Neural precursor cells form integrated brain-like tissue when implanted into rat cerebrospinal fluid.
ABSTRACT: There is tremendous interest in transplanting neural precursor cells for brain tissue regeneration. However, it remains unclear whether a vascularized and integrated complex neural tissue can be generated within the brain through transplantation of cells. Here, we report that early stage neural precursor cells recapitulate their seminal properties and develop into large brain-like tissue when implanted into the rat brain ventricle. Whereas the implanted cells predominantly differentiated into glutamatergic neurons and astrocytes, the host brain supplied the intact vasculature, oligodendrocytes, GABAergic interneurons, and microglia that seamlessly integrated into the new tissue. Furthermore, local and long-range axonal connections formed mature synapses between the host brain and the graft. Implantation of precursor cells into the CSF-filled cavity also led to a formation of brain-like tissue that integrated into the host cortex. These results may constitute the basis of future brain tissue replacement strategies.
Project description:The performance of neural electrodes implanted in the brain is often limited by host response in the surrounding brain tissue, including astrocytic scar formation, neuronal cell death, and inflammation around the implant. We applied conformal microgel coatings to silicon neural electrodes and examined host responses to microgel-coated and uncoated electrodes following implantation in the rat brain. In vitro analyses demonstrated significantly reduced astrocyte and microglia adhesion to microgel-coated electrodes compared to uncoated controls. Microgel-coated and uncoated electrodes were implanted in the rat brain cortex and the extent of activated microglia and astrocytes as well as neuron density around the implant were evaluated at 1, 4, and 24 weeks postimplantation. Microgel coatings reduced astrocytic recruitment around the implant at later time points. However, microglial response indicated persistence of inflammation in the area around the electrode. Neuronal density around the implanted electrodes was also lower for both implant groups compared to the uninjured control. These results demonstrate that microgel coatings do not significantly improve host responses to implanted neural electrodes and underscore the need for further improvements in implantable materials.
Project description:Neuronal loss caused by neurodegenerative diseases, traumatic brain injury and stroke results in cognitive dysfunctioning. Implantation of neural stem/precursor cells (NPCs) can improve the brain function by replacing lost neurons. Proper synaptic integration following neuronal differentiation of implanted cells is believed to be a prerequisite for the functional recovery. In the present study, we characterized the functional properties of immortalized neural progenitor HiB5 cells implanted into the rat hippocampus with chemically induced lesion. The implanted HiB5 cells migrated toward CA1 pyramidal layer and differentiated into vGluT1-positive glutamatergic neurons with morphological and electrophysiological properties of endogenous CA1 pyramidal cells. Functional synaptic integration of HiB5 cell-derived neurons was also evidenced by immunohistochemical and electrophysiological data. Lesion-caused memory deficit was significantly recovered after the implantation when assessed by inhibitory avoidance (IA) learning. Remarkably, IA learning preferentially produced long-term potentiation (LTP) at the synapses onto HiB5 cell-derived neurons, which occluded paring protocol-induced LTP ex vivo. We conclude that the implanted HiB5 cell-derived neurons actively participate in learning process through LTP formation, thereby counteracting lesion-mediated memory impairment.
Project description:Neural probes provide many options for neuroscientific research and medical purposes. However, these implantable micro devices are not functionally stable over time due to host-probe interactions. Thus, reliable high-resolution characterization methods are required to understand local tissue changes upon implantation. In this work, synchrotron X-ray tomography is employed for the first time to image the interface between brain tissue and an implanted neural probe, showing that this 3D imaging method is capable of resolving probe and surrounding tissue at a resolution of about 1 micrometer. Unstained tissue provides sufficient contrast to identify electrode sites on the probe, cells, and blood vessels within tomograms. Exemplarily, we show that it is possible to quantify characteristics of the interaction region between probe and tissue, like the blood supply system. Our first-time study demonstrates a way for simultaneous 3D investigation of brain tissue with implanted probe, providing information beyond what was hitherto possible.
Project description:Improving the long-term performance of neural electrode interfaces requires overcoming severe biological reactions such as neuronal cell death, glial cell activation, and vascular damage in the presence of implanted intracortical devices. Past studies traditionally observe neurons, microglia, astrocytes, and blood-brain barrier (BBB) disruption around inserted microelectrode arrays. However, analysis of these factors alone yields poor correlation between tissue inflammation and device performance. Additionally, these studies often overlook significant biological responses that can occur during acute implantation injury. The current study employs additional histological markers that provide novel information about neglected tissue components-oligodendrocytes and their myelin structures, oligodendrocyte precursor cells, and BBB -associated pericytes-during the foreign body response to inserted devices at 1, 3, 7, and 28 days post-insertion. Our results reveal unique temporal and spatial patterns of neuronal and oligodendrocyte cell loss, axonal and myelin reorganization, glial cell reactivity, and pericyte deficiency both acutely and chronically around implanted devices. Furthermore, probing for immunohistochemical markers that highlight mechanisms of cell death or patterns of proliferation and differentiation have provided new insight into inflammatory tissue dynamics around implanted intracortical electrode arrays.
Project description:Electrocorticography (ECoG), used as a neural recording modality for brain-machine interfaces (BMIs), potentially allows for field potentials to be recorded from the surface of the cerebral cortex for long durations without suffering the host-tissue reaction to the extent that it is common with intracortical microelectrodes. Though the stability of signals obtained from chronically implanted ECoG electrodes has begun receiving attention, to date little work has characterized the effects of long-term implantation of ECoG electrodes on underlying cortical tissue.We implanted and recorded from a high-density ECoG electrode grid subdurally over cortical motor areas of a Rhesus macaque for 666 d.Histological analysis revealed minimal damage to the cortex underneath the implant, though the grid itself was encapsulated in collagenous tissue. We observed macrophages and foreign body giant cells at the tissue-array interface, indicative of a stereotypical foreign body response. Despite this encapsulation, cortical modulation during reaching movements was observed more than 18 months post-implantation.These results suggest that ECoG may provide a means by which stable chronic cortical recordings can be obtained with comparatively little tissue damage, facilitating the development of clinically viable BMI systems.
Project description:Microelectrode arrays implanted in the brain are increasingly used for the research and treatment of intractable neurological disease. However, local neuronal loss and glial encapsulation are known to interfere with effective integration and communication between implanted devices and brain tissue, where these observations are typically based on assessments of broad neuronal and astroglial markers. However, both neurons and astrocytes comprise heterogeneous cellular populations that can be further divided into subclasses based on unique functional and morphological characteristics. In this study, we investigated whether or not device insertion causes alterations in specific subtypes of these cells. We assessed the expression of both excitatory and inhibitory markers of neurotransmission (vesicular glutamate and GABA transporters, VGLUT1 and VGAT, respectively) surrounding single-shank Michigan-style microelectrode arrays implanted in the motor cortex of adult rats by use of quantitative immunohistochemistry. We found a pronounced shift from significantly elevated VGLUT1 within the initial days following implantation to relatively heightened VGAT by the end of the 4-wk observation period. Unexpectedly, we observed VGAT positivity in a subset of reactive astrocytes during the first week of implantation, indicating heterogeneity in early-responding encapsulating glial cells. We coupled our VGLUT1 data with the evaluation of a second marker of excitatory neurons (CamKii?); the results closely paralleled each other and underscored a progression from initially heightened to subsequently weakened excitatory tone in the neural tissue proximal to the implanted electrode interface (within 40 ?m). Our results provide new evidence for subtype-specific remodeling surrounding brain implants that inform observations of suboptimal integration and performance.<b>NEW & NOTEWORTHY</b> We report novel changes in the local expression of excitatory and inhibitory synaptic markers surrounding microelectrode arrays implanted in the motor cortex of rats, where a progressive shift toward increased inhibitory tone was observed over the 4-wk observation period. The result was driven by declining glutamate transporter expression (VGLUT1) in parallel with increasing GABA transporter expression (VGAT) over time, where a reactive VGAT+ astroglial subtype made an unexpected contribution to our findings.
Project description:The restitution of damaged circuitry and functional remodeling of peri-injured areas constitute two main mechanisms for sustaining recovery of the brain after stroke. In this study, a silk fibroin-based biomaterial efficiently supports the survival of intracerebrally implanted mesenchymal stem cells (mSCs) and increases functional outcomes over time in a model of cortical stroke that affects the forepaw sensory and motor representations. We show that the functional mechanisms underlying recovery are related to a substantial preservation of cortical tissue in the first days after mSCs-polymer implantation, followed by delayed cortical plasticity that involved a progressive functional disconnection between the forepaw sensory (FLs1) and caudal motor (cFLm1) representations and an emergent sensory activity in peri-lesional areas belonging to cFLm1. Our results provide evidence that mSCs integrated into silk fibroin hydrogels attenuate the cerebral damage after brain infarction inducing a delayed cortical plasticity in the peri-lesional tissue, this later a functional change described during spontaneous or training rehabilitation-induced recovery. This study shows that brain remapping and sustained recovery were experimentally favored using a stem cell-biomaterial-based approach.
Project description:Penetrating intracortical electrode arrays that record brain activity longitudinally are powerful tools for basic neuroscience research and emerging clinical applications. However, regardless of the technology used, signals recorded by these electrodes degrade over time. The failure mechanisms of these electrodes are understood to be a complex combination of the biological reactive tissue response and material failure of the device over time. While mechanical mismatch between the brain tissue and implanted neural electrodes have been studied as a source of chronic inflammation and performance degradation, the electrode failure caused by mechanical mismatch between different material properties and different structural components within a device have remained poorly characterized. Using Finite Element Model (FEM) we simulate the mechanical strain on a planar silicon electrode. The results presented here demonstrate that mechanical mismatch between iridium and silicon leads to concentrated strain along the border of the two materials. This strain is further focused on small protrusions such as the electrical traces in planar silicon electrodes. These findings are confirmed with chronic in vivo data (133-189 days) in mice by correlating a combination of single-unit electrophysiology, evoked multi-unit recordings, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, and scanning electron microscopy from traces and electrode sites with our modeling data. Several modes of mechanical failure of chronically implanted planar silicon electrodes are found that result in degradation and/or loss of recording. These findings highlight the importance of strains and material properties of various subcomponents within an electrode array.
Project description:Implantable neural micro-electrode arrays have the potential to restore lost sensory or motor function to many different areas of the body. However, the invasiveness of these implants often results in scar tissue formation, which can have detrimental effects on recorded signal quality and longevity. Traditional histological techniques can be employed to study the tissue reaction to implanted micro-electrode arrays, but these techniques require removal of the brain from the skull, often causing damage to the meninges and cortical surface. This is especially unfavorable when studying the tissue response to electrode arrays such as the micro-electrocorticography (micro-ECoG) device, which sits on the surface of the cerebral cortex. In order to better understand the biological changes occurring around these types of devices, a cranial window implantation scheme has been developed, through which the tissue response can be studied in vivo over the entire implantation period. Rats were implanted with epidural micro-ECoG arrays, over which glass coverslips were placed and sealed to the skull, creating cranial windows. Vascular growth around the devices was monitored for one month after implantation. It was found that blood vessels grew through holes in the micro-ECoG substrate, spreading over the top of the device. Micro-hematomas were observed at varying time points after device implantation in every animal, and tissue growth between the micro-ECoG array and the window occurred in several cases. Use of the cranial window imaging technique with these devices enabled the observation of tissue changes that would normally go unnoticed with a standard device implantation scheme.
Project description:When designing electrodes and probes for brain-machine interfaces, one of the challenges faced involves minimizing the brain-tissue response, which would otherwise create an environment that is detrimental for the accurate functioning of such probes. Following the implantation process, the brain reacts with a sterile inflammation response and resulting astrocytic glial scar formation, potentially resulting in neuronal cell loss around the implantation site. Such alterations in the naïve brain tissue can hinder both the quality of neuronal recordings, and the efficacy of deep-brain stimulation. In this study, we chronically implanted a glass-supported polyimide microelectrode in the dorsolateral striatum of Sprague-Dawley rats. The effect of high-frequency stimulation (HFS) was investigated using c-fos immunoreactivity techniques. GFAP and ED1 immunohistochemistry were used to analyze the brain-tissue response. No changes in c-fos expression were found for either the acute or chronic stimulus groups; although a c-fos expression was found along the length of the implantation trajectory, following chronic implantation of our stiffened polyimide microelectrode. Furthermore, we also observed the formation of a glial scar around the microelectrode, with an accompanying low number of inflammation cells. Histological and statistical analysis of NeuN-positive cells did not demonstrate a pronounced "kill zone" with accompanying neuronal cell death around the implantation site, neither on the polymer side, nor on the glass side of the PI-glass probe.