A scalable solution for isolating human multipotent clinical-grade neural stem cells from ES precursors.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:A well-characterized method has not yet been established to reproducibly, efficiently, and safely isolate large numbers of clinical-grade multipotent human neural stem cells (hNSCs) from embryonic stem cells (hESCs). Consequently, the transplantation of neurogenic/gliogenic precursors into the CNS for the purpose of cell replacement or neuroprotection in humans with injury or disease has not achieved widespread testing and implementation. METHODS:Here, we establish an approach for the in vitro isolation of a highly expandable population of hNSCs using the manual selection of neural precursors based on their colony morphology (CoMo-NSC). The purity and NSC properties of established and extensively expanded CoMo-NSC were validated by expression of NSC markers (flow cytometry, mRNA sequencing), lack of pluripotent markers and by their tumorigenic/differentiation profile after in vivo spinal grafting in three different animal models, including (i) immunodeficient rats, (ii) immunosuppressed ALS rats (SOD1G93A), or (iii) spinally injured immunosuppressed minipigs. RESULTS:In vitro analysis of established CoMo-NSCs showed a consistent expression of NSC markers (Sox1, Sox2, Nestin, CD24) with lack of pluripotent markers (Nanog) and stable karyotype for more than 15 passages. Gene profiling and histology revealed that spinally grafted CoMo-NSCs differentiate into neurons, astrocytes, and oligodendrocytes over a 2-6-month period in vivo without forming neoplastic derivatives or abnormal structures. Moreover, transplanted CoMo-NSCs formed neurons with synaptic contacts and glia in a variety of host environments including immunodeficient rats, immunosuppressed ALS rats (SOD1G93A), or spinally injured minipigs, indicating these cells have favorable safety and differentiation characteristics. CONCLUSIONS:These data demonstrate that manually selected CoMo-NSCs represent a safe and expandable NSC population which can effectively be used in prospective human clinical cell replacement trials for the treatment of a variety of neurodegenerative disorders, including ALS, stroke, spinal traumatic, or spinal ischemic injury.
Project description:In the adult brain, neural stem cells (NSC) must migrate to express their neuroplastic potential. The addition of recombinant reelin to human NSC (HNSC) cultures facilitates neuronal retraction in the neurospheroid. Because we detected reelin, alpha3-integrin receptor subunits, and disabled-1 immunoreactivity in HNSC cultures, it is possible that integrin-mediated reelin signal transduction is operative in these cultures. To investigate whether reelin is important in the regulation of NSC migration, we injected HNSCs into the lateral ventricle of null reeler and wild-type mice. Four weeks after transplantation, we detected symmetrical migration and extensive neuronal and glial differentiation of transplanted HNSCs in wild-type, but not in reeler mice. In reeler mice, most of the injected HNSCs failed to migrate or to display the typical differentiation pattern. However, a subpopulation of transplanted HNSCs expressing reelin did show a pattern of chain migration in the reeler mouse cortex. We also analyzed the endogenous NSC population in the reeler mouse using bromodeoxyuridine injections. In reeler mice, the endogenous NSC population in the hippocampus and olfactory bulb was significantly reduced compared with wild-type mice; in contrast, endogenous NSCs expressed in the subventricular zonewere preserved. Hence, it seems likely that the lack of endogenous reelin may have disrupted the migration of the NSCs that had proliferated in the SVZ. We suggest that a possible inhibition of NSC migration in psychiatric patients with a reelin deficit may be a potential problem in successful NSC transplantation in these patients.
Project description:Neural stem cells (NSCs) are characterized by a capacity for self-renewal, differentiation into multiple neural lineages, all of which are considered to be promising components for neural regeneration. However, for cell-replacement therapies, it is essential to monitor the process of in vitro NSC differentiation and identify differentiated cell phenotypes. We report a real-time and label-free method that uses a capacitance sensor array to monitor the differentiation of human fetal brain-derived NSCs (hNSCs) and to identify the fates of differentiated cells. When hNSCs were placed under proliferation or differentiation conditions in five media, proliferating and differentiating hNSCs exhibited different frequency and time dependences of capacitance, indicating that the proliferation and differentiation status of hNSCs may be discriminated in real-time using our capacitance sensor. In addition, comparison between real-time capacitance and time-lapse optical images revealed that neuronal and astroglial differentiation of hNSCs may be identified in real-time without cell labeling.
Project description:Neural precursor cells (NSCs) hold great potential to treat a variety of neurodegenerative diseases and injuries to the spinal cord. However, current delivery techniques require an invasive approach in which an injection needle is advanced into the spinal parenchyma to deliver cells of interest. As such, this approach is associated with an inherent risk of spinal injury, as well as a limited delivery of cells into multiple spinal segments. Here, we characterize the use of a novel cell delivery technique that employs single bolus cell injections into the spinal subpial space. In immunodeficient rats, two subpial injections of human NSCs were performed in the cervical and lumbar spinal cord, respectively. The survival, distribution, and phenotype of transplanted cells were assessed 6-8 months after injection. Immunofluorescence staining and mRNA sequencing analysis demonstrated a near-complete occupation of the spinal cord by injected cells, in which transplanted human NSCs (hNSCs) preferentially acquired glial phenotypes, expressing oligodendrocyte (Olig2, APC) or astrocyte (GFAP) markers. In the outermost layer of the spinal cord, injected hNSCs differentiated into glia limitans-forming astrocytes and expressed human-specific superoxide dismutase and laminin. All animals showed normal neurological function for the duration of the analysis. These data show that the subpial cell delivery technique is highly effective in populating the entire spinal cord with injected NSCs, and has a potential for clinical use in cell replacement therapies for the treatment of ALS, multiple sclerosis, or spinal cord injury.
Project description:Therapeutic impact of neural stem cells (NSCs) for acute spinal cord injury (SCI) has been limited by the rapid loss of donor cells. Neuroinflammation is likely the cause. As there are close temporal-spatial correlations between the inducible nitric oxide (NO) synthase expression and the donor NSC death after neurotrauma, we reasoned that NO-associated radical species might be the inflammatory effectors which eliminate NSC grafts and kill host neurons. To test this hypothesis, human NSCs (hNSCs: 5 x 10(4) to 2 x 10(6) per milliliter) were treated in vitro with "plain" medium, 20 microM glutamate, or donors of NO and peroxynitrite (ONOO(-); 100 and 400 microM of spermine or DETA NONOate, and SIN-1, respectively). hNSC apoptosis primarily resulted from SIN-1 treatment, showing ONOO(-)-triggered protein nitration and the activation of p38 MAPK, cytochrome c release, and caspases. Therefore, cell death following post-SCI (p.i.) NO surge may be mediated through conversion of NO into ONOO(-). We subsequently examined such causal relationship in a rat model of dual penetrating SCI using a retrievable design of poly-lactic-co-glycolic acid (PLGA) scaffold seeded with hNSCs that was shielded by drug-releasing polymer. Besides confirming the ONOO(-)-induced cell death signaling, we demonstrated that cotransplantation of PLGA film embedded with ONOO(-) scavenger, manganese (III) tetrakis (4-benzoic acid) porphyrin, or uric acid (1 micromol per film), markedly protected hNSCs 24 hours p.i. (total: n = 10). Our findings may provide a bioengineering approach for investigating mechanisms underlying the host microenvironment and donor NSC interaction and help formulate strategies for enhancing graft and host cell survival after SCI.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Mutation in the ubiquitously expressed cytoplasmic superoxide dismutase (SOD1) causes an inherited form of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Mutant synthesis in motor neurons drives disease onset and early disease progression. Previous experimental studies have shown that spinal grafting of human fetal spinal neural stem cells (hNSCs) into the lumbar spinal cord of SOD1(G93A) rats leads to a moderate therapeutical effect as evidenced by local ?-motoneuron sparing and extension of lifespan. The aim of the present study was to analyze the degree of therapeutical effect of hNSCs once grafted into the lumbar spinal ventral horn in presymptomatic immunosuppressed SOD1(G93A) rats and to assess the presence and functional integrity of the descending motor system in symptomatic SOD1(G93A) animals.<h4>Methods/principal findings</h4>Presymptomatic SOD1(G93A) rats (60-65 days old) received spinal lumbar injections of hNSCs. After cell grafting, disease onset, disease progression and lifespan were analyzed. In separate symptomatic SOD1(G93A) rats, the presence and functional conductivity of descending motor tracts (corticospinal and rubrospinal) was analyzed by spinal surface recording electrodes after electrical stimulation of the motor cortex. Silver impregnation of lumbar spinal cord sections and descending motor axon counting in plastic spinal cord sections were used to validate morphologically the integrity of descending motor tracts. Grafting of hNSCs into the lumbar spinal cord of SOD1(G93A) rats protected ?-motoneurons in the vicinity of grafted cells, provided transient functional improvement, but offered no protection to ?-motoneuron pools distant from grafted lumbar segments. Analysis of motor-evoked potentials recorded from the thoracic spinal cord of symptomatic SOD1(G93A) rats showed a near complete loss of descending motor tract conduction, corresponding to a significant (50-65%) loss of large caliber descending motor axons.<h4>Conclusions/significance</h4>These data demonstrate that in order to achieve a more clinically-adequate treatment, cell-replacement/gene therapy strategies will likely require both spinal and supraspinal targets.
Project description:Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease characterized by the death of upper and lower motor neurons. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are reported to be closely related to the development of ALS. However, the precise functions of miRNAs in the pathogenesis of ALS remain largely unknown. In previous studies, we determined that miRNA-193b-3p was significantly downregulated in patients with sporadic ALS (sALS). Here, we observed that miRNA-193b-3p was downregulated in the SOD1G93A mouse model of ALS and promoted cell death in NSC-34 cells. We further found that miR-193b-3p directly targeted tuberous sclerosis 1 (TSC1) to regulate mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) activity. Downregulation of miR-193b-3p led to TSC1 increase accompanied with mTORC1 inactivation, and vice versa. Moreover, downregulation of miR-193b-3p promoted protective autophagy and cell survival in NSC-34 cells. In contrast, upregulation of miR-193b-3p activated mTORC1 signaling, leading to inhibition of autophagy and promotion of cell death. Taken together, our study suggests that downregulation of miR-193b-3p is required for cell survival by targeting TSC1/mTOR signaling in NSC-34 cells and provides a novel target for improving the clinical therapy of ALS.
Project description:Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurological disease characterized by the degeneration of motor neurons. Currently, there is no effective therapy for ALS. Stem cell transplantation is a potential therapeutic strategy for ALS, and the reprogramming of adult somatic cells into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) represents a novel cell source. In this study, we isolated a specific neural stem cell (NSC) population from human iPSCs based on high aldehyde dehydrogenase activity, low side scatter and integrin VLA4 positivity. We assessed the therapeutic effects of these NSCs on the phenotype of ALS mice after intrathecal or intravenous injections. Transplanted NSCs migrated and engrafted into the central nervous system via both routes of injection. Compared with control ALS, treated ALS mice exhibited improved neuromuscular function and motor unit pathology and significantly increased life span, in particular with the systemic administration of NSCs (15%). These positive effects are linked to multiple mechanisms, including production of neurotrophic factors and reduction of micro- and macrogliosis. NSCs induced a decrease in astrocyte number through the activation of the vanilloid receptor TRPV1. We conclude that minimally invasive injections of iPSC-derived NSCs can exert a therapeutic effect in ALS. This study contributes to advancements in iPSC-mediated approaches for treating ALS and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Project description:Neural stem cells (NSCs) show therapeutic potential for ischemia in young-adult animals. However, the effect of aging on NSC therapy is largely unknown. In this work, NSCs were transplanted into aged (24-month-old) and young-adult (3-month-old) rats at 1 day after stroke. Infarct volume and neurobehavioral outcomes were examined. The number of differentiated NSCs was compared in aged and young-adult ischemic rats and angiogenesis and neurogenesis were also determined. We found that aged rats developed larger infarcts than young-adult rats after ischemia (P<0.05). The neurobehavioral outcome was also worse for aged rats comparing with young-adult rats. Brain infarction and neurologic deficits were attenuated after NSC transplantation in both aged and young-adult rats. The number of survived NSCs in aged rats was similar to that of the young-adult rats (P>0.05) and most of them were differentiated into glial fibrillary acidic protein(+) (GFAP(+)) cells. More importantly, angiogenesis and neurogenesis were greatly enhanced in both aged and young-adult rats after transplantation compared with phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) control (P<0.05), accompanied by increased expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Our results showed that NSC therapy reduced ischemic brain injury, along with increased angiogenesis and neurogenesis in aged rats, suggesting that aging-related microenvironment does not preclude a beneficial response to NSCs transplantation during cerebral ischemia.
Project description:Stem cells are emerging as a therapeutic option for incurable diseases, such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). However, critical issues are related to their origin as well as to the need to deepen our knowledge of the therapeutic actions exerted by these cells. Here, we investigate the therapeutic potential of clinical-grade human neural stem cells (hNSCs) that have been successfully used in a recently concluded phase I clinical trial for ALS patients (NCT01640067). The hNSCs were transplanted bilaterally into the anterior horns of the lumbar spinal cord (four grafts each, segments L3-L4) of superoxide dismutase 1 G93A transgenic rats (SOD1 rats) at the symptomatic stage. Controls included untreated SOD1 rats (CTRL) and those treated with HBSS (HBSS). Motor symptoms and histological hallmarks of the disease were evaluated at three progressive time points: 15 and 40 days after transplant (DAT), and end stage. Animals were treated by transient immunosuppression (for 15 days, starting at time of transplantation). Under these conditions, hNSCs integrated extensively within the cord, differentiated into neural phenotypes and migrated rostro-caudally, up to 3.77?±?0.63?cm from the injection site. The transplanted cells delayed decreases in body weight and deterioration of motor performance in the SOD1 rats. At 40DAT, the anterior horns at L3-L4 revealed a higher density of motoneurons and fewer activated astroglial and microglial cells. Accordingly, the overall survival of transplanted rats was significantly enhanced with no rejection of hNSCs observed. We demonstrated that the beneficial effects observed after stem cell transplantation arises from multiple events that counteract several aspects of the disease, a crucial feature for multifactorial diseases, such as ALS. The combination of therapeutic approaches that target different pathogenic mechanisms of the disorder, including pharmacology, molecular therapy and cell transplantation, will increase the chances of a clinically successful therapy for ALS.
Project description:Transplantation of human fetal neural stem cells (hNSCs) previously demonstrated significant functional recovery after spinal cord contusion in rats. Other studies indicated that human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) can home to areas of damage and cross the blood-brain barrier. The purpose of this article is to determine if combined administration of mesenchymal stem cells and neuronal stem cells improves functional outcomes in rats. The study design was a randomized controlled animal trial. Female adult Long-Evans hooded rats underwent laminectomy at T10 level. Moderate spinal cord contusion at T10 level was induced by the MASCIS Impactor. Four groups were identified. The MSC + NSC group received hMSCs intravenously (IV) immediately after spinal cord injury (acute) and returned 1 week later (subacute) for injection of hNSC directly at site of injury. The MSC-only group received hMSC IV acutely and cell media subacutely. The NSC-only group received cell media IV acutely and hNSC subacutely. The control group received cell media IV acutely and subacutely. Subjects were assessed for 6 weeks using Basso, Beattie, Bresnahan Locomotor Rating Score. Twenty-four subjects were utilized, six subjects in each group. Statistically significant functional improvement was seen in the MSC + NSC group and the NSC-only group versus controls (p = 0.027, 0.042, respectively). The MSC-only group did not demonstrate a significant improvement over control (p = 0.145). Comparing the MSC + NSC group and the NSC-only group, there was no significant difference (p = 0.357). Subacute transplantation of hNSCs into contused spinal cord of rats led to significant functional recovery when injected either with or without acute IV administration of hMSCs. Neither hMSCs nor addition of hMSC to hNSC resulted in significant improvement.