF microtissues displayed greater Ca(2+?)transient amplitudes, enhanced spontaneous contraction rate and remarkably enhanced contractile function in response to both positive and negative inotropic drugs, suggesting a more mature contractile phenotype than CM microtissues. In addition, for several drugs the enhanced contractile response was not apparent when endothelial cell or fibroblasts from a non-cardiac tissue were used as the ancillary cells. Further evidence of maturity for CMEF microtissues was shown with increased expression of genes that encode proteins critical in cardiac Ca(2+?)handling (S100A1), sarcomere assembly (telethonin/TCAP) and ?-adrenergic receptor signalling. Our data shows that compared with single cell-type cardiomyocyte in vitro models, CMEF microtissues are superior at predicting the inotropic effects of drugs, demonstrating the critical contribution of cardiac non-myocyte cells in mediating functional cardiotoxicity.
Project description:Intervertebral disc degeneration (IDD) is an irreversible aging-associated clinical condition of unclear etiology. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have the potential to delay IDD, but the mechanisms by which MSCs attenuate senescence-related degeneration of nucleus pulposus cells (NPCs) remain uncertain. The present study employed a three-dimensional (3D) co-culture system to explore the influence of MSCs on NPC degeneration induced by TNF-? in rat cells. We found that co-culture with bone marrow-derived MSCs (BMSCs) reduced senescence-associated ?-galactosidase expression, increased cell proliferation, decreased matrix metalloproteinase 9, increased Coll-IIa production, and reduced TGF?/NF-?B signaling in senescent NPCs. In addition, expression of zinc metallopeptidase STE24 (ZMPSTE24), whose dysfunction is related to premature cell senescence and aging, was decreased in senescent NPCs but restored upon BMSC co-culture. Accordingly, ZMPSTE24 overexpression in NPCs inhibited the pro-senescence effects of TGF?/NF-?B activation upon TNF-? stimulation, while both CRISPR/Cas9-mediated silencing and pharmacological ZMPSTE24 inhibition prevented those effects. Ex-vivo experiments on NP explants provided supporting evidence for the protective effect of MSCs against NPC senescence and IDD. Although further molecular studies are necessary, our results suggest that MSCs may attenuate or prevent NP fibrosis and restore the viability and functional status of NPCs through upregulation of ZMPSTE24.
Project description:Background. Fetal heart can regenerate to restore its normal anatomy and function in response to injury, but this regenerative capacity is lost within the first week of postnatal life. Although the specific molecular mechanisms remain to be defined, it is presumed that aging of cardiac stem or progenitor cells may contribute to the loss of regenerative potential. Methods. To study this aging-related dysfunction, we cultured mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) from human fetal heart tissues. Senescence was induced by exposing cells to chronic oxidative stress/low serum. Mitochondrial DNA methylation was examined during the period of senescence. Results. Senescent MSCs exhibited flattened and enlarged morphology and were positive for the senescence-associated beta-galactosidase (SA-?-Gal). By scanning the entire mitochondrial genome, we found that four CpG islands were hypomethylated in close association with senescence in MSCs. The mitochondrial COX1 gene, which encodes the main subunit of the cytochrome c oxidase complex and contains the differentially methylated CpG island 4, was upregulated in MSCs in parallel with the onset of senescence. Knockdown of DNA methyltransferases (DNMT1, DNMT3a, and DNMT3B) also upregulated COX1 expression and induced cellular senescence in MSCs. Conclusions. This study demonstrates that mitochondrial CpG hypomethylation may serve as a critical biomarker associated with cellular senescence induced by chronic oxidative stress.
Project description:We used magnetofection (MF) to achieve high transfection efficiency into human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). A custom-made magnet array, matching well-to-well to a 24-well plate, was generated and characterized. Theoretical predictions of magnetic force distribution within each well demonstrated that there was no magnetic field interference among magnets in adjacent wells. An optimized protocol for efficient gene delivery to human hair follicle derived MSCs (hHF-MSCs) was established using an egfp-encoding plasmid, reaching approximately ?50% transfection efficiency without significant cytotoxicity. Then we applied the optimized MF protocol to express the pluripotency-associated transcription factor NANOG, which was previously shown to reverse the effects of organismal aging on MSC proliferation and myogenic differentiation capacity. Indeed, MF-mediated NANOG delivery increased proliferation and enhanced the differentiation of hHF-MSCs into smooth muscle cells (SMCs). Collectively, our results show that MF can achieve high levels of gene delivery to MSCs and, therefore, may be employed to moderate or reverse the effects of cellular senescence or reprogram cells to the pluripotent state without permanent genetic modification.
Project description:We examined the effects of senescence on the proliferation and leiomyogenic differentiation potential of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) isolated from bone marrow (BM-MSCs) or hair follicles (HF-MSCs). To this end, we compared ovine HF-MSCs and BM-MSCs in terms of their proliferation and differentiation potential to the smooth muscle cell lineage. We discovered that HF-MSCs are less susceptible to culture senescence compared with BM-MSCs. We hypothesized that application of mechanical forces may enhance the contractility and mechanical properties of vascular constructs prepared from senescent MSCs. Interestingly, HF-MSCs and BM-MSCs responded differently to changes in the mechanical microenvironment, suggesting that despite phenotypic similarities, MSCs from different anatomic locations may activate different pathways in response to the same microenvironmental factors. In turn, this may also suggest that cell-based tissue regeneration approaches may need to be tailored to the stem cell origin, donor age, and culture time for optimal results.
Project description:RATIONALE: Senescence of pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells (PA-SMCs) caused by telomere shortening or oxidative stress may contribute to pulmonary hypertension associated with chronic lung diseases. OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether cell senescence contributes to pulmonary vessel remodeling and pulmonary hypertension in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). METHODS AND RESULTS: In 124 patients with COPD investigated by right heart catheterization, we found a negative correlation between leukocyte telomere length and pulmonary hypertension severity. In-depth investigations of lung vessels and derived cultured PA-SMCs showed greater severity of remodeling and increases in senescent p16-positive and p21-positive PA-SMCs and proliferating Ki67-stained cells in 14 patients with COPD compared to 13 age-matched and sex-matched control subjects who smoke. Cultured PA-SMCs from COPD patients displayed accelerated senescence, with fewer cell population doublings, an increased percentage of ?-galactosidase-positive cells, shorter telomeres, and higher p16 protein levels at an early cell passage compared to PA-SMCs from controls. Both in situ and in vitro PA-SMC senescence criteria correlated closely with the degree of pulmonary vessel wall hypertrophy. Because senescent PA-SMCs stained for p16 and p21 were virtually confined to the media near the Ki67-positive cells, which predominated in the neointima and hypertrophied media, we evaluated whether senescent cells affected normal PA-SMC functions. We found that senescent PA-SMCs stimulated the growth and migration of normal target PA-SMCs through the production and release of paracrine soluble and insoluble factors. CONCLUSION: PA-SMC senescence is an important contributor to the process of pulmonary vascular remodeling that underlies pulmonary hypertension in chronic lung disease.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a chronic lung disease for which age is the most important risk factor. Different mechanisms associated with aging, including stem cell dysfunction, have been described to participate in the pathophysiology of IPF. We observed an extrapulmonary effect associated with IPF: increase in cell senescence of bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (B-MSCs). METHODS:B-MSCs were obtained from vertebral bodies procured from IPF patients and age-matched normal controls. Cell senescence was determined by cell proliferation and expression of markers of cell senescence p16INK4A, p21, and ?-galactosidase activity. Mitochondrial function and DNA damage were measured. Paracrine induction of senescence and profibrotic responses were analyzed in vitro using human lung fibroblasts. The reparative capacity of B-MSCs was examined in vivo using the bleomycin-induced lung fibrosis model. RESULTS:In our study, we demonstrate for the first time that B-MSCs from IPF patients are senescent with significant differences in mitochondrial function, with accumulation of DNA damage resulting in defects in critical cell functions when compared with age-matched controls. Senescent IPF B-MSCs have the capability of paracrine senescence by inducing senescence in normal-aged fibroblasts, suggesting a possible link between senescent B-MSCs and the late onset of the disease. IPF B-MSCs also showed a diminished capacity to migrate and were less effective in preventing fibrotic changes observed in mice after bleomycin-induced injury, increasing illness severity and proinflammatory responses. CONCLUSIONS:We describe extrapulmonary alterations in B-MSCs from IPF patients. The consequences of having senescent B-MSCs are not completely understood, but the decrease in their ability to respond to normal activation and the risk of having a negative impact on the local niche by inducing inflammation and senescence in the neighboring cells suggests a new link between B-MSC and the onset of the disease.
Project description:Tissue accumulation of p16INK4a-positive senescent cells is associated with age-related disorders, such as osteoarthritis (OA). These cell-cycle arrested cells affect tissue function through a specific secretory phenotype. The links between OA onset and senescence remain poorly described. Using experimental OA protocol and transgenic Cdkn2a+/luc and Cdkn2aluc/luc mice, we found that the senescence-driving p16INK4a is a marker of the disease, expressed by the synovial tissue, but is also an actor: its somatic deletion partially protects against cartilage degeneration. We test whether by becoming senescent, the mesenchymal stromal/stem cells (MSCs), found in the synovial tissue and sub-chondral bone marrow, can contribute to OA development. We established an in vitro p16INK4a-positive senescence model on human MSCs. Upon senescence induction, their intrinsic stem cell properties are altered. When co-cultured with OA chondrocytes, senescent MSC show also a seno-suppressive properties impairment favoring tissue degeneration. To evaluate in vivo the effects of p16INK4a-senescent MSC on healthy cartilage, we rely on the SAMP8 mouse model of accelerated senescence that develops spontaneous OA. MSCs isolated from these mice expressed p16INK4a. Intra-articular injection in 2-month-old C57BL/6JRj male mice of SAMP8-derived MSCs was sufficient to induce articular cartilage breakdown. Our findings reveal that senescent p16INK4a-positive MSCs contribute to joint alteration.