Regenerative Medicine

Thanos S, Böhm MRR, Meyer Zu Hörste M, Prokosch-Willing V, Hennig M, Bauer D, Heiligenhaus A. Role of crystallins in ocular neuroprotection and axonal regeneration. Prog Retin Eye Res 2014;42:145-61.Abstract
Neuroprotection is an emerging challenge in ophthalmology due to the particularly exposed location of retinal neurons and to the steadily increasing rate of intraocular surgical and pharmacological treatments applied to various eye diseases. Within few decades neuroprotection has developed from strongly contested approaches to being recognized and introduced as a potentially clinical application. One of the groups of putative substances for neuroprotection comprises αA- and αB-crystallins, which are types of heat-shock proteins and are considered to be molecular chaperones. The β/γ-crystallins form their own superfamily and are characterized as proteins with a distinct structure containing four Greek key motifs. Besides being abundant in the ocular lens, crystallins are also expressed in both the developing and mature retina. Crystallins are dramatically up-regulated in numerous retinal pathologies, including mechanical injury, ischemic insults, age-related macular degeneration, uveoretinitis, and diabetic retinopathy. Crystallins of the α family are thought to play a crucial role in retinal neuron survival and inflammation. Crystallins of the β/γ superfamily are also small proteins with a possible emerging role in retinal tissue remodeling and repair. One of the typical retinal diseases associated with crystallins is the experimental glaucomatous neuropathy that is characterized by their expression. Another typical retinal disease is the atrophy that occurs after mechanical injury to the optic nerve, which is associated with the need to regrow retinal axons. We have shown in regenerative models in vivo and in vitro that βB2-crystallin actively supports the regenerative growth of cut retinal axons, thereby offering targets for neuroprotective and regenerative treatments. In this review we discuss the discovery that βB2-crystallin is clearly up-regulated in the regenerating retina in vitro. βB2-Crystallin is produced and secreted during axon elongation, while β/γ-crystallins promote axon growth both in vivo and in vitro by acting either directly by uptake into cells, or indirectly by enhancing the production of ciliary neurotrophic factor from astrocytes to synergistically promote axon regrowth. We also discuss methods to induce the continuous production of crystallins at the site of injury and repair based on the use of transfected neural progenitor cells. This review ultimately leads to the conclusion that the postinjury fate of neurons cannot be seen merely as inevitable, but instead should be regarded as a challenge to shaping the neuroprotective and regenerative conditions that promote cell survival and axon repair.
Sümbül U, Zlateski A, Vishwanathan A, Masland RH, Seung SH. Automated computation of arbor densities: a step toward identifying neuronal cell types. Front Neuroanat 2014;8:139.Abstract
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.
Zhu R, Cho K-S, Chen DF, Yang L. Ephrin-A2 and -A3 are negative regulators of the regenerative potential of Möller cells. Chin Med J (Engl) 2014;127(19):3438-42.Abstract
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.
Sanderson J, Dartt DA, Trinkaus-Randall V, Pintor J, Civan MM, Delamere NA, Fletcher EL, Salt TE, Grosche A, Mitchell CH. Purines in the eye: recent evidence for the physiological and pathological role of purines in the RPE, retinal neurons, astrocytes, Müller cells, lens, trabecular meshwork, cornea and lacrimal gland. Exp Eye Res 2014;127:270-9.Abstract
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.