Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 Receptor Dictates Beneficial Effects of Treadmill Training by Regulating Survival and Migration of Neural Stem Cell Grafts in the Injured Spinal Cord.
ABSTRACT: Survival and migration of transplanted neural stem cells (NSCs) are prerequisites for therapeutic benefits in spinal cord injury. We have shown that survival of NSC grafts declines after transplantation into the injured spinal cord, and that combining treadmill training (TMT) enhances NSC survival via insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1). Here, we aimed to obtain genetic evidence that IGF-1 signaling in the transplanted NSCs determines the beneficial effects of TMT. We transplanted NSCs heterozygous (+/-) for Igf1r, the gene encoding IGF-1 receptor, into the mouse spinal cord after injury, with or without combining TMT. We analyzed the influence of genotype and TMT on locomotor recovery and survival and migration of NSC grafts. In vitro experiments were performed to examine the potential roles of IGF-1 signaling in the migratory ability of NSCs. Mice receiving +/- NSC grafts showed impaired locomotor recovery compared with those receiving wild-type (+/+) NSCs. Locomotor improvement by TMT was more pronounced with +/+ grafts. Deficiency of one allele of Igf1r significantly reduced survival and migration of the transplanted NSCs. Although TMT did not significantly influence NSC survival, it substantially enhanced the extent of migration for only +/+ NSCs. Cultured neurospheres exhibited dynamic motility with cytoplasmic protrusions, which was regulated by IGF-1 signaling. IGF-1 signaling in transplanted NSCs may be essential in regulating their survival and migration. Furthermore, TMT may promote NSC graft-mediated locomotor recovery via activation of IGF-1 signaling in transplanted NSCs. Dynamic NSC motility via IGF-1 signaling may be the cellular basis for the TMT-induced enhancement of migration.
Project description:Transplantation of neural stem cells (NSCs) is a potential strategy for the treatment of spinal cord transection (SCT). Here we investigated whether transplanted NSCs would improve motor function of rats with SCT and explored the underlying mechanism. First, the rats were divided into sham, SCT, and NSC groups. Rats in the SCT and NSC groups were all subjected to SCT in T10, and were administered with media and NSC transplantation into the lesion site, respectively. Immunohistochemistry was used to label Nestin-, TUNEL-, and NeuN-positive cells and reveal the expression and location of type I insulin-like growth factor receptor (IGF-1 R). Locomotor function of hind limbs was assessed by Basso, Beattie, Bresnahan (BBB) score and inclined plane test. The conduction velocity and amplitude of spinal nerve fibers were measured by electrophysiology and the anatomical changes were measured using magnetic resonance imaging. Moreover, expression of IGF-1 R was determined by real-time polymerase chain reaction and Western blotting. The results showed that NSCs could survive and differentiate into neurons in vitro and in vivo. SCT-induced deficits were reduced by NSC transplantation, including increase in NeuN-positive cells and decrease in apoptotic cells. Moreover, neurophysiological profiles indicated that the latent period was decreased and the peak-to-peak amplitude of spinal nerve fibers conduction was increased in transplanted rats, while morphological measures indicated that fractional anisotropy and the number of nerve fibers in the site of spinal cord injury were increased after NSC transplantation. In addition, mRNA and protein level of IGF-1 R were increased in the rostral segment in the NSC group, especially in neurons. Therefore, we concluded that NSC transplantation promotes motor function improvement of SCT, which might be associated with activated IGF-1 R, especially in the rostral site. All of the above suggests that this approach has potential for clinical treatment of spinal cord injury.
Project description:Neural stem cell (NSC) transplantation is a promising treatment to improve the recovery after brain ischemia. However, how the survival, proliferation, migration, and differentiation of implanted NSC are influenced by endogenous neuronal activity remains unclear. In this work, we used optogenetic techniques to control the activity of striatal neurons and investigated how their activity affected the survival and migration of transplanted NSCs and overall neurological outcome after ischemic stroke. NSCs cultured from transgenic mice expressing fluorescent protein were transplanted into the peri-infarct region of the striatum after transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (tMCAO) surgery. The striatal neurons were excited or inhibited for 15 minutes daily via implanted optical fiber after tMCAO. The results revealed that mice which received NSC transplantation and optogenetic inhibition had smaller brain infarct volume and increased NSC migration compared to the NSC alone or PBS group (p < 0.05). In contrast, mice which received NSC transplantation and optogenetic excitation showed no difference in infarct volume and neurological behavior improvement compared to the PBS control group. In vitro experiments further revealed that the conditioned media from excited GABAergic neurons reduced NSC viability through paracrine mechanisms. Conclusion. Optogenetic inhibition of striatal neuronal activity further improved neurological recovery after NSC transplantation at the subacute phase after brain ischemia.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Neural stem cell (NSC)-based therapies hold great promise for treating diseases of the central nervous system (CNS). However, several fundamental problems still need to be overcome to fully exploit the clinical potential of NSC therapeutics. Chief among them is the limited survival of NSC grafts within hostile microenvironments. METHODS:Herein, we sought to engineer NSCs in an effort to increase graft survival within ischemic brain lesions via upregulation of global SUMOylation, a post-translational modification critically involved in mediating tolerance to ischemia/reperfusion. FINDINGS:NSCs overexpressing the SUMO E2-conjugase Ubc9 displayed resistance to oxygen-glucose-deprivation/restoration of oxygen/glucose (OGD/ROG) and enhanced neuronal differentiation in vitro, as well as increased survival and neuronal differentiation when transplanted in mice with transient middle cerebral artery occlusion in vivo. INTERPRETATION:Our work highlights a critical role for SUMOylation in NSC biology and identifies a biological pathway that can be targeted to increase the effectiveness of exogenous stem cell medicines in ischemic stroke. FUND: Intramural Research Program of the NINDS/NIH, the Italian Multiple Sclerosis Foundation (FISM), the Bascule Charitable Trust, NIH-IRTA-OxCam and Wellcome Trust Research Training Fellowships.
Project description:Neural stem cell (NSC) transplantation is a promising strategy for delivering therapeutic proteins in the brain. We evaluated a complete process of ex vivo gene therapy using human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived NSC transplants in a well-characterized mouse model of a human lysosomal storage disease, Sly disease. Human Sly disease fibroblasts were reprogrammed into iPSCs, differentiated into a stable and expandable population of NSCs, genetically corrected with a transposon vector, and assessed for engraftment in NOD/SCID mice. Following neonatal intraventricular transplantation, the NSCs engraft along the rostrocaudal axis of the CNS primarily within white matter tracts and survive for at least 4 months. Genetically corrected iPSC-NSCs transplanted post-symptomatically into the striatum of adult Sly disease mice reversed neuropathology in a zone surrounding the grafts, while control mock-corrected grafts did not. The results demonstrate the potential for ex vivo gene therapy in the brain using human NSCs from autologous, non-neural tissues.
Project description:Recent advances in neural stem cell (NSC) transplantation have led to an inspiring progress in alleviating central nervous system (CNS) damages and restoring brain functions from diseases or injuries. One challenge of NSC transplantation is directed differentiation of transplanted NSCs into desired neuronal subtypes, such as neurons, to compensate the adverse impact of brain injury; another challenge lies in the lack of tools to noninvasively monitor the dynamics of NSC differentiation after transplantation in vivo. In this study, we developed a polymer nanovehicle for morphogen sustained release to overcome the drawbacks of conventional methods to realize the long-term directed NSC differentiation in vivo. Moreover, we constructed a bicistronic vector with a unique neuron specific gene tubb3 promoter to drive reporter gene expression for real-time imaging of NSC differentiation and migration. The developed uniform nanovehicle showed efficient NSC uptake and achieved a controlled release of morphogen in cytosol to consistently stimulate NSC differentiation into neurons at a sustainably effective concentration. The spatiotemporal imaging results showed a multiplexed migration, proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis orchestra of transplanted NSCs regulated by nanovehicles in TBI mice. The imaging results also uncovered the peak time of NSC differentiation in vivo. Although we observed only a handful of NSCs ultimately migrated to the TBI area and differentiated into neurons, those neurons were functional, ameliorating the detrimental impact of TBI. The imaging findings enabled by the nanovehicle and the neuron specific bicistronic vector provide additional understanding of the in vivo behaviors of transplanted NSCs in neuronal regenerative medicine.
Project description:Objective:To judge the efficacies of neural stem cell (NSC) transplantation on functional recovery following contusion spinal cord injuries (SCIs). Data sources:Studies in which NSCs were transplanted into a clinically relevant, standardized rat model of contusion SCI were identified by searching the PubMed, Embase and Cochrane databases, and the extracted data were analyzed by Stata 14.0. Data selection:Inclusion criteria were that NSCs were used in in vivo animal studies to treat contusion SCIs and that behavioral assessment of locomotor functional recovery was performed using the Basso, Beattie, and Bresnahan lo-comotor rating scale. Exclusion criteria included a follow-up of less than 4 weeks and the lack of control groups. Outcome measures:The restoration of motor function was assessed by the Basso, Beattie, and Bresnahan locomotor rating scale. Results:We identified 1756 non-duplicated papers by searching the aforementioned electronic databases, and 30 full-text articles met the inclusion criteria. A total of 37 studies reported in the 30 articles were included in the meta-analysis. The meta-analysis results showed that transplanted NSCs could improve the motor function recovery of rats following contusion SCIs, to a moderate extent (pooled standardized mean difference (SMD) = 0.73; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.47-1.00; P < 0.001). NSCs obtained from different donor species (rat: SMD = 0.74; 95% CI: 0.36-1.13; human: SMD = 0.78; 95% CI: 0.31-1.25), at different donor ages (fetal: SMD = 0.67; 95% CI: 0.43-0.92; adult: SMD = 0.86; 95% CI: 0.50-1.22) and from different origins (brain-derived: SMD = 0.59; 95% CI: 0.27-0.91; spinal cord-derived: SMD = 0.51; 95% CI: 0.22-0.79) had similar efficacies on improved functional recovery; however, adult induced pluripotent stem cell-derived NSCs showed no significant efficacies. Furthermore, the use of higher doses of transplanted NSCs or the administration of immunosuppressive agents did not promote better locomotor function recovery (SMD = 0.45; 95% CI: 0.21-0.70). However, shorter periods between the contusion induction and the NSC transplantation showed slightly higher efficacies (acute: SMD = 1.22; 95% CI: 0.81-1.63; subacute: SMD = 0.75; 95% CI: 0.42-1.09). For chronic injuries, NSC implantation did not significantly improve functional recovery (SMD = 0.25; 95% CI: -0.16 to 0.65). Conclusion:NSC transplantation alone appears to be a positive yet limited method for the treatment of contusion SCIs.
Project description:The transplantation of neural stem cells (NSCs) offers a new potential therapeutic approach as a cell-based delivery system for gene therapy in brain tumors. This is based on the unique capacity of NSCs to migrate throughout the brain and to target invading tumor cells. However, the signals controlling the targeted migration of transplanted NSCs are poorly defined. We analyzed the in vitro and in vivo effects of angiogenic growth factors and protein extracts from surgical specimens of brain tumor patients on NSC migration. Here, we demonstrate that vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is able to induce a long-range attraction of transplanted human NSCs from distant sites in the adult brain. Our results indicate that tumor-upregulated VEGF and angiogenic-activated microvasculature are relevant guidance signals for NSC tropism toward brain tumors.
Project description:Radiation therapy is an indispensable therapeutic modality for various brain diseases. Though endogenous neural stem cells (NSCs) would provide regenerative potential, many patients nevertheless suffer from radiation-induced brain damage. Accordingly, we tested beneficial effects of exogenous NSC supplementation using in vivo mouse models that received whole brain irradiation. Systemic supplementation of primarily cultured mouse fetal NSCs inhibited radiation-induced brain atrophy and thereby preserved brain functions such as short-term memory. Transplanted NSCs migrated to the irradiated brain and differentiated into neurons, astrocytes, or oligodendrocytes. In addition, neurotrophic factors such as NGF were significantly increased in the brain by NSCs, indicating that both paracrine and replacement effects could be the therapeutic mechanisms of NSCs. Interestingly, NSCs also differentiated into brain endothelial cells, which was accompanied by the restoration the cerebral blood flow that was reduced from the irradiation. Inhibition of the VEGF signaling reduced the migration and trans-differentiation of NSCs. Therefore, trans-differentiation of NSCs into brain endothelial cells by the VEGF signaling and the consequential restoration of the cerebral blood flow would also be one of the therapeutic mechanisms of NSCs. In summary, our data demonstrate that exogenous NSC supplementation could prevent radiation-induced functional loss of the brain. Therefore, successful combination of brain radiation therapy and NSC supplementation would provide a highly promising therapeutic option for patients with various brain diseases.
Project description:Neural stem cell (NSC) transplantation is a major focus of current research for treatment of spinal cord injury (SCI). However, it is very important to promote the survival and differentiation of NSCs into myelinating oligodendrocytes (OLs). In this study, myelin basic protein-activated T (MBP-T) cells were passively immunized to improve the SCI microenvironment. Olig2-overexpressing NSCs were infected with a lentivirus carrying the enhanced green fluorescent protein (GFP) reporter gene to generate Olig2-GFP-NSCs that were transplanted into the injured site to differentiate into OLs. Transferred MBP-T cells infiltrated the injured spinal cord, produced neurotrophic factors, and induced the differentiation of resident microglia and/or infiltrating blood monocytes into an "alternatively activated" anti-inflammatory macrophage phenotype by producing interleukin-13. As a result, the survival of transplanted NSCs increased fivefold in MBP-T cell-transferred rats compared with that of the vehicle-treated control. In addition, the differentiation of MBP-positive OLs increased 12-fold in Olig2-GFP-NSC-transplanted rats compared with that of GFP-NSC-transplanted controls. In the MBP-T cell and Olig2-GFP-NSC combined group, the number of OL-remyelinated axons significantly increased compared with those of all other groups. However, a significant decrease in spinal cord lesion volume and an increase in spared myelin and behavioral recovery were observed in Olig2-NSC- and NSC-transplanted MBP-T cell groups. Collectively, these results suggest that MBP-T cell adoptive immunotherapy combined with NSC transplantation has a synergistic effect on histological and behavioral improvement after traumatic SCI. Although Olig2 overexpression enhances OL differentiation and myelination, the effect on functional recovery may be surpassed by MBP-T cells.
Project description:Neural stem cells (NSCs) delivered intraventricularly may be therapeutic for diffuse white matter pathology after traumatic brain injury (TBI). To test this concept, NSCs isolated from adult mouse subventricular zone (SVZ) were transplanted into the lateral ventricle of adult mice at two weeks post-TBI followed by analysis at four weeks post-TBI. We examined sonic hedgehog (Shh) signaling as a candidate mechanism by which transplanted NSCs may regulate neuroregeneration and/or neuroinflammation responses of endogenous cells. Mouse fluorescent reporter lines were generated to enable in vivo genetic labeling of cells actively transcribing Shh or Gli1 after transplantation and/or TBI. Gli1 transcription is an effective readout for canonical Shh signaling. In ShhCreERT2;R26tdTomato mice, Shh was primarily expressed in neurons and was not upregulated in reactive astrocytes or microglia after TBI. Corroborating results in Gli1CreERT2;R26tdTomato mice demonstrated that Shh signaling was not upregulated in the corpus callosum, even after TBI or NSC transplantation. Transplanted NSCs expressed Shh in vivo but did not increase Gli1 labeling of host SVZ cells. Importantly, NSC transplantation significantly reduced reactive astrogliosis and microglial/macrophage activation in the corpus callosum after TBI. Therefore, intraventricular NSC transplantation after TBI significantly attenuated neuroinflammation, but did not activate host Shh signaling via Gli1 transcription.