Regenerative Medicine Publications
From the derivation of the first human embryonic stem (hES) cell line to the development of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells; it has become evident that tissue specific stem cells are able to differentiate into a specific somatic cell types. The understanding of key processes such as the signaling pathways and the role of the microenvironment in epidermal/epithelial development has provided important clues for the derivation of specific epithelial cell types.Various differentiation protocols/methods were used to attain specific epithelial cell types. Here, we describe in detail the procedure to follow for isolation of tissue specific stem cells, mimicking their microenvironment to attain stem cell characteristics, and their potential differentiation to corneal epithelial cells.
PURPOSE: To evaluate the safety and efficacy of topical loteprednol etabonate (LE) 0.5% compared with cyclosporine A (CsA) 0.05% for the prophylaxis and treatment of dry eye syndrome (DES) after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). METHODS: Seventy-five patients were randomized to LE (n = 76 eyes of 38 patients) or CsA (n = 74 eyes of 37 patients) pre-HSCT. Lissamine green and fluorescein staining, tear break-up time, tear osmolarity (Osm), Schirmer score (Sch), intraocular pressure, visual acuity, and Ocular Surface Disease Index were assessed pre-HSCT, 3, 6, 9, and 12 months post-HSCT. RESULTS: There were no differences in DES incidence (P = 0.22; log-rank test) or progression (P = 0.41; log-rank test) between the 2 treatment arms during the course of the study. Among eyes with no DES at enrollment, the Kaplan-Meier analysis yielded a 90% rate of DES development in cyclosporine-treated eyes and a 79% rate of DES development in LE-treated eyes by 12 months post-HSCT. The Kaplan-Meier analysis of eyes with DES at enrollment demonstrated a 38% rate of disease progression among cyclosporine-treated eyes and a 26% rate of disease progression among loteprednol-treated eyes by 12 months. No patient in either group had an elevation of 10 mm Hg or greater from baseline at any study visit, and no patients had their treatment discontinued for elevation in intraocular pressure. CONCLUSIONS: Pre-HSCT initiation of LE 0.5% appears to be safe and may be as effective as CsA 0.5% for the treatment and prophylaxis of DES following HSCT.
We have previously characterized human neuronal progenitor cells (hNP) that can adopt a retinal ganglion cell (RGC)-like morphology within the RGC and nerve fiber layers of the retina. In an effort to determine whether hNPs could be used a candidate cells for targeted delivery of neurotrophic factors (NTFs), we evaluated whether hNPs transfected with an vector that expresses IGF-1 in the form of a fusion protein with tdTomato (TD), would increase RGC survival in vitro and confer neuroprotective effects in a mouse model of glaucoma. RGCs co-cultured with hNPIGF-TD cells displayed enhanced survival, and increased neurite extension and branching as compared to hNPTD or untransfected hNP cells. Application of various IGF-1 signaling blockers or IGF-1 receptor antagonists abrogated these effects. In vivo, using a model of glaucoma we showed that IOP elevation led to reductions in retinal RGC count. In this model, evaluation of retinal flatmounts and optic nerve cross sections indicated that only hNPIGF-TD cells effectively reduced RGC death and showed a trend to improve optic nerve axonal loss. RT-PCR analysis of retina lysates over time showed that the neurotrophic effects of IGF-1 were also attributed to down-regulation of inflammatory and to some extent, angiogenic pathways. This study shows that neuronal progenitor cells that hone into the RGC and nerve fiber layers may be used as vehicles for local production and delivery of a desired NTF. Transplantation of hNPIGF-TD cells improves RGC survival in vitro and protects against RGC loss in a rodent model of glaucoma. Our findings have provided experimental evidence and form the basis for applying cell-based strategies for local delivery of NTFs into the retina. Application of cell-based delivery may be extended to other disease conditions beyond glaucoma.
BACKGROUND: Since they were first derived more than three decades ago, embryonic stem cells have been proposed as a source of replacement cells in regenerative medicine, but their plasticity and unlimited capacity for self-renewal raises concerns about their safety, including tumour formation ability, potential immune rejection, and the risk of differentiating into unwanted cell types. We report the medium-term to long-term safety of cells derived from human embryonic stem cells (hESC) transplanted into patients. METHODS: In the USA, two prospective phase 1/2 studies were done to assess the primary endpoints safety and tolerability of subretinal transplantation of hESC-derived retinal pigment epithelium in nine patients with Stargardt's macular dystrophy (age >18 years) and nine with atrophic age-related macular degeneration (age >55 years). Three dose cohorts (50,000, 100,000, and 150,000 cells) were treated for each eye disorder. Transplanted patients were followed up for a median of 22 months by use of serial systemic, ophthalmic, and imaging examinations. The studies are registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, numbers NCT01345006 (Stargardt's macular dystrophy) and NCT01344993 (age-related macular degeneration). FINDINGS: There was no evidence of adverse proliferation, rejection, or serious ocular or systemic safety issues related to the transplanted tissue. Adverse events were associated with vitreoretinal surgery and immunosuppression. 13 (72%) of 18 patients had patches of increasing subretinal pigmentation consistent with transplanted retinal pigment epithelium. Best-corrected visual acuity, monitored as part of the safety protocol, improved in ten eyes, improved or remained the same in seven eyes, and decreased by more than ten letters in one eye, whereas the untreated fellow eyes did not show similar improvements in visual acuity. Vision-related quality-of-life measures increased for general and peripheral vision, and near and distance activities, improving by 16-25 points 3-12 months after transplantation in patients with atrophic age-related macular degeneration and 8-20 points in patients with Stargardt's macular dystrophy. INTERPRETATION: The results of this study provide the first evidence of the medium-term to long-term safety, graft survival, and possible biological activity of pluripotent stem cell progeny in individuals with any disease. Our results suggest that hESC-derived cells could provide a potentially safe new source of cells for the treatment of various unmet medical disorders requiring tissue repair or replacement. FUNDING: Advanced Cell Technology.
The shape and position of a neuron convey information regarding its molecular and functional identity. The identification of cell types from structure, a classic method, relies on the time-consuming step of arbor tracing. However, as genetic tools and imaging methods make data-driven approaches to neuronal circuit analysis feasible, the need for automated processing increases. Here, we first establish that mouse retinal ganglion cell types can be as precise about distributing their arbor volumes across the inner plexiform layer as they are about distributing the skeletons of the arbors. Then, we describe an automated approach to computing the spatial distribution of the dendritic arbors, or arbor density, with respect to a global depth coordinate based on this observation. Our method involves three-dimensional reconstruction of neuronal arbors by a supervised machine learning algorithm, post-processing of the enhanced stacks to remove somata and isolate the neuron of interest, and registration of neurons to each other using automatically detected arbors of the starburst amacrine interneurons as fiducial markers. In principle, this method could be generalizable to other structures of the CNS, provided that they allow sparse labeling of the cells and contain a reliable axis of spatial reference.
BACKGROUND: In a previous study, we demonstrated that ephrin-A2 and -A3 negatively regulate the growth of neural progenitor cells in the central nervous system. Adult mice deficient in ephrin-A2 and -A3 (A2(-/-)A3(-/-)) displayed active ongoing neurogenesis throughout the brain, and mice deficient in ephrin-A3 alone showed increased proliferation of ciliary epithelium derived retinal stem cells. This study aimed to detect that the increase in proliferation and neurogenic potential of Müller cells is influenced by the absence of ephrin-A2 and -A3. METHODS: We assessed the retinal and Müller cell expression of ephrin-As and their receptor and neural progenitor cell markers by immunostaining and real-time PCR. We cultured purified primary Müller cells derived from wild-type and A2(-/-)A3(-/-) mice in a defined culture medium that enables trans-differentiation of Müller cells into retinal neurons. To evaluate proliferating Müller cells in vivo, we injected 5'-ethylnyl-2'-deoxiuridine (EdU) intraperitoneally to adult mice. RESULTS: Expression of ephrin-A2/A3 and their receptor EphA4 were detected in the retinas of adult mice, with EphA4 expression particularly enriched in Müller cells. Müller cells of A2(-/-)A3(-/-) mice exhibited significantly elevated expression of retinal progenitor cell markers, Pax6 and Chx10, when compared with those from wild-type mice. Moreover, a higher percentage of Müller cells of A2(-/-)A3(-/-) mice trans-differentiated and became recoverin+ and β-III-tublin+ in the culture than those from wild type mice. Strikingly, an increased number of EdU+ retinal cells was detected in the retinas of adult A2(-/-)A3(-/-) mice as compared with wild-type mice. CONCLUSIONS: Ephrin-A2 and -A3 are negative regulators of the proliferative and neurogenic potentials of Müller cells. Manipulating ephrin-A signaling may thus represent a novel strategy for stimulating neuroregeneration from endogenous progenitors to participate in retinal repair in case of disease or damage.
This review highlights recent findings that describ how purines modulate the physiological and pathophysiological responses of ocular tissues. For example, in lacrimal glands the cross-talk between P2X7 receptors and both M3 muscarinic receptors and α1D-adrenergic receptors can influence tear secretion. In the cornea, purines lead to post-translational modification of EGFR and structural proteins that participate in wound repair in the epithelium and influence the expression of matrix proteins in the stroma. Purines act at receptors on both the trabecular meshwork and ciliary epithelium to modulate intraocular pressure (IOP); ATP-release pathways of inflow and outflow cells differ, possibly permitting differential modulation of adenosine delivery. Modulators of trabecular meshwork cell ATP release include cell volume, stretch, extracellular Ca(2+) concentration, oxidation state, actin remodeling and possibly endogenous cardiotonic steroids. In the lens, osmotic stress leads to ATP release following TRPV4 activation upstream of hemichannel opening. In the anterior eye, diadenosine polyphosphates such as Ap4A act at P2 receptors to modulate the rate and composition of tear secretion, impact corneal wound healing and lower IOP. The Gq11-coupled P2Y1-receptor contributes to volume control in Müller cells and thus the retina. P2X receptors are expressed in neurons in the inner and outer retina and contribute to visual processing as well as the demise of retinal ganglion cells. In RPE cells, the balance between extracellular ATP and adenosine may modulate lysosomal pH and the rate of lipofuscin formation. In optic nerve head astrocytes, mechanosensitive ATP release via pannexin hemichannels, coupled with stretch-dependent upregulation of pannexins, provides a mechanism for ATP signaling in chronic glaucoma. With so many receptors linked to divergent functions throughout the eye, ensuring the transmitters remain local and stimulation is restricted to the intended target may be a key issue in understanding how physiological signaling becomes pathological in ocular disease.