A Tppp3+Pdgfra+ tendon stem cell population contributes to regeneration and reveals a shared role for PDGF signalling in regeneration and fibrosis.
ABSTRACT: Tendon injuries cause prolonged disability and never recover completely. Current mechanistic understanding of tendon regeneration is limited. Here, we use single-cell transcriptomics to identify a tubulin polymerization-promoting protein family member 3-expressing (Tppp3+) cell population as potential tendon stem cells. Through inducible lineage tracing, we demonstrate that these cells can generate new tenocytes and self-renew upon injury. A fraction of Tppp3+ cells expresses platelet-derived growth factor receptor alpha (Pdfgra). Ectopic platelet-derived growth factor-AA (PDGF-AA) protein induces new tenocyte production while inactivation of Pdgfra in Tppp3+ cells blocks tendon regeneration. These results support Tppp3+Pdgfra+ cells as tendon stem cells. Unexpectedly, Tppp3-Pdgfra+ fibro-adipogenic progenitors coexist in the tendon stem cell niche and give rise to fibrotic cells, revealing a clandestine origin of fibrotic scars in healing tendons. Our results explain why fibrosis occurs in injured tendons and present clinical challenges to enhance tendon regeneration without a concurrent increase in fibrosis by PDGF application.
Project description:Tendon injuries are common with poor healing potential. The paucity of therapies for tendon injuries is due to our limited understanding of the cells and molecular pathways that drive tendon regeneration. Using a mouse model of neonatal tendon regeneration, we identified TGF? signaling as a major molecular pathway that drives neonatal tendon regeneration. Through targeted gene deletion, small molecule inhibition, and lineage tracing, we elucidated TGF?-dependent and TGF?-independent mechanisms underlying tendon regeneration. Importantly, functional recovery depended on canonical TGF? signaling and loss of function is due to impaired tenogenic cell recruitment from both Scleraxis-lineage and non-Scleraxis-lineage sources. We show that TGF? signaling is directly required in neonatal tenocytes for recruitment and that TGF? ligand is positively regulated in tendons. Collectively, these results show a functional role for canonical TGF? signaling in tendon regeneration and offer new insights toward the divergent cellular activities that distinguish regenerative vs fibrotic healing.
Project description:Current stem cell-based strategies for tissue regeneration involve ex vivo manipulation of these cells to confer features of the desired progenitor population. Recently, the concept that endogenous stem/progenitor cells could be used for regenerating tissues has emerged as a promising approach that potentially overcomes the obstacles related to cell transplantation. Here we applied this strategy for the regeneration of injured tendons in a rat model. First, we identified a rare fraction of tendon cells that was positive for the known tendon stem cell marker CD146 and exhibited clonogenic capacity, as well as multilineage differentiation ability. These tendon-resident CD146+ stem/progenitor cells were selectively enriched by connective tissue growth factor delivery (CTGF delivery) in the early phase of tendon healing, followed by tenogenic differentiation in the later phase. The time-controlled proliferation and differentiation of CD146+ stem/progenitor cells by CTGF delivery successfully led to tendon regeneration with densely aligned collagen fibers, normal level of cellularity, and functional restoration. Using siRNA knockdown to evaluate factors involved in tendon generation, we demonstrated that the FAK/ERK1/2 signaling pathway regulates CTGF-induced proliferation and differentiation of CD146+ stem/progenitor cells. Together, our findings support the use of endogenous stem/progenitor cells as a strategy for tendon regeneration without cell transplantation and suggest this approach warrants exploration in other tissues.
Project description:Tendons are dense fibrous structures that attach muscles to bones. Healing of tendon injuries is a clinical challenge owing to poor regenerative potential and scarring. Here, we created reporter mice that express EGFP, driven by the promoter of the tendon-specific Scleraxis (Scx) transcription-factor gene; we then generated induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from these mice. Utilising these fluorescently labelled iPSCs, we developed a tenogenic differentiation protocol. The iPSC-derived EGFP-positive cells exhibited elevated expression of tendon-specific genes, including Scx, Mohawk, Tenomodulin, and Fibromodulin, indicating that they have tenocyte-like properties. Finally, we demonstrated that these cells promoted tendon regeneration in mice after transplantation into injured tendons reducing scar formation via paracrine effect. Our data demonstrate that the tenogenic differentiation protocol successfully provided functional cells from iPSCs. We propose that pluripotent stem cell-based therapy using this protocol will provide an effective therapeutic approach for tendon injuries.
Project description:Tendon injuries disrupt the balance between stability and mobility, causing compromised functions and disabilities. The regeneration of mature, functional tendons remains a clinical challenge. Here, we perform transcriptional profiling of tendon developmental processes to show that the extracellular matrix-associated protein periostin (Postn) contributes to the maintenance of tendon stem/progenitor cell (TSPC) functions and promotes tendon regeneration. We show that recombinant periostin (rPOSTN) promotes the proliferation and stemness of TSPCs, and maintains the tenogenic potentials of TSPCs in vitro. We also find that rPOSTN protects TSPCs against functional impairment during long-term passage in vitro. For in vivo tendon formation, we construct a biomimetic parallel-aligned collagen scaffold to facilitate TSPC tenogenesis. Using a rat full-cut Achilles tendon defect model, we demonstrate that scaffolds loaded with rPOSTN promote endogenous TSPC recruitment, tendon regeneration and repair with native-like hierarchically organized collagen fibers. Moreover, newly regenerated tendons show recovery of mechanical properties and locomotion functions.
Project description:Tendon injuries are often associated with significant dysfunction and disability due to tendinous tissue's very limited self-repair capacity and propensity for scar formation. Dental-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in combination with appropriate scaffold material present an alternative therapeutic option for tendon repair/regeneration that may be advantageous compared to other current treatment modalities. The MSC delivery vehicle is the principal determinant for successful implementation of MSC-mediated regenerative therapies. In the current study, a co-delivery system based on TGF-?3-loaded RGD-coupled alginate microspheres was developed for encapsulating periodontal ligament stem cells (PDLSCs) or gingival mesenchymal stem cells (GMSCs). The capacity of encapsulated dental MSCs to differentiate into tendon tissue was investigated in vitro and in vivo. Encapsulated dental-derived MSCs were transplanted subcutaneously into immunocompromised mice. Our results revealed that after 4 weeks of differentiation in vitro, PDLSCs and GMSCs as well as the positive control human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (hBMMSCs) exhibited high levels of mRNA expression for gene markers related to tendon regeneration (Scx, DCn, Tnmd, and Bgy) via qPCR measurement. In a corresponding in vivo animal model, ectopic neo-tendon regeneration was observed in subcutaneous transplanted MSC-alginate constructs, as confirmed by histological and immunohistochemical staining for protein markers specific for tendons. Interestingly, in our quantitative PCR and in vivo histomorphometric analyses, PDLSCs showed significantly greater capacity for tendon regeneration than GMSCs or hBMMSCs (P < 0.05). Altogether, these findings indicate that periodontal ligament and gingival tissues can be considered as suitable stem cell sources for tendon engineering. PDLSCs and GMSCs encapsulated in TGF-?3-loaded RGD-modified alginate microspheres are promising candidates for tendon regeneration.
Project description:Injured adult tendons do not exhibit optimal healing through a regenerative process, whereas fetal tendons can heal in a regenerative fashion without scar formation. Hence, we compared FFs (mouse fetal fibroblasts) and AFs (mouse adult fibroblasts) as seed cells for the fabrication of scaffold-free engineered tendons. Our results demonstrated that FFs had more potential for tendon tissue engineering, as shown by higher levels of tendon-related gene expression. In the in situ AT injury model, the FFs group also demonstrated much better structural and functional properties after healing, with higher levels of collagen deposition and better microstructure repair. Moreover, fetal fibroblasts could increase the recruitment of fibroblast-like cells and reduce the infiltration of inflammatory cells to the injury site during the regeneration process. Our results suggest that the underlying mechanisms of better regeneration with FFs should be elucidated and be used to enhance adult tendon healing. This may assist in the development of future strategies to treat tendon injuries.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Tendon stem/progenitor cells (TSPC) exhibit a low proliferative response to heal tendon injury, leading to limited regeneration outcomes. Exogenous growth factors that activate TSPC proliferation have emerged as a promising approach for treatment. Here, we evaluated the pigment epithelial-derived factor (PEDF)-derived short peptide (PSP; 29-mer) for treating acute tendon injury and to determine the timing and anatomical features of CD146- and necleostemin-positive TSPC in the tendon healing process. METHODS:Tendon cells were isolated from rabbit Achilles tendons, stimulated by the 29-mer and analyzed for colony-forming capacity. The expression of the TSPC markers CD146, Oct4, and nestin, induced by the 29-mer, was examined by immunostaining and western blotting. Tendo-Achilles injury was induced in rats by full-thickness insertion of an 18-G needle and immediately treated topically with an alginate gel, loaded with 29-mer. The distribution of TSPC in the injured tendon and their proliferation were monitored using immunohistochemistry with antibodies to CD146 and nucleostemin and by BrdU labeling. RESULTS:TSPC markers were enriched among the primary tendon cells when stimulated by the 29-mer. The 29-mer also induced the clonogenicity of CD146+ TSPC, implying TSPC stemness was retained during TSPC expansion in culture. Correspondingly, the expanded TSPC differentiated readily into tenocyte-like cells after removal of the 29-mer from culture. 29-mer/alginate gel treatment caused extensive expansion of CD146+ TSPC in their niche on postoperative day 2, followed by infiltration of CD146+/BrdU- TSPC into the injured tendon on day 7. The nucleostemin+ TSPC were located predominantly in the healing region of the injured tendon in the later phase (day 7) and exhibited proliferative capacity. By 3?weeks, 29-mer-treated tendons showed more organized collagen fiber regeneration and higher tensile strength than control tendons. In culture, the mitogenic effect of the 29-mer was found to be mediated by the phosphorylation of ERK2 and STAT3 in nucleostemin+ TSPC. CONCLUSIONS:The anatomical analysis of TSPC populations in the wound healing process supports the hypothesis that substantial expansion of resident TSPC by exogenous growth factor is beneficial for tendon healing. The study suggests that synthetic 29-mer peptide may be an innovative therapy for acute tendon rupture.
Project description:Axon regeneration, fundamental to nerve repair, and functional recovery, relies on rapid changes in gene expression attributable to microRNA (miRNA) regulation. MiR-133b has been proved to play an important role in different organ regeneration in zebrafish, but its role in regulating axon regeneration in vivo is still controversial. Here, combining single-cell electroporation with a vector-based miRNA-expression system, we have modulated the expression of miR-133b in Mauthner-cells (M-cells) at the single-cell level in zebrafish. Through in vivo imaging, we show that overexpression of miR-133b inhibits axon regeneration, whereas down-regulation of miR-133b, promotes axon outgrowth. We further show that miR-133b regulates axon regeneration by directly targeting a novel regeneration-associated gene, tppp3, which belongs to Tubulin polymerization-promoting protein family. Gain or loss-of-function of tppp3 experiments indicated that tppp3 was a novel gene that could promote axon regeneration. In addition, we observed a reduction of mitochondrial motility, which have been identified to have a positive correlation with axon regeneration, in miR-133b overexpressed M-cells. Taken together, our work provides a novel way to study the role of miRNAs in individual cell and establishes a critical cell autonomous role of miR-133b in zebrafish M-cell axon regeneration. We propose that up-regulation of the newly founded regeneration-associated gene tppp3 may enhance axonal regeneration.
Project description:Current treatments for tendon injuries often fail to fully restore joint biomechanics leading to the recurrence of symptoms, and thus resulting in a significant health problem with a relevant social impact worldwide. Cell-based approaches involving the use of stem cells might enable tailoring a successful tendon regeneration outcome. As growth factors (GFs) powerfully regulate the cell biological response, their exogenous addition can further stimulate stem cells into the tenogenic lineage, which might eventually depend on stem cells source. In the present study we investigate the tenogenic differentiation potential of human- amniotic fluid stem cells (hAFSCs) and adipose-derived stem cells (hASCs) with several GFs associated to tendon development and healing; namely, EGF, bFGF, PDGF-BB and TGF-?1. Stem cells response to biochemical stimuli was studied by screening of tendon-related genes (collagen type I, III, decorin, tenascin C and scleraxis) and proteins found in tendon extracellular matrix (ECM) (Collagen I, III, and Tenascin C). Despite the fact that GFs did not seem to influence the synthesis of tendon ECM proteins, EGF and bFGF influenced the expression of tendon-related genes in hAFSCs, while EGF and PDGF-BB stimulated the genetic expression in hASCs. Overall results on cellular alignment morphology, immunolocalization and PCR analysis indicated that both stem cell source can be biochemically induced towards tenogenic commitment, validating the potential of hASCs and hAFSCs for tendon regeneration strategies.