Niche stiffness underlies the ageing of central nervous system progenitor cells.
ABSTRACT: Ageing causes a decline in tissue regeneration owing to a loss of function of adult stem cell and progenitor cell populations1. One example is the deterioration of the regenerative capacity of the widespread and abundant population of central nervous system (CNS) multipotent stem cells known as oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs)2. A relatively overlooked potential source of this loss of function is the stem cell 'niche'-a set of cell-extrinsic cues that include chemical and mechanical signals3,4. Here we show that the OPC microenvironment stiffens with age, and that this mechanical change is sufficient to cause age-related loss of function of OPCs. Using biological and synthetic scaffolds to mimic the stiffness of young brains, we find that isolated aged OPCs cultured on these scaffolds are molecularly and functionally rejuvenated. When we disrupt mechanical signalling, the proliferation and differentiation rates of OPCs are increased. We identify the mechanoresponsive ion channel PIEZO1 as a key mediator of OPC mechanical signalling. Inhibiting PIEZO1 overrides mechanical signals in vivo and allows OPCs to maintain activity in the ageing CNS. We also show that PIEZO1 is important in regulating cell number during CNS development. Thus we show that tissue stiffness is a crucial regulator of ageing in OPCs, and provide insights into how the function of adult stem and progenitor cells changes with age. Our findings could be important not only for the development of regenerative therapies, but also for understanding the ageing process itself.
Project description:Myelination and its regenerative counterpart remyelination represent one of the most complex cell-cell interactions in the central nervous system (CNS). The biochemical regulation of axon myelination via the proliferation, migration, and differentiation of oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) has been characterized extensively. However, most biochemical analysis has been conducted in vitro on OPCs adhered to substrata of stiffness that is orders of magnitude greater than that of the in vivo CNS environment. Little is known of how variation in mechanical properties over the physiological range affects OPC biology. Here, we show that OPCs are mechanosensitive. Cell survival, proliferation, migration, and differentiation capacity in vitro depend on the mechanical stiffness of polymer hydrogel substrata. Most of these properties are optimal at the intermediate values of CNS tissue stiffness. Moreover, many of these properties measured for cells on gels of optimal stiffness differed significantly from those measured on glass or polystyrene. The dependence of OPC differentiation on the mechanical properties of the extracellular environment provides motivation to revisit results obtained on nonphysiological, rigid surfaces. We also find that OPCs stiffen upon differentiation, but that they do not change their compliance in response to substratum stiffness, which is similar to embryonic stem cells, but different from adult stem cells. These results form the basis for further investigations into the mechanobiology of cell function in the CNS and may specifically shed new light on the failure of remyelination in chronic demyelinating diseases such as multiple sclerosis.
Project description:Mechanical and physical stimuli including material stiffness and topography or applied mechanical strain have been demonstrated to modulate differentiation of glial progenitor and neural stem cells. Recent studies probing such mechanotransduction in oligodendrocytes have focused chiefly on the biomolecular components. However, the cell-level biophysical changes associated with such responses remain largely unknown. Here, we explored mechanotransduction in oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) during the first 48 h of differentiation induction by quantifying the biophysical state in terms of nuclear dynamics, cytoskeleton organization, and cell migration. We compared these mechanophenotypic changes in OPCs exposed to both chemical cues (differentiation factors) and mechanical cues (static tensile strain of 10%) with those exposed to only those chemical cues. We observed that mechanical strain significantly hastened the dampening of nuclear fluctuations and decreased OPC migration, consistent with the progression of differentiation. Those biophysical changes were accompanied by increased production of the intracellular microtubule network. These observations provide insights into mechanisms by which mechanical strain of physiological magnitude could promote differentiation of progenitor cells to oligodendrocytes via inducing intracellular biophysical responses over hours to days post induction.
Project description:Following CNS demyelination, adult oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) can differentiate into new myelin-forming oligodendrocytes in a regenerative process called remyelination. While remyelination is very efficient in young adults, its efficiency declines progressively with ageing. Here we performed proteomic analysis on OPCs isolated acutely from the brains of neonate, young and aged female rats. Approximately 60% of the proteins are expressed at different levels in OPCs from neonates compared to their adult counterparts. The amount of myelin-associated and cell adhesion proteins are increased with age, while cholesterol-biosynthesis, transcription factors and cell cycle proteins decreased. Our experiments provide the first ageing OPC rodent proteome, revealing the distinct features of neonatal and adult OPCs, and providing new insights into why remyelination efficiency declines with ageing and potential roles for aged OPCs in other neurodegenerative diseases.
Project description:Neural stem cells are multipotent cells with the ability to differentiate into neurons, astrocytes, and oligodendrocytes. Lineage specification is strongly sensitive to the mechanical properties of the cellular environment. However, molecular pathways transducing matrix mechanical cues to intracellular signaling pathways linked to lineage specification remain unclear. We found that the mechanically gated ion channel Piezo1 is expressed by brain-derived human neural stem/progenitor cells and is responsible for a mechanically induced ionic current. Piezo1 activity triggered by traction forces elicited influx of Ca(2+), a known modulator of differentiation, in a substrate-stiffness-dependent manner. Inhibition of channel activity by the pharmacological inhibitor GsMTx-4 or by siRNA-mediated Piezo1 knockdown suppressed neurogenesis and enhanced astrogenesis. Piezo1 knockdown also reduced the nuclear localization of the mechanoreactive transcriptional coactivator Yes-associated protein. We propose that the mechanically gated ion channel Piezo1 is an important determinant of mechanosensitive lineage choice in neural stem cells and may play similar roles in other multipotent stem cells.
Project description:Throughout life, oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) proliferate and differentiate into myelinating oligodendrocytes. OPCs express cell surface receptors and channels that allow them to detect and respond to neuronal activity, including voltage-gated calcium channel (VGCC)s. The major L-type VGCC expressed by developmental OPCs, CaV1.2, regulates their differentiation. However, it is unclear whether CaV1.2 similarly influences OPC behavior in the healthy adult central nervous system (CNS). To examine the role of CaV1.2 in adulthood, we conditionally deleted this channel from OPCs by administering tamoxifen to P60 Cacna1c fl/fl (control) and Pdgfr?-CreER:: Cacna1c fl/fl (CaV1.2-deleted) mice. Whole cell patch clamp analysis revealed that CaV1.2 deletion reduced L-type voltage-gated calcium entry into adult OPCs by ~60%, confirming that it remains the major L-type VGCC expressed by OPCs in adulthood. The conditional deletion of CaV1.2 from adult OPCs significantly increased their proliferation but did not affect the number of new oligodendrocytes produced or influence the length or number of internodes they elaborated. Unexpectedly, CaV1.2 deletion resulted in the dramatic loss of OPCs from the corpus callosum, such that 7?days after tamoxifen administration CaV1.2-deleted mice had an OPC density ~42% that of control mice. OPC density recovered within 2?weeks of CaV1.2 deletion, as the lost OPCs were replaced by surviving CaV1.2-deleted OPCs. As OPC density was not affected in the motor cortex or spinal cord, we conclude that calcium entry through CaV1.2 is a critical survival signal for a subpopulation of callosal OPCs but not for all OPCs in the mature CNS.
Project description:Ionizing radiation (IR) is commonly used to treat central nervous system (CNS) cancers and metastases. While IR promotes remission, frequent side effects including impaired cognition and white matter loss occur following treatment. Fractionation is used to minimize these CNS late side effects, as it reduces IR effects in differentiated normal tissue, but not rapidly proliferating normal or tumor tissue. However, side effects occur even with the use of fractionated paradigms. Oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) are a proliferative population within the CNS affected by radiation. We hypothesized that fractionated radiation would lead to OPC loss, which could contribute to the delayed white matter loss seen after radiation exposure. We found that fractionated IR induced a greater early loss of OPCs than an equivalent single dose exposure. Furthermore, OPC recovery was impaired following fractionated IR. Finally, reduced OPC differentiation and mature oligodendrocyte numbers occurred in single dose and fractionated IR paradigms. This work demonstrates that fractionation does not spare normal brain tissue and, importantly, highlights the sensitivity of OPCs to fractionated IR, suggesting that fractionated schedules may promote white matter dysfunction, a point that should be considered in radiotherapy.
Project description:Differentiation of oligodendroglial progenitor cells (OPCs) into myelinating oligodendrocytes is known to be regulated by the microenvironment where they differentiate. However, current research has not verified whether or not oligodendroglial lineage cells (OLCs) derived from different anatomical regions of the central nervous system (CNS) respond to microenvironmental cues in the same manner. Here, we isolated pure OPCs from rat neonatal forebrain (FB) and spinal cord (SC) and compared their phenotypes in the same in vitro conditions. We found that although FB and SC OLCs responded differently to the same external factors; they were distinct in proliferation response to mitogens, oligodendrocyte phenotype after differentiation, and cytotoxic responses to ?-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionate-type glutamate receptor-mediated excitotoxicity at immature stages of differentiation in a cell-intrinsic manner. Moreover, transcriptome analysis identified genes differentially expressed between these OPC populations, including those encoding transcription factors (TFs), cell surface molecules, and signaling molecules. Particularly, FB and SC OPCs retained the expression of FB- or SC-specific TFs, such as Foxg1 and Hoxc8, respectively, even after serial passaging in vitro. Given the essential role of these TFs in the regional identities of CNS cells along the rostrocaudal axis, our results suggest that CNS region-specific gene regulation by these TFs may cause cell-intrinsic differences in cellular responses between FB and SC OLCs to extracellular molecules. Further understanding of the regional differences among OPC populations will help to improve treatments for demyelination in different CNS regions and to facilitate the development of stem cell-derived OPCs for cell transplantation therapies for demyelination. Cover Image for this issue: doi. 10.1111/jnc.13809.
Project description:Promotion of remyelination is a major goal in treating demyelinating diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS). The recombinant human monoclonal IgM, rHIgM22, targets myelin and oligodendrocytes (OLs) and promotes remyelination in animal models of MS. It is unclear whether rHIgM22-mediated stimulation of lesion repair is due to promotion of oligodendrocyte progenitor cell (OPC) proliferation and survival, OPC differentiation into myelinating OLs or protection of mature OLs. It is also unknown whether astrocytes or microglia play a functional role in IgM-mediated lesion repair.We assessed the effect of rHIgM22 on cell proliferation in mixed CNS glial and OPC cultures by tritiated-thymidine uptake and by double-label immunocytochemistry using the proliferation marker, Ki-67. Antibody-mediated signaling events, OPC differentiation and OPC survival were investigated and quantified by Western blots.rHIgM22 stimulates OPC proliferation in mixed glial cultures but not in purified OPCs. There is no proliferative response in astrocytes or microglia. rHIgM22 activates PDGF?R in OPCs in mixed glial cultures. Blocking PDGFR-kinase inhibits rHIgM22-mediated OPC proliferation in mixed glia. We confirm in isolated OPCs that rHIgM22-mediated anti-apoptotic signaling and inhibition of OPC differentiation requires PDGF and FGF-2. We observed no IgM-mediated effect in mature OLs in the absence of PDGF and FGF-2.Stimulation of OPC proliferation by rHIgM22 depends on co-stimulatory astrocytic and/or microglial factors. We demonstrate that rHIgM22-mediated activation of PDGF?R is required for stimulation of OPC proliferation. We propose that rHIgM22 lowers the PDGF threshold required for OPC proliferation and protection, which can result in remyelination of CNS lesions.
Project description:In the developing CNS, Notch1 and its ligand, Jagged1, regulate oligodendrocyte differentiation and myelin formation, but their role in repair of demyelinating lesions in diseases such as multiple sclerosis remains unresolved. To address this question, we generated a mouse model in which we targeted Notch1 inactivation to oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) using Olig1Cre and a floxed Notch1 allele, Notch1(12f). During CNS development, OPC differentiation was potentiated in Olig1Cre:Notch1(12f/12f) mice. Importantly, in adults, remyelination of demyelinating lesions was also accelerated, at the expense of proliferation within the progenitor population. Experiments in vitro confirmed that Notch1 signaling was permissive for OPC expansion but inhibited differentiation and myelin formation. These studies also revealed that astrocytes exposed to TGF-beta1 restricted OPC maturation via Jagged1-Notch1 signaling. These data suggest that Notch1 signaling is one of the mechanisms regulating OPC differentiation during CNS remyelination. Thus, Notch1 may represent a potential therapeutical avenue for lesion repair in demyelinating disease.
Project description:Neuroinflammatory diseases such as multiple sclerosis are characterized by infiltration of lymphocytes into the central nervous system followed by demyelination and axonal degeneration. While evidence suggests that activated T lymphocytes induce neurotoxicity and impair function of neural stem cells, the effect of T cells on oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) is still uncertain, partly due to the difficulty in obtaining human OPCs. Here we studied the effect of activated T cells on OPCs using OPCs derived from human hematopoietic stem cells or from human fetal brain. OPCs were exposed to supernatants (sups) from activated T cells. Cell proliferation was determined by EdU incorporation and CellQuanti-Blue assays. Surprisingly, we found that sups from activated T cells induced OPC proliferation by regulating cell cycle progression. Vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A) transcripts were increased in T cells after activation. Immunodepletion of VEGF-A from activated T cell sups significantly attenuated its effect on OPC proliferation. Furthermore, VEGF receptor 2 (VEGFR2) was expressed on OPCs and its inhibition also attenuated activated T cell-induced OPC proliferation. Thus, activated T cells have a trophic role by promoting OPC proliferation via the VEGFR2 pathway.