Controlling properties of human neural progenitor cells using 2D and 3D conductive polymer scaffolds.
ABSTRACT: Human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived neural progenitor cells (hNPCs) are a promising cell source for stem cell transplantation to treat neurological diseases such as stroke and peripheral nerve injuries. However, there have been limited studies investigating how the dimensionality of the physical and electrical microenvironment affects hNPC function. In this study, we report the fabrication of two- and three-dimensional (2D and 3D respectively) constructs composed of a conductive polymer to compare the effect of electrical stimulation of hydrogel-immobilized hNPCs. The physical dimension (2D vs 3D) of stimulating platforms alone changed the hNPCs gene expression related to cell proliferation and metabolic pathways. The addition of electrical stimulation was critical in upregulating gene expression of neurotrophic factors that are important in regulating cell survival, synaptic remodeling, and nerve regeneration. This study demonstrates that the applied electrical field controls hNPC properties depending on the physical nature of stimulating platforms and cellular metabolic states. The ability to control hNPC functions can be beneficial in understanding mechanistic changes related to electrical modulation and devising novel treatment methods for neurological diseases.
Project description:Exogenous human neural progenitor cells (hNPCs) are promising stroke therapeutics, but optimal delivery conditions and exact recovery mechanisms remain elusive. To further elucidate repair processes and improve stroke outcomes, we developed an electrically conductive, polymer scaffold for hNPC delivery. Electrical stimulation of hNPCs alters their transcriptome including changes to the VEGF-A pathway and genes involved in cell survival, inflammatory response, and synaptic remodeling. In our experiments, exogenous hNPCs were electrically stimulated (electrically preconditioned) via the scaffold 1 day prior to implantation. After in vitro stimulation, hNPCs on the scaffold are transplanted intracranially in a distal middle cerebral artery occlusion rat model. Electrically preconditioned hNPCs improved functional outcomes compared to unstimulated hNPCs or hNPCs where VEGF-A was blocked during in vitro electrical preconditioning. The ability to manipulate hNPCs via a conductive scaffold creates a new approach to optimize stem cell-based therapy and determine which factors (such as VEGF-A) are essential for stroke recovery.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Stem cell expansion and differentiation is the foundation of emerging cell therapy technologies. The potential applications of human neural progenitor cells (hNPCs) are wide ranging, but a normal cytogenetic profile is important to avoid the risk of tumor formation in clinical trials. FDA approved clinical trials are being planned and conducted for hNPC transplantation into the brain or spinal cord for various neurodegenerative disorders. Although human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) are known to show recurrent chromosomal abnormalities involving 12 and 17, no studies have revealed chromosomal abnormalities in cultured hNPCs. Therefore, we investigated frequently occurring chromosomal abnormalities in 21 independent fetal-derived hNPC lines and the possible mechanisms triggering such aberrations. METHODS AND FINDINGS:While most hNPC lines were karyotypically normal, G-band karyotyping and fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) analyses revealed the emergence of trisomy 7 (hNPC(+7)) and trisomy 19 (hNPC(+19)), in 24% and 5% of the lines, respectively. Once detected, subsequent passaging revealed emerging dominance of trisomy hNPCs. DNA microarray and immunoblotting analyses demonstrate epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) overexpression in hNPC(+7) and hNPC(+19) cells. We observed greater levels of telomerase (hTERT), increased proliferation (Ki67), survival (TUNEL), and neurogenesis (beta(III)-tubulin) in hNPC(+7) and hNPC(+19), using respective immunocytochemical markers. However, the trisomy lines underwent replicative senescence after 50-60 population doublings and never showed neoplastic changes. Although hNPC(+7) and hNPC(+19) survived better after xenotransplantation into the rat striatum, they did not form malignant tumors. Finally, EGF deprivation triggered a selection of trisomy 7 cells in a diploid hNPC line. CONCLUSIONS:We report that hNPCs are susceptible to accumulation of chromosome 7 and 19 trisomy in long-term cell culture. These results suggest that micro-environmental cues are powerful factors in the selection of specific hNPC aneuploidies, with trisomy of chromosome 7 being the most common. Given that a number of stem cell based clinical trials are being conducted or planned in USA and a recent report in PLoS Medicine showing the dangers of grafting an inordinate number of cells, these data substantiate the need for careful cytogenetic evaluation of hNPCs (fetal or hESC-derived) before their use in clinical or basic science applications.
Project description:Retinal degenerative diseases lead to blindness with few treatments. Various cell-based therapies are aimed to slow the progression of vision loss by preserving light-sensing photoreceptor cells. A subretinal injection of human neural progenitor cells (hNPCs) into the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) rat model of retinal degeneration has aided in photoreceptor survival, though the mechanisms are mainly unknown. Identifying the retinal proteomic changes that occur following hNPC treatment leads to better understanding of neuroprotection. To mimic the retinal environment following hNPC injection, a co-culture system of retinas and hNPCs is developed. Less cell death occurs in RCS retinal tissue co-cultured with hNPCs than in retinas cultured alone, suggesting that hNPCs provide retinal protection in vitro. Comparison of ex vivo and in vivo retinas identifies nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2 (NRF2) mediated oxidative response signaling as an hNPC-induced pathway. This is the first study to compare proteomic changes following treatment with hNPCs in both an ex vivo and in vivo environment, further allowing the use of ex vivo modeling for mechanisms of retinal preservation. Elucidation of the protein changes in the retina following hNPC treatment may lead to the discovery of mechanisms of photoreceptor survival and its therapeutic for clinical applications.
Project description:HIV type-1 (HIV-1) causes a spectrum of central nervous system (CNS) complications; many are worsened by opiate co-exposure. Human neural progenitor cells (hNPCs) give rise to all CNS neurons and macroglia. We tested the hypothesis that hNPC maturation and fate are altered by HIV and opiates, contributing to HIV-1-related neuropathology. Reports of hNPC infection remain controversial. We rigorously examined this question, testing whether hNPCs propogated infection, and whether HIV affected hNPCs absent their infection.Primary hNPCs were characterized over multiple passages. Following R5 HIV-1BaL exposure, p24, Nef, and tat assays monitored infection; a serial dilution approach tested infection transfer to naive hNPCs. Bromodeoxyuridine uptake, population doubling time, and immunostaining assessed proliferation and differentiation. Morphine co-exposure assessed opiate interactions. Supernatant from HIV-1BaL-infected PBMCs (HIVsup), HIV-1BaL, and ultraviolet light-inactivated HIVsup were compared to test effects of inflammatory milieu versus virus or infection per se.The hNPCs (CD4/CD8/Iba/CXC3CL1/CD11b) were infectable and could transfer infection to naive hNPCs. Infection was partly blocked by maraviroc, implicating CCR5. HIVsup reduced hNPC proliferation and caused premature differentiation into neurons/astroglia. Effects on proliferation were due to soluble factors/viral proteins, not infection per se. Morphine co-exposure exacerbated certain functional consequences of HIVsup, and sustained the infection of hNPCs.hNPCs can be infected and propagate virus in vitro. hNPCs or their progeny may represent an underappreciated viral reservoir. Factors from infected cells alter hNPC proliferation and neural cell maturation, which likely compromises CNS structure and function. Morphine-HIV interactions may worsen dysfunction and sustain infection.
Project description:We report on the diagnostic capability of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-based tracking of ferumoxytol-labeled human neural progenitor cells (hNPCs) transplanted into the porcine spinal cord. hNPCs prelabeled with two doses of ferumoxytol nanoparticles (hNPC-FLow and hNPC-FHigh ) were injected into the ventral horn of the spinal cord in healthy minipigs. Ferumoxytol-labeled grafts were tracked in vivo up to 105 days after transplantation with MRI. Injection accuracy was assessed in vivo at day 14 and was predictive of "on" or "off" target cell graft location assessed by histology. No difference in long-term cell survival, assessed by quantitative stereology, was observed among hNPC-FLow , hNPC-FHigh , or control grafts. Histological iron colocalized with MRI signal and engrafted human nuclei. Furthermore, the ferumoxytol-labeled cells retained nanoparticles and function in vivo. This approach represents an important leap forward toward facilitating translation of cell-tracking technologies to clinical trials by providing a method of assessing transplantation accuracy, delivered dose, and potentially cell survival. Stem Cells Translational Medicine 2017;6:139-150.
Project description:Human neural precursor cells (hNPCs) derived from pluripotent stem cells display a high propensity for neuronal differentiation, but they require long-term culturing to differentiate efficiently into astrocytes. The mechanisms underlying this biased fate specification of hNPCs remain elusive. Here, we show that hypoxia confers astrocytic differentiation potential on hNPCs through epigenetic gene regulation, and that this was achieved by cooperation between hypoxia-inducible factor 1? and Notch signaling, accompanied by a reduction of DNA methylation level in the promoter region of a typical astrocyte-specific gene, Glial fibrillary acidic protein. Furthermore, we found that this hypoxic culture condition could be applied to rapid generation of astrocytes from Rett syndrome patient-derived hNPCs, and that these astrocytes impaired neuronal development. Thus, our findings shed further light on the molecular mechanisms regulating hNPC differentiation and provide attractive tools for the development of therapeutic strategies for treating astrocyte-mediated neurological disorders.
Project description:Chemokine CXCL12 is widely expressed in the central nervous system and essential for the proper functioning of human neural progenitor cells (hNPCs). Although CXCL12 is known to function through its receptor CXCR4, recent data have suggested that CXCL12 binds to chemokine receptor CXCR7 with higher affinity than to CXCR4. However, little is known about the function of CXCR7 in hNPCs. Using a primary hNPC culture system, we demonstrated that CXCL12 promotes hNPC survival in the events of camptothecin-induced apoptosis or growth factor deprivation, and that this effect requires both CXCR7 and CXCR4. Through fluorescence-activated cell sorting analysis and immunocytochemistry, we determined that CXCR7 is mainly localized in the early endosome, while CXCR4 is more broadly expressed at the cell surface and on both early and recycling endosomes. Furthermore, we found that endocytosis is required for the prosurvival function of CXCL12. Using dual-color total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy and immunoprecipitation, we demonstrated that CXCR7 quickly trafficks to plasma membrane in mediating CXCL12 endocytosis and colocalizes with CXCR4 after CXCL12 treatment. Investigating the molecular mechanisms, we found that ERK1/2 endocytotic signaling pathway is essential for hNPC survival upon apoptotic challenges. Consistent with these findings, a significantly higher number of apoptotic NPCs were found in the developing brain of CXCR7 knockout mice. In conclusion, CXCL12 protects hNPCs from apoptotic challenges through CXCR7- and CXCR4-mediated endocytotic signaling. Since survival of hNPCs is important for neurogenesis, CXCR7 may become a new therapeutic target to properly regulate critical processes of brain development.
Project description:Despite therapeutic advances, neurodegenerative diseases and disorders remain some of the leading causes of mortality and morbidity in the United States. Therefore, cell-based therapies to replace lost or damaged neurons and supporting cells of the central nervous system (CNS) are of great therapeutic interest. To that end, human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC) derived neural progenitor cells (hNPCs) and their neuronal derivatives could provide the cellular 'raw material' needed for regenerative medicine therapies for a variety of CNS disorders. In addition, hNPCs derived from patient-specific hPSCs could be used to elucidate the underlying mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases and identify potential drug candidates. However, the scientific and clinical application of hNPCs requires the development of robust, defined, and scalable substrates for their long-term expansion and neuronal differentiation. In this study, we rationally designed a vitronectin-derived peptide (VDP) that served as an adhesive growth substrate for the long-term expansion of several hNPC lines. Moreover, VDP-coated surfaces allowed for the directed neuronal differentiation of hNPC at levels similar to cells differentiated on traditional extracellular matrix protein-based substrates. Overall, the ability of VDP to support the long-term expansion and directed neuronal differentiation of hNPCs will significantly advance the future translational application of these cells in treating injuries, disorders, and diseases of the CNS.
Project description:Using a viral model of the demyelinating disease multiple sclerosis (MS), we show that intraspinal transplantation of human embryonic stem cell-derived neural precursor cells (hNPCs) results in sustained clinical recovery, although hNPCs were not detectable beyond day 8 posttransplantation. Improved motor skills were associated with a reduction in neuroinflammation, decreased demyelination, and enhanced remyelination. Evidence indicates that the reduced neuroinflammation is correlated with an increased number of CD4(+)CD25(+)FOXP3(+) regulatory T cells (Tregs) within the spinal cords. Coculture of hNPCs with activated T cells resulted in reduced T cell proliferation and increased Treg numbers. The hNPCs acted, in part, through secretion of TGF-?1 and TGF-?2. These findings indicate that the transient presence of hNPCs transplanted in an animal model of MS has powerful immunomodulatory effects and mediates recovery. Further investigation of the restorative effects of hNPC transplantation may aid in the development of clinically relevant MS treatments.
Project description:The suspected link between infection by Zika virus (ZIKV), a re-emerging flavivirus, and microcephaly is an urgent global health concern. The direct target cells of ZIKV in the developing human fetus are not clear. Here we show that a strain of the ZIKV, MR766, serially passaged in monkey and mosquito cells efficiently infects human neural progenitor cells (hNPCs) derived from induced pluripotent stem cells. Infected hNPCs further release infectious ZIKV particles. Importantly, ZIKV infection increases cell death and dysregulates cell-cycle progression, resulting in attenuated hNPC growth. Global gene expression analysis of infected hNPCs reveals transcriptional dysregulation, notably of cell-cycle-related pathways. Our results identify hNPCs as a direct ZIKV target. In addition, we establish a tractable experimental model system to investigate the impact and mechanism of ZIKV on human brain development and provide a platform to screen therapeutic compounds.