Enhanced functional recovery from spinal cord injury in aged mice after stem cell transplantation through HGF induction
ABSTRACT: The number of elderly patients with spinal cord injury (SCI) is increasing worldwide, representing a serious burden for both the affected patients and the community. Previous studies have demonstrated that neural stem cell (NSC) transplantation is an effective treatment for SCI in young animals. Here we show that NSC transplantation is as effective in aged mice as it is in young mice, even though aged mice exhibit more severe neurological deficits after SCI. NSCs grafted into aged mice exhibited better survival than did those grafted into young mice. Furthermore, we show that the neurotrophic factor HGF plays a key role in the enhanced functional recovery after NSC transplantation observed in aged mice with SCI. The unexpected results of the present study suggest that NSC transplantation is a potential therapeutic modality for SCI, even in elderly patients. Overall design: Injured and naive mice were anesthetized and transcardially perfused with heparinized saline (5 U/ml) 9 days after injury (n=3 each). Dissected segments of the spinal cord at the Th9 level underwent expression profiling by array.
Project description:The number of elderly patients with spinal cord injury (SCI) is increasing worldwide, representing a serious burden for both the affected patients and the community. Previous studies have demonstrated that neural stem cell (NSC) transplantation is an effective treatment for SCI in young animals. Here we show that NSC transplantation is as effective in aged mice as it is in young mice, even though aged mice exhibit more severe neurological deficits after SCI. NSCs grafted into aged mice exhibited better survival than those grafted into young mice. Furthermore, we show that the neurotrophic factor HGF plays a key role in the enhanced functional recovery after NSC transplantation observed in aged mice with SCI. The unexpected results of the present study suggest that NSC transplantation is a potential therapeutic modality for SCI, even in elderly patients.
Project description:The transplantation of neural progenitor cells (NPCs) derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) has beneficial effects on spinal cord injury (SCI). However, while there are many subtypes of NPCs with different regional identities, the subtype of iPSC-derived NPCs that is most appropriate for cell therapy for SCI has not been identified. Here, we generated forebrain- and spinal cord-type NPCs from human iPSCs and grafted them onto the injured spinal cord in mice. These two types of NPCs retained their regional identities after transplantation and exhibited different graft-host interconnection properties. NPCs with spinal cord regional identity but not those with forebrain identity resulted in functional improvement in SCI mice, especially in those with mild-to-moderate lesions. This study highlights the importance of the regional identity of human iPSC-derived NPCs used in cell therapy for SCI.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a common disease that results in motor and sensory disorders and even lifelong paralysis. The transplantation of stem cells, such as embryonic stem cells (ESCs), induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), or subsequently generated stem/progenitor cells, is predicted to be a promising treatment for SCI. In this study, we aimed to investigate effect of human iPSC-derived neural stem cells (hiPSC-NSCs) and umbilical cord-derived MSCs (huMSCs) in a mouse model of acute SCI.<h4>Methods</h4>Acute SCI mice model were established and were randomly treated as phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) (control group), repaired with 1?×?10<sup>5</sup> hiPSC-NSCs (NSC group), and 1?×?10<sup>5</sup> huMSCs (MSC group), respectively, in a total of 54 mice (n?=?18 each). Hind limb motor function was evaluated in open-field tests using the Basso Mouse Scale (BMS) at days post-operation (dpo) 1, 3, 5, and 7 after spinal cord injury, and weekly thereafter. Spinal cord and serum samples were harvested at dpo 7, 14, and 21. Haematoxylin-eosin (H&E) staining and Masson staining were used to evaluate the morphological changes and fibrosis area. The differentiation of the transplanted cells in vivo was evaluated with immunohistochemical staining.<h4>Results</h4>The hiPSC-NSC-treated group presented a significantly smaller glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) positive area than MSC-treated mice at all time points. Additionally, MSC-transplanted mice had a similar GFAP+ area to mice receiving PBS. At dpo 14, the immunostained hiPSC-NSCs were positive for SRY-related high-mobility-group (HMG)-box protein-2 (SOX2). Furthermore, the transplanted hiPSC-NSCs differentiated into GFAP-positive astrocytes and beta-III tubulin-positive neurons, whereas the transplanted huMSCs differentiated into GFAP-positive astrocytes. In addition, hiPSC-NSC transplantation reduced fibrosis formation and the inflammation level. Compared with the control or huMSC transplanted group, the group with transplantation of hiPSC-NSCs exhibited significantly improved behaviours, particularly limb coordination.<h4>Conclusions</h4>HiPSC-NSCs promote functional recovery in mice with acute SCI by replacing missing neurons and attenuating fibrosis, glial scar formation, and inflammation.
Project description:Demyelination contributes to the dysfunction after traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI). We explored whether the combination of neurotrophic factors and transplantation of adult rat spinal cord oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) could enhance remyelination and functional recovery after SCI. Ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF) was the most effective neurotrophic factor to promote oligodendrocyte (OL) differentiation and survival of OPCs in vitro. OPCs were infected with retroviruses expressing enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) or CNTF and transplanted into the contused adult thoracic spinal cord 9 d after injury. Seven weeks after transplantation, the grafted OPCs survived and integrated into the injured spinal cord. The survival of grafted CNTF-OPCs increased fourfold compared with EGFP-OPCs. The grafted OPCs differentiated into adenomatus polyposis coli (APC(+)) OLs, and CNTF significantly increased the percentage of APC(+) OLs from grafted OPCs. Immunofluorescent and immunoelectron microscopic analyses showed that the grafted OPCs formed central myelin sheaths around the axons in the injured spinal cord. The number of OL-remyelinated axons in ventrolateral funiculus (VLF) or lateral funiculus (LF) at the injured epicenter was significantly increased in animals that received CNTF-OPC grafts compared with all other groups. Importantly, 75% of rats receiving CNTF-OPC grafts recovered transcranial magnetic motor-evoked potential and magnetic interenlargement reflex responses, indicating that conduction through the demyelinated axons in VLF or LF, respectively, was partially restored. More importantly, recovery of hindlimb locomotor function was significantly enhanced in animals receiving grafts of CNTF-OPCs. Thus, combined treatment with OPC grafts expressing CNTF can enhance remyelination and facilitate functional recovery after traumatic SCI.
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:Transplantation of neural stem/progenitor cells (NS/PCs) derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) is considered to be a promising therapy for spinal cord injury (SCI) and will soon be translated to the clinical phase. However, how grafted neuronal activity influences functional recovery has not been fully elucidated. Here, we show the locomotor functional changes caused by inhibiting the neuronal activity of grafted cells using a designer receptor exclusively activated by designer drugs (DREADD). In vitro analyses of inhibitory DREADD (hM4Di)-expressing cells demonstrated the precise inhibition of neuronal activity via administration of clozapine N-oxide. This inhibition led to a significant decrease in locomotor function in SCI mice with cell transplantation, which was exclusively observed following the maturation of grafted neurons. Furthermore, trans-synaptic tracing revealed the integration of graft neurons into the host motor circuitry. These results highlight the significance of engrafting functionally competent neurons by hiPSC-NS/PC transplantation for sufficient recovery from SCI.
Project description:Functional recovery is still limited mainly due to several mechanisms, such as the activation of Nogo receptor-1 (NgR1) signaling, when human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived neural stem/progenitor cells (hiPSC-NS/PC) are transplanted for subacute spinal cord injury (SCI). We previously reported the neuroprotective and regenerative benefits of overexpression of lateral olfactory tract usher substance (LOTUS), an endogenous NgR1 antagonist, in the injured spinal cord using transgenic mice. Here, we evaluate the effects of lentiviral transduction of LOTUS gene into hiPSC-NS/PCs before transplantation in a mouse model of subacute SCI. The transduced LOTUS contributes to neurite extension, suppression of apoptosis, and secretion of neurotrophic factors in vitro. In vivo, the hiPSC-NS/PCs enhance the survival of grafted cells and enhance axonal extension of the transplanted cells, resulting in significant restoration of motor function following SCI. Therefore, the gene transduction of LOTUS in hiPSC-NS/PCs could be a promising adjunct for transplantation therapy for SCI.
Project description:Cell therapy for spinal cord injury (SCI) is a promising strategy for clinical application. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) have demonstrated beneficial effects following transplantation in animal models of SCI. However, despite the immunoprivilege properties of the MSC, their survival in the injured spinal cord is reduced due to the detrimental milieu in the damaged tissue and immune rejection of the cells. The limited survival of the engrafted cells may determine the therapy success. Therefore, we compared two strategies to increase the presence of the cells in the injured spinal cord in rats: increasing the amount of MSC transplants and using immunosuppressive treatment with FK506 after transplantation. Functional outcomes for locomotion and electrophysiological responses were assessed. The grafted cells survival and the amount of cavity and spared tissue were studied. The findings indicate that immunosuppression improved grafted cells survival. A cell-dose effect was found regarding locomotion recovery and tissue protection independent of immunosuppression. Nevertheless, immunosuppression enhanced the electrophysiological outcomes and allowed filling of the cavity formed after injury by new regenerative tissue and axons. These results indicate that MSC transplantation combined with immunosuppression prolongs the survival of engrafted cells and improves functional and morphological outcomes after SCI.
Project description:The mechanism underlying neurogenesis during embryonic spinal cord development involves a specific ligand/receptor interaction, which may be help guide neuroengineering to boost stem cell-based neural regeneration for the structural and functional repair of spinal cord injury. Herein, we hypothesized that supplying spinal cord defects with an exogenous neural network in the NT-3/fibroin-coated gelatin sponge (NF-GS) scaffold might improve tissue repair efficacy. To test this, we engineered <i>tropomyosin receptor kinase C (TrkC)</i>-modified neural stem cell (NSC)-derived neural network tissue with robust viability within an NF-GS scaffold. When NSCs were genetically modified to overexpress TrkC, the NT-3 receptor, a functional neuronal population dominated the neural network tissue. The pro-regenerative niche allowed the long-term survival and phenotypic maintenance of the donor neural network tissue for up to 8 weeks in the injured spinal cord. Additionally, host nerve fibers regenerated into the graft, making synaptic connections with the donor neurons. Accordingly, motor function recovery was significantly improved in rats with spinal cord injury (SCI) that received <i>TrkC</i>-modified NSC-derived neural network tissue transplantation. Together, the results suggested that transplantation of the neural network tissue formed in the 3D bioactive scaffold may represent a valuable approach to study and develop therapies for SCI.
Project description:Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a motor neuron disease (MND) and one of the most common genetic causes of infant mortality, currently has no cure. Patients with SMA exhibit muscle weakness and hypotonia. Stem cell transplantation is a potential therapeutic strategy for SMA and other MNDs. In this study, we isolated spinal cord neural stem cells (NSCs) from mice expressing green fluorescent protein only in motor neurons and assessed their therapeutic effects on the phenotype of SMA mice. Intrathecally grafted NSCs migrated into the parenchyma and generated a small proportion of motor neurons. Treated SMA mice exhibited improved neuromuscular function, increased life span, and improved motor unit pathology. Global gene expression analysis of laser-capture-microdissected motor neurons from treated mice showed that the major effect of NSC transplantation was modification of the SMA phenotype toward the wild-type pattern, including changes in RNA metabolism proteins, cell cycle proteins, and actin-binding proteins. NSC transplantation positively affected the SMA disease phenotype, indicating that transplantation of NSCs may be a possible treatment for SMA.