Directed Differentiation of Human Bone Marrow Stromal Cells to Fate-Committed Schwann Cells.
ABSTRACT: Our ultimate goal of in vitro derivation of Schwann cells (SCs) from adult bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) is such that they may be used autologously to assist post-traumatic nerve regeneration. Existing protocols for derivation of SC-like cells from BMSCs fall short in the stability of the acquired phenotype and the functional capacity to myelinate axons. Our experiments indicated that neuro-ectodermal progenitor cells among the human hBMSCs could be selectively expanded and then induced to differentiate into SC-like cells. Co-culture of the SC-like cells with embryonic dorsal root ganglion neurons facilitated contact-mediated signaling that accomplished the switch to fate-committed SCs. Microarray analysis and in vitro myelination provided evidence that the human BMSC-derived SCs were functionally mature. This was reinforced by repair and myelination phenotypes observable in vivo with the derived SCs seeded into a nerve guide as an implant across a critical gap in a rat model of sciatic nerve injury.
Project description:The myelination of axons in peripheral nerves requires precisely coordinated proliferation and differentiation of Schwann cells (SCs). We found that the activity of the mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1), a key signaling hub for the regulation of cellular growth and proliferation, is progressively extinguished as SCs differentiate during nerve development. To study the effects of different levels of sustained mTORC1 hyperactivity in the SC lineage, we disrupted negative regulators of mTORC1, including TSC2 or TSC1, in developing SCs of mutant mice. Surprisingly, the phenotypes ranged from arrested myelination in nerve development to focal hypermyelination in adulthood, depending on the level and timing of mTORC1 hyperactivity. For example, mice lacking TSC2 in developing SCs displayed hyperproliferation of undifferentiated SCs incompatible with normal myelination. However, these defects and myelination could be rescued by pharmacological mTORC1 inhibition. The subsequent reconstitution of SC mTORC1 hyperactivity in adult animals resulted in focal hypermyelination. Together our data suggest a model in which high mTORC1 activity promotes proliferation of immature SCs and antagonizes SC differentiation during nerve development. Down-regulation of mTORC1 activity is required for terminal SC differentiation and subsequent initiation of myelination. In distinction to this developmental role, excessive SC mTORC1 activity stimulates myelin growth, even overgrowth, in adulthood. Thus, our work delineates two distinct functions of mTORC1 in the SC lineage essential for proper nerve development and myelination. Moreover, our studies show that SCs retain their plasticity to myelinate and remodel myelin via mTORC1 throughout life.
Project description:In the central nervous system (CNS), oligodendrocytes myelinate multiple axons; in the peripheral nervous system (PNS), Schwann cells (SCs) myelinate a single axon. Why are the myelinating potentials of these glia so fundamentally different? Here, we find that loss of Fbxw7, an E3 ubiquitin ligase component, enhances the myelinating potential of SCs. Fbxw7 mutant SCs make thicker myelin sheaths and sometimes appear to myelinate multiple axons in a fashion reminiscent of oligodendrocytes. Several Fbxw7 mutant phenotypes are due to dysregulation of mTOR; however, the remarkable ability of mutant SCs to ensheathe multiple axons is independent of mTOR signaling. This indicates distinct roles for Fbxw7 in SC biology including modes of axon interactions previously thought to fundamentally distinguish myelinating SCs from oligodendrocytes. Our data reveal unexpected plasticity in the myelinating potential of SCs, which may have important implications for our understanding of both PNS and CNS myelination and myelin repair.
Project description:Proper function of the nervous system depends on myelination. In peripheral nerves, Schwann cells (SCs) myelinate axons and the miRNA biogenesis pathway is required for developmental myelination and myelin maintenance. However, regulatory roles of this pathway at different stages of myelination are only partially understood. We addressed the requirement of the core miRNA biogenesis pathway components Dgcr8, Drosha, and Dicer in developing and adult SCs using mouse mutants with a comparative genetics and transcriptomics approach. We found that the microprocessor components Dgcr8 and Drosha are crucial for axonal radial sorting and to establish correct SC numbers upon myelination. Transcriptome analyses revealed a requirement of the microprocessor to prevent aberrantly increased expression of injury-response genes. Those genes are predicted targets of abundant miRNAs in sciatic nerves (SNs) during developmental myelination. In agreement, Dgcr8 and Dicer are required for proper maintenance of the myelinated SC state, where abundant miRNAs in adult SNs are predicted to target injury-response genes. We conclude that the miRNA biogenesis pathway in SCs is crucial for preventing inappropriate activity of injury-response genes in developing and adult SCs.
Project description:In order to examine how implanted bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) encourage peripheral nerve regeneration, the present study investigated the interaction of BMSCs and Schwann cells (SCs) using an indirect in vitro co?culture model. SCs and BMSCs were obtained from adult Sprague?Dawley rats. The passaged BMSCs were CD29? and CD44?positive but CD45?negative and were co?cultured with the primary SCs using a Millicell system, which allows BMSCs and SCs to grow in the same culture medium but without direct contact. Expression of the typical SC markers S?100 and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) of the treated BMSCs as well as the proliferation capacity of the co?cultured SCs was evaluated by immunocytochemical staining on the 3rd and 5th day of co?culture. Immunocytochemical staining showed that >75% of the BMSCs in the indirect co?culture model were GFAP? and S?100?positive on the 3rd and 5th day after co?culture, as opposed to <5% of the BMSCs in the control group. On the 3rd day after co?culture, only a few co?cultured BMSCs showed the typical SC?like morphology, while most BMSCs still kept their native appearance. By contrast, on the 5th day after co?culture, almost all of the co?cultured BMSCs appeared with the typical SC?like morphology. Furthermore, 70.71% of the SCs in the indirect co?culture model were S?100?positive on the 5th day of co?culture, as opposed to >30.43% of the SCs in the control group. These results indicated that BMSCs may interact synergistically with SCs with regard to promoting peripheral nerve regeneration.
Project description:Myelin plays a crucial role in axon function recovery following nerve damage, and the interaction between Schwann cells (SCs) and regenerating axons profoundly affects myelin formation. Eph receptor A4 (EphA4), a member of the Eph tyrosine kinase receptor family, regulates cell-cell interactions via its ligand ephrins. However, our current knowledge on how EphA4 regulates the formation of myelin sheaths remains limited. In order to explore the roles of EphA4 in myelination in the peripheral nervous system, we used a combination of (1) a co-culture model of dorsal root ganglion (DRG) explants and SCs, (2) a SC differentiation model induced by db-cAMP, and (3) a regeneration model of crushed sciatic nerves in rats. Our results demonstrated that EphA4 inhibited myelination by inhibiting SC differentiation and facilitating SC proliferation in vitro. The in vivo experiments revealed that EphA4 expression in SCs is upregulated following nerve crush injury and then downregulated during remyelination. Moreover, silencing of EphA4 by siRNA or overexpression of EphA4 by genetic manipulation can accelerate or slow down nerve remyelination in crushed sciatic nerves. Taken together, our results suggest that EphA4 may negatively regulate myelination by abrogating SC differentiation.
Project description:Despite its modest capacity for regeneration, peripheral nervous system injury often results in significant long-term disability. Supplementing peripheral nervous system injury with autologous Schwann cells (SCs) may serve to rejuvenate the postinjury environment to enhance regeneration and ultimately improve functional outcomes. However, human nerve-derived SC (hN-SC) collection procedures require invasive surgical resection. Here, we describe the characterization of SCs from adult human skin (hSk-SCs) of four male donors ranging between 27 and 46 years old. Within five weeks of isolating and culturing adherent mixed skin cells, we were able to obtain 3-5 million purified SCs. We found that hSk-SCs appeared transcriptionally indistinguishable from hN-SCs with both populations exhibiting expression of SC genes including: SOX10, SOX9, AP2A1, CDH19, EGR1, ETV5, PAX3, SOX2, CX32, DHH, NECL4, NFATC4, POU3F1, S100B, and YY1. Phenotypic analysis of hSk-SCs and hN-SCs cultures revealed highly enriched populations of SCs indicated by the high percentage of NES+ve, SOX10+ve, s100+ve and p75+ve cells, as well as the expression of a battery of other SC-associated proteins (PAX3, CDH19, ETV5, SOX2, POU3F1, S100B, EGR2, and YY1). We further show that both hSk-SCs and hN-SCs are capable of promoting axonal growth to similar degrees and that a subset of both associate with regenerating axons and form myelin following transplantation into the injured mouse sciatic nerve. Interestingly, although the majority of both hSk-SCs and hN-SCs maintained SOX10 immunoreactivity following transplant, only a subset of each activated the promyelinating factor, POU3F1, and were able to myelinate. Taken together, we demonstrate that adult hSk-SCs are genetically and phenotypically indistinguishable to hN-SCs.
Project description:Schwann cells (SCs) play an important role in the pathogenesis of peripheral nerve diseases and represent a potential target for development of therapies. However, use of primary human SCs (hSCs) for in vitro models is limited because these cells are difficult to prepare and maintain in high yield and purity under common cell culture conditions. To circumvent this obstacle, we immortalized primary human fetal SCs using the SV40 large T-antigen and human telomerase reverse transcriptase expression vectors. After cloning, selection, and purification, we evaluated several immortalized SC lines for their ability to express extracellular matrix (ECM) molecules and myelinate embryonic rat sensory axons. In addition, we established a gene expression profile and explored their sensitivity to oxidative stress in a simple in vitro assay. Immortalized hSC clones expressed common glial markers and a broad variety of growth factors, receptors, and ECM molecules as determined by immunocytochemistry, microarray, and quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. In neuron-SC co-cultures, these cells were able to myelinate rat dorsal root ganglia neurons, although their effectiveness was lower in comparison to primary rat SCs. In toxicity assays, immortalized hSCs remain susceptible to oxidative stress induced by H(2)O(2). This study shows that, using specific immortalization techniques, it is possible to establish hSC lines that retain characteristics of typical primary hSCs. These cells are particularly useful for drug screening and studies aimed at disease mechanisms involving SCs.
Project description:RalA and RalB are small GTPases that are involved in cell migration and membrane dynamics. We used transgenic mice in which one or both GTPases were genetically ablated to investigate the role of RalGTPases in the Schwann cell (SC) response to nerve injury and repair. RalGTPases were dispensable for SC function in the naive uninjured state. Ablation of both RalA and RalB (but not individually) in SCs resulted in impaired axon remyelination and target reinnervation following nerve injury, which resulted in slowed recovery of motor function. Ral GTPases were localized to the leading lamellipodia in SCs and were required for the formation and extension of both axial and radial processes of SCs. These effects were dependent on interaction with the exocyst complex and impacted on the rate of SC migration and myelination. Our results show that RalGTPases are required for efficient nerve repair by regulating SC process formation, migration, and myelination, therefore uncovering a novel role for these GTPases.
Project description:The formation of myelin by Schwann cells (SCs) occurs via a series of orchestrated molecular events. We previously used global expression profiling to examine peripheral nerve myelination and identified the NAD(+)-dependent deacetylase Sir-two-homolog 2 (Sirt2) as a protein likely to be involved in myelination. Here, we show that Sirt2 expression in SCs is correlated with that of structural myelin components during both developmental myelination and remyelination after nerve injury. Transgenic mice lacking or overexpressing Sirt2 specifically in SCs show delays in myelin formation. In SCs, we found that Sirt2 deacetylates Par-3, a master regulator of cell polarity. The deacetylation of Par-3 by Sirt2 decreases the activity of the polarity complex signaling component aPKC, thereby regulating myelin formation. These results demonstrate that Sirt2 controls an essential polarity pathway in SCs during myelin assembly and provide insights into the association between intracellular metabolism and SC plasticity.
Project description:Schwann cells (SCs) arise from neural crest cells (NCCs) that first give rise to SC precursors (SCPs), followed by immature SCs, pro-myelinating SCs, and finally, non-myelinating or myelinating SCs. After nerve injury, mature SCs 'de-differentiate', downregulating their myelination program while transiently re-activating early glial lineage genes. To better understand molecular parallels between developing and de-differentiated SCs, we characterized the expression profiles of a panel of 12 transcription factors from the onset of NCC migration through postnatal stages, as well as after acute nerve injury. Using Sox10 as a pan-glial marker in co-expression studies, the earliest transcription factors expressed in E9.0 Sox10+ NCCs were Sox9, Pax3, AP2? and Nfatc4. E10.5 Sox10+ NCCs coalescing in the dorsal root ganglia differed slightly, expressing Sox9, Pax3, AP2? and Etv5. E12.5 SCPs continued to express Sox10, Sox9, AP2? and Pax3, as well as initiating Sox2 and Egr1 expression. E14.5 immature SCs were similar to SCPs, except that they lost Pax3 expression. By E18.5, AP2?, Sox2 and Egr1 expression was turned off in the nerve, while Jun, Oct6 and Yy1 expression was initiated in pro-myelinating Sox9+/Sox10+ SCs. Early postnatal and adult SCs continued to express Sox9, Jun, Oct6 and Yy1 and initiated Nfatc4 and Egr2 expression. Notably, at all stages, expression of each marker was observed only in a subset of Sox10+ SCs, highlighting the heterogeneity of the SC pool. Following acute nerve injury, Egr1, Jun, Oct6, and Sox2 expression was upregulated, Egr2 expression was downregulated, while Sox9, Yy1, and Nfatc4 expression was maintained at similar frequencies. Notably, de-differentiated SCs in the injured nerve did not display a transcription factor profile corresponding to a specific stage in the SC lineage. Taken together, we demonstrate that uninjured and injured SCs are heterogeneous and distinct from one another, and de-differentiation recapitulates transcriptional aspects of several different embryonic stages.