Stem Cells International The latest articles from Hindawi Publishing Corporation © 2015 , Hindawi Publishing Corporation . All rights reserved. Expression of the Wnt Receptor Frizzled-4 in the Human Enteric Nervous System of Infants Mon, 30 Nov 2015 14:33:44 +0000 The Wnt signalling pathway plays a crucial role in the development of the nervous system. This signalling cascade is initiated upon binding of the secreted Wnt ligand to a member of the family of frizzled receptors. In the present study, we analysed the presence of frizzled-4 in the enteric nervous system of human infants. Frizzled-4 could be identified by immunohistochemistry in a subpopulation of enteric neuronal and glial cells in the small and large intestine. Detection of frizzled-4 in the tunica muscularis by RT-PCR confirmed this receptor’s expression on the mRNA level. Interestingly, we observed distinct cell populations that co-expressed frizzled-4 with the intermediate filament protein nestin and the neurotrophin receptor , which have been reported to be expressed in neural progenitor cells. Flow cytometry analysis revealed that 60% of positive cells of the tunica muscularis were positive for frizzled-4. Additionally, in pathological samples of Hirschsprung’s disease, the expression of this Wnt receptor correlated with the number of myenteric ganglion cells and decreased from normoganglionic to aganglionic areas of large intestine. The expression pattern of frizzled-4 indicates that this Wnt receptor could be involved in postnatal development and/or function of the enteric nervous system. Katharina Nothelfer, Florian Obermayr, Nadine Belz, Ellen Reinartz, Petra M. Bareiss, Hans-Jörg Bühring, Rudi Beschorner, and Lothar Just Copyright © 2016 Katharina Nothelfer et al. All rights reserved. Three-Dimensional Gastrointestinal Organoid Culture in Combination with Nerves or Fibroblasts: A Method to Characterize the Gastrointestinal Stem Cell Niche Mon, 30 Nov 2015 14:06:15 +0000 The gastrointestinal epithelium is characterized by a high turnover of cells and intestinal stem cells predominantly reside at the bottom of crypts and their progeny serve to maintain normal intestinal homeostasis. Accumulating evidence demonstrates the pivotal role of a niche surrounding intestinal stem cells in crypts, which consists of cellular and soluble components and creates an environment constantly influencing the fate of stem cells. Here we describe different 3D culture systems to culture gastrointestinal epithelium that should enable us to study the stem cell niche in vitro in the future: organoid culture and multilayered systems such as organotypic cell culture and culture of intestinal tissue fragments ex vivo. These methods mimic the in vivo situation in vitro by creating 3D culture conditions that reflect the physiological situation of intestinal crypts. Modifications of the composition of the culture media as well as coculturing epithelial organoids with previously described cellular components such as myofibroblasts, collagen, and neurons show the impact of the methods applied to investigate niche interactions in vitro. We further present a novel method to isolate labeled nerves from the enteric nervous system using Dclk1-CreGFP mice. Agnieszka Pastuła, Moritz Middelhoff, Anna Brandtner, Moritz Tobiasch, Bettina Höhl, Andreas H. Nuber, Ihsan Ekin Demir, Steffi Neupert, Patrick Kollmann, Gemma Mazzuoli-Weber, and Michael Quante Copyright © 2016 Agnieszka Pastuła et al. All rights reserved. Differentiation of Bone Marrow Mesenchymal Stem Cells to Cardiomyocyte-Like Cells Is Regulated by the Combined Low Dose Treatment of Transforming Growth Factor-β1 and 5-Azacytidine Mon, 30 Nov 2015 13:57:43 +0000 Bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BMMSCs) are used in cardiac tissue engineering for the regeneration of diseased hearts. We examined the differentiation of rat BMMSCs into cardiomyocyte-like cells when induced with a combined low dose treatment of transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) and 5-azacytidine (5-AZA). Results showed that cell proliferation in the combined low dose treatment group of TGF-β1 and 5-AZA was increased compared with the TGF-β1 group or the 5-AZA group. The cell apoptosis was relieved by combined TGF-β1 and 5-AZA treatment compared to 5-AZA treatment alone. The number of cells positive for myosin heavy chain, connexin-43, α-actin, and troponin I in the combined treatment group was higher than those observed in the TGF-β1 group or the 5-AZA group. Moreover, the combined low dose treatment group of TGF-β1 and 5-AZA reveals the strongest expression of troponin I, α-actin, and phosphorylated extracellular signal-regulated protein kinases 1 and 2 (p-ErK1/2) among the treatment groups. These results suggest that the combined low dose treatment of TGF-β1 and 5-AZA can improve the differentiation potential of rat BMMSCs into cardiomyocyte-like cells and alleviate cell damage effects in vitro. The mechanism that is involved in influencing differentiation may be associated with p-ErK1/2. Shutian Shi, Xingxin Wu, Xiao Wang, Wen Hao, Huangtai Miao, Lei Zhen, and Shaoping Nie Copyright © 2016 Shutian Shi et al. All rights reserved. Comparative Microarray Analysis of Proliferating and Differentiating Murine ENS Progenitor Cells Mon, 30 Nov 2015 13:54:59 +0000 Postnatal neural progenitor cells of the enteric nervous system are a potential source for future cell replacement therapies of developmental dysplasia like Hirschsprung’s disease. However, little is known about the molecular mechanisms driving the homeostasis and differentiation of this cell pool. In this work, we conducted Affymetrix GeneChip experiments to identify differences in gene regulation between proliferation and early differentiation of enteric neural progenitors from neonatal mice. We detected a total of 1333 regulated genes that were linked to different groups of cellular mechanisms involved in cell cycle, apoptosis, neural proliferation, and differentiation. As expected, we found an augmented inhibition in the gene expression of cell cycle progression as well as an enhanced mRNA expression of neuronal and glial differentiation markers. We further found a marked inactivation of the canonical Wnt pathway after the induction of cellular differentiation. Taken together, these data demonstrate the various molecular mechanisms taking place during the proliferation and early differentiation of enteric neural progenitor cells. Peter Helmut Neckel, Roland Mohr, Ying Zhang, Bernhard Hirt, and Lothar Just Copyright © 2016 Peter Helmut Neckel et al. All rights reserved. Long Noncoding RNA Regulation of Pluripotency Mon, 30 Nov 2015 13:11:04 +0000 Pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) represent a unique kind of stem cell, as they are able to indefinitely self-renew and hold the potential to differentiate into any derivative of the three germ layers. As such, human Embryonic Stem Cells (hESCs) and human induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (hiPSCs) provide a unique opportunity for studying the earliest steps of human embryogenesis and, at the same time, are of great therapeutic interest. The molecular mechanisms underlying pluripotency represent a major field of research. Recent evidence suggests that a complex network of transcription factors, chromatin regulators, and noncoding RNAs exist in pluripotent cells to regulate the balance between self-renewal and multilineage differentiation. Regulatory noncoding RNAs come in two flavors: short and long. The first class includes microRNAs (miRNAs), which are involved in the posttranscriptional regulation of cell cycle and differentiation in PSCs. Instead, long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) represent a heterogeneous group of long transcripts that regulate gene expression at transcriptional and posttranscriptional levels. In this review, we focus on the role played by lncRNAs in the maintenance of pluripotency, emphasizing the interplay between lncRNAs and other pivotal regulators in PSCs. Alessandro Rosa and Monica Ballarino Copyright © 2016 Alessandro Rosa and Monica Ballarino. All rights reserved. TBX3 Knockdown Decreases Reprogramming Efficiency of Human Cells Mon, 30 Nov 2015 13:05:39 +0000 TBX3 is a member of the T-box transcription factor family and is involved in the core pluripotency network. Despite this role in the pluripotency network, its contribution to the reprogramming process during the generation of human induced pluripotent stem cells remains elusive. In this respect, we performed reprogramming experiments applying TBX3 knockdown in human fibroblasts and keratinocytes. Knockdown of TBX3 in both somatic cell types decreased the reprogramming efficiencies in comparison to control cells but with unchanged reprogramming kinetics. The resulting iPSCs were indistinguishable from control cells and displayed a normal in vitro differentiation capacity by generating cells of all three germ layers comparable to the controls. Moritz Klingenstein, Stefanie Raab, Kevin Achberger, Alexander Kleger, Stefan Liebau, and Leonhard Linta Copyright © 2016 Moritz Klingenstein et al. All rights reserved. NFATc4 Regulates Sox9 Gene Expression in Acinar Cell Plasticity and Pancreatic Cancer Initiation Mon, 30 Nov 2015 12:56:23 +0000 Acinar transdifferentiation toward a duct-like phenotype constitutes the defining response of acinar cells to external stress signals and is considered to be the initial step in pancreatic carcinogenesis. Despite the requirement for oncogenic Kras in pancreatic cancer (PDAC) development, oncogenic Kras is not sufficient to drive pancreatic carcinogenesis beyond the level of premalignancy. Instead, secondary events, such as inflammation-induced signaling activation of the epidermal growth factor (EGFR) or induction of Sox9 expression, are required for tumor formation. Herein, we aimed to dissect the mechanism that links EGFR signaling to Sox9 gene expression during acinar-to-ductal metaplasia in pancreatic tissue adaptation and PDAC initiation. We show that the inflammatory transcription factor NFATc4 is highly induced and localizes in the nucleus in response to inflammation-induced EGFR signaling. Moreover, we demonstrate that NFATc4 drives acinar-to-ductal conversion and PDAC initiation through direct transcriptional induction of Sox9. Therefore, strategies designed to disrupt NFATc4 induction might be beneficial in the prevention or therapy of PDAC. Elisabeth Hessmann, Jin-San Zhang, Nai-Ming Chen, Marie Hasselluhn, Geou-Yarh Liou, Peter Storz, Volker Ellenrieder, Daniel D. Billadeau, and Alexander Koenig Copyright © 2016 Elisabeth Hessmann et al. All rights reserved. Human Amnion-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells Promote Osteogenic Differentiation in Human Bone Marrow Mesenchymal Stem Cells by Influencing the ERK1/2 Signaling Pathway Mon, 30 Nov 2015 12:42:26 +0000 Human amnion-derived mesenchymal stem cells (HAMSCs) are considered to be an important resource in the field of tissue engineering because of their anti-inflammatory properties and fewer ethical issues associated with their use compared with other sources of stem cells. HAMSCs can be obtained from human amniotic membranes, a readily available and abundant tissue. However, the potential of HAMSCs as seed cells for treating bone deficiency is unknown. In this study, HAMSCs were used to promote proliferation and osteoblastic differentiation in human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (HBMSCs) in a Transwell coculture system. Proliferation levels were investigated by flow cytometry and immunofluorescence staining of 5-ethynyl-2′-deoxyuridine (EdU). Osteoblastic differentiation and mineralization were evaluated in chromogenic alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity substrate assays, Alizarin red S staining, and RT-PCR analysis of early HBMSCs osteogenic marker expression. We demonstrated that HAMSCs stimulated increased alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity, mRNA expression of osteogenic marker genes, and mineralized matrix deposition. Moreover, the effect of HAMSCs was significantly inhibited by U0126, a highly selective inhibitor of extracellular signaling-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) signaling. We demonstrate that HAMSCs promote osteogenic differentiation in HBMSCs by influencing the ERK1/2 signaling pathway. These observations confirm the potential of HAMSCs as a seed cell for the treatment of bone deficiency. Yuli Wang, Fei Jiang, Yi Liang, Ming Shen, and Ning Chen Copyright © 2016 Yuli Wang et al. All rights reserved. Epigenetic Research of Neurodegenerative Disorders Using Patient iPSC-Based Models Mon, 30 Nov 2015 12:28:56 +0000 Epigenetic mechanisms play a role in human disease but their involvement in pathologies from the central nervous system has been hampered by the complexity of the brain together with its unique cellular architecture and diversity. Until recently, disease targeted neural types were only available as postmortem materials after many years of disease evolution. Current in vitro systems of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) generated by cell reprogramming of somatic cells from patients have provided valuable disease models recapitulating key pathological molecular events. Yet whether cell reprogramming on itself implies a truly epigenetic reprogramming, the epigenetic mechanisms governing this process are only partially understood. Moreover, elucidating epigenetic regulation using patient-specific iPSC-derived neural models is expected to have a great impact to unravel the pathophysiology of neurodegenerative diseases and to hopefully expand future therapeutic possibilities. Here we will critically review current knowledge of epigenetic involvement in neurodegenerative disorders focusing on the potential of iPSCs as a promising tool for epigenetic research of these diseases. Rubén Fernández-Santiago and Mario Ezquerra Copyright © 2016 Rubén Fernández-Santiago and Mario Ezquerra. All rights reserved. Human iPSC for Therapeutic Approaches to the Nervous System: Present and Future Applications Mon, 30 Nov 2015 12:14:27 +0000 Many central nervous system (CNS) diseases including stroke, spinal cord injury (SCI), and brain tumors are a significant cause of worldwide morbidity/mortality and yet do not have satisfying treatments. Cell-based therapy to restore lost function or to carry new therapeutic genes is a promising new therapeutic approach, particularly after human iPSCs became available. However, efficient generation of footprint-free and xeno-free human iPSC is a prerequisite for their clinical use. In this paper, we will first summarize the current methodology to obtain footprint- and xeno-free human iPSC. We will then review the current iPSC applications in therapeutic approaches for CNS regeneration and their use as vectors to carry proapoptotic genes for brain tumors and review their applications for modelling of neurological diseases and formulating new therapeutic approaches. Available results will be summarized and compared. Finally, we will discuss current limitations precluding iPSC from being used on large scale for clinical applications and provide an overview of future areas of improvement. In conclusion, significant progress has occurred in deriving iPSC suitable for clinical use in the field of neurological diseases. Current efforts to overcome technical challenges, including reducing labour and cost, will hopefully expedite the integration of this technology in the clinical setting. Maria Giuseppina Cefalo, Andrea Carai, Evelina Miele, Agnese Po, Elisabetta Ferretti, Angela Mastronuzzi, and Isabelle M. Germano Copyright © 2016 Maria Giuseppina Cefalo et al. All rights reserved. Androgen Modulates Functions of Endothelial Progenitor Cells through Activated Egr1 Signaling Mon, 30 Nov 2015 12:05:50 +0000 Researches show that androgens have important effects on migration of endothelial cells and endothelial protection in coronary heart disease. Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) as a progenitor cell type that can differentiate into endothelial cells, have a critical role in angiogenesis and endothelial protection. The relationship between androgen and the functions of EPCs has animated much interest and controversy. In this study, we investigated the angiogenic and migratory functions of EPCs after treatment by dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and the molecular mechanisms as well. We found that DHT treatment enhanced the incorporation of EPCs into tubular structures formed by HUVECs and the migratory activity of EPCs in the transwell assay dose dependently. Moreover, microarray analysis was performed to explore how DHT changes the gene expression profiles of EPCs. We found 346 differentially expressed genes in androgen-treated EPCs. Angiogenesis-related genes like Egr-1, Vcan, Efnb2, and Cdk2ap1 were identified to be regulated upon DHT treatment. Furthermore, the enhanced angiogenic and migratory abilities of EPCs after DHT treatment were inhibited by Egr1-siRNA transfection. In conclusion, our findings suggest that DHT markedly enhances the vessel forming ability and migration capacity of EPCs. Egr1 signaling may be a possible pathway in this process. Yizhou Ye, Xizhe Li, You Zhang, Zhenya Shen, and Junjie Yang Copyright © 2016 Yizhou Ye et al. All rights reserved. Cardiac Niche Influences the Direct Reprogramming of Canine Fibroblasts into Cardiomyocyte-Like Cells Mon, 23 Nov 2015 09:53:34 +0000 The Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophies are caused by mutation of dystrophin gene and primarily affect skeletal and cardiac muscles. Cardiac involvement in dystrophic GRMD dogs has been demonstrated by electrocardiographic studies with the onset of a progressive cardiomyopathy similar to the cardiac disease in DMD patients. In this respect, GRMD is a useful model to explore cardiac and skeletal muscle pathogenesis and for developing new therapeutic protocols. Here we describe a protocol to convert GRMD canine fibroblasts isolated from heart and skin into induced cardiac-like myocytes (ciCLMs). We used a mix of transcription factors (GATA4, HAND2, TBX5, and MEF2C), known to be able to differentiate mouse and human somatic cells into ciCLMs. Exogenous gene expression was obtained using four lentiviral vectors carrying transcription factor genes and different resistance genes. Our data demonstrate a direct switch from fibroblast into ciCLMs with no activation of early cardiac genes. ciCLMs were unable to contract spontaneously, suggesting, differently from mouse and human cells, an incomplete differentiation process. However, when transplanted in neonatal hearts of SCID/Beige mice, ciCLMs participate in cardiac myogenesis. Giacomo Palazzolo, Mattia Quattrocelli, Jaan Toelen, Roberto Dominici, Luigi Anastasia, Guido Tettamenti, Inès Barthelemy, Stephane Blot, Rik Gijsbers, Marco Cassano, and Maurilio Sampaolesi Copyright © 2016 Giacomo Palazzolo et al. All rights reserved. Transcriptome Analysis of Long Noncoding RNAs in Toll-Like Receptor 3-Activated Mesenchymal Stem Cells Mon, 23 Nov 2015 08:54:26 +0000 Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) possess great immunomodulatory capacity which lays the foundation for their therapeutic effects in a variety of diseases. Recently, toll-like receptors (TLR) have been shown to modulate MSC functions; however, the underlying molecular mechanisms are poorly understood. Emerging evidence suggests that long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are an important class of regulators involved in a wide range of biological processes. To explore the potential involvement of lncRNAs in TLR stimulated MSCs, we performed a comprehensive lncRNA and mRNA profiling through microarray. 10.2% of lncRNAs (1733 out of 16967) and 15.1% of mRNA transcripts (1760 out of 11632) were significantly differentially expressed (absolute fold-change 5 , P value ) in TLR3 stimulated MSCs. Furthermore, we characterized the differentially expressed lncRNAs through their classes and length distribution and correlated them with differentially expressed mRNA. Here, we are the first to determine genome-wide lncRNAs expression patterns in TLR3 stimulated MSCs by microarray and this work could provide a comprehensive framework of the transcriptome landscapes of TLR3 stimulated MSCs. Shihua Wang, Xiaoxia Li, and Robert Chunhua Zhao Copyright © 2016 Shihua Wang et al. All rights reserved. Endometrial Mesenchymal Stem Cells Isolated from Menstrual Blood by Adherence Mon, 23 Nov 2015 07:52:18 +0000 Objective. To find a convenient and efficient way to isolate MSCs from human menstrual blood and to investigate their biological characteristics, proliferative capacity, and secretion levels. Methods. MSCs were isolated from menstrual blood of 3 healthy women using adherence. Cell immunological phenotype was examined by flow cytometry; the adipogenic, osteogenic, and chondrogenic differentiation of MSCs was examined by Oil-Red-O staining, ALP staining, and Alcian Blue staining, respectively; and the secretion of cytokines, including vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), was detected using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Results. MB-MSCs were successfully isolated from human menstrual blood using adherence. They were positive for CD73, CD105, CD29, and CD44, but negative for CD31 and CD45. The differentiated MB-MSCs were positive for ALP staining, Oil-Red-O staining, and Alcian Blue staining. In addition, they could secrete antiapoptotic cytokines, such as VEGF, IGF-1, and HGF. Conclusion. It is feasible to isolate MSCs from human menstrual blood, thus avoiding invasive procedures and ethical controversies. Adherence could be a promising alternative to the density gradient centrifugation for the isolation of MSCs from menstrual blood. Xue Du, Qing Yuan, Ye Qu, Yuan Zhou, and Jia Bei Copyright © 2016 Xue Du et al. All rights reserved. Epigenetics and Shared Molecular Processes in the Regeneration of Complex Structures Sun, 22 Nov 2015 14:31:13 +0000 The ability to regenerate complex structures is broadly represented in both plant and animal kingdoms. Although regenerative abilities vary significantly amongst metazoans, cumulative studies have identified cellular events that are broadly observed during regenerative events. For example, structural damage is recognized and wound healing initiated upon injury, which is followed by programmed cell death in the vicinity of damaged tissue and a burst in proliferation of progenitor cells. Sustained proliferation and localization of progenitor cells to site of injury give rise to an assembly of differentiating cells known as the regeneration blastema, which fosters the development of new tissue. Finally, preexisting tissue rearranges and integrates with newly differentiated cells to restore proportionality and function. While heterogeneity exists in the basic processes displayed during regenerative events in different species—most notably the cellular source contributing to formation of new tissue—activation of conserved molecular pathways is imperative for proper regulation of cells during regeneration. Perhaps the most fundamental of such molecular processes entails chromatin rearrangements, which prime large changes in gene expression required for differentiation and/or dedifferentiation of progenitor cells. This review provides an overview of known contributions to regenerative processes by noncoding RNAs and chromatin-modifying enzymes involved in epigenetic regulation. Labib Rouhana and Junichi Tasaki Copyright © 2016 Labib Rouhana and Junichi Tasaki. All rights reserved. Adiponectin Isoforms and Leptin Impact on Rheumatoid Adipose Mesenchymal Stem Cells Function Sun, 22 Nov 2015 14:24:19 +0000 Adiponectin and leptin have recently emerged as potential risk factors in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) pathogenesis. In this study we evaluated the effects of adiponectin and leptin on immunomodulatory function of adipose mesenchymal stem cells (ASCs) derived from infrapatellar fat pad of RA patients. ASCs were stimulated with leptin, low molecular weight (LMW) and high/middle molecular weight (HMW/MMW) adiponectin isoforms. The secretory activity of ASCs and their effect on rheumatoid synovial fibroblasts (RA-FLS) and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from healthy donors have been analysed. RA-ASCs secreted spontaneously TGFβ, IL-6, IL-1Ra, PGE2, IL-8, and VEGF. Secretion of all these factors was considerably upregulated by HMW/MMW adiponectin, but not by LMW adiponectin and leptin. Stimulation with HMW/MMW adiponectin partially abolished proproliferative effect of ASC-derived soluble factors on RA-FLS but did not affect IL-6 secretion in FLS cultures. ASCs pretreated with HMW/MMW adiponectin maintained their anti-inflammatory function towards PBMCs, which was manifested by moderate PBMCs proliferation inhibition and IL-10 secretion induction. We have proved that HMW/MMW adiponectin stimulates secretory potential of rheumatoid ASCs but does not exert strong impact on ASCs function towards RA-FLS and PBMCs. Urszula Skalska and Ewa Kontny Copyright © 2016 Urszula Skalska and Ewa Kontny. All rights reserved. Developmental Pathways Direct Pancreatic Cancer Initiation from Its Cellular Origin Sun, 22 Nov 2015 14:24:04 +0000 Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) is characterized by an extremely poor prognosis, since it is usually diagnosed at advanced stages. In order to employ tools for early detection, a better understanding of the early stages of PDA development from its main precursors, pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PanIN), and intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm (IPMN) is needed. Recent studies on murine PDA models have identified a different exocrine origin for PanINs and IPMNs. In both processes, developmental pathways direct the initiation of PDA precursors from their cellular ancestors. In this review, the current understanding of early PDA development is summarized. Maximilian Reichert, Karin Blume, Alexander Kleger, Daniel Hartmann, and Guido von Figura Copyright © 2016 Maximilian Reichert et al. All rights reserved. A Small RNA-Based Immune System Defends Germ Cells against Mobile Genetic Elements Sun, 22 Nov 2015 14:08:25 +0000 Transposons are mobile genetic elements that threaten the survival of species by destabilizing the germline genomes. Limiting the spread of these selfish elements is imperative. Germ cells employ specialized small regulatory RNA pathways to restrain transposon activity. PIWI proteins and Piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) silence transposons at the transcriptional and posttranscriptional level with loss-of-function mutant animals universally exhibiting sterility often associated with germ cell defects. This short review aims to illustrate basic strategies of piRNA-guided defense against transposons. Mechanisms of piRNA silencing are most readily studied in Drosophila melanogaster, which serves as a model to delineate molecular concepts and as a reference for mammalian piRNA systems. PiRNA pathways utilize two major strategies to handle the challenges of transposon control: (1) the hard-wired molecular memory of prior transpositions enables recognition of mobile genetic elements and discriminates transposons from host genes; (2) a feed-forward adaptation mechanism shapes piRNA populations to selectively combat the immediate threat of transposon transcripts. In flies, maternally contributed PIWI-piRNA complexes bolster both of these lines of defense and ensure transgenerational immunity. While recent studies have provided a conceptual framework of what could be viewed as an ancient immune system, we are just beginning to appreciate its many molecular innovations. Astrid D. Haase Copyright © 2016 Astrid D. Haase. All rights reserved. How to Improve the Survival of Transplanted Mesenchymal Stem Cell in Ischemic Heart? Sun, 22 Nov 2015 13:51:01 +0000 Mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) is an intensely studied stem cell type applied for cardiac repair. For decades, the preclinical researches on animal model and clinical trials have suggested that MSC transplantation exerts therapeutic effect on ischemic heart disease. However, there remain major limitations to be overcome, one of which is the very low survival rate after transplantation in heart tissue. Various strategies have been tried to improve the MSC survival, and many of them showed promising results. In this review, we analyzed the studies in recent years to summarize the methods, effects, and mechanisms of the new strategies to address this question. Liangpeng Li, Xiongwen Chen, Wei Eric Wang, and Chunyu Zeng Copyright © 2016 Liangpeng Li et al. All rights reserved. Epigenetic Control of Haematopoietic Stem Cell Aging and Its Clinical Implications Sun, 22 Nov 2015 13:48:51 +0000 Aging, chronic inflammation, and environmental insults play an important role in a number of disease processes through alterations of the epigenome. In this review we explore how age-related changes in the epigenetic landscape can affect heterogeneity within the haematopoietic stem cell (HSC) compartment and the deriving clinical implications. Fizzah Aziz Choudry and Mattia Frontini Copyright © 2016 Fizzah Aziz Choudry and Mattia Frontini. All rights reserved. A Genomic Study of DNA Alteration Events Caused by Ionizing Radiation in Human Embryonic Stem Cells via Next-Generation Sequencing Sun, 22 Nov 2015 13:39:16 +0000 Ionizing radiation (IR) is a known mutagen that is widely employed for medical diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. To study the extent of genetic variations in DNA caused by IR, we used IR-sensitive human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). Four hESC cell lines, H1, H7, H9, and H14, were subjected to IR at 0.2 or 1 Gy dose and then maintained in culture for four days before being harvested for DNA isolation. Irradiation with 1 Gy dose resulted in significant cell death, ranging from 60% to 90% reduction in cell population. Since IR is often implicated as a risk for inducing cancer, a primer pool targeting genomic “hotspot” regions that are frequently mutated in human cancer genes was used to generate libraries from irradiated and control samples. Using a semiconductor-based next-generation sequencing approach, we were able to consistently sequence these samples with deep coverage for reliable data analysis. A possible rare nucleotide variant was identified in the KIT gene (chr4:55593481) exclusively in H1 hESCs irradiated with 1 Gy dose. More extensive further studies are warranted to assess the extent and distribution of genetic changes in hESCs after IR exposure. Van Nguyen, Irina V. Panyutin, Igor G. Panyutin, and Ronald D. Neumann Copyright © 2016 Van Nguyen et al. All rights reserved. Uric Acid-Induced Adipocyte Dysfunction Is Attenuated by HO-1 Upregulation: Potential Role of Antioxidant Therapy to Target Obesity Sun, 22 Nov 2015 13:29:50 +0000 Increased uric acid levels have been implicated in the pathogenesis of metabolic syndrome. To examine the mechanisms by which this occurs, we hypothesized that an increase in heme oxygenase 1, a potent antioxidant gene, will decrease uric acid levels and adipocyte dysfunction via suppression of ROS and xanthine oxidase (XO) levels. We examined the effect of uric acid on adipogenesis in human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in the presence and absence of cobalt protoporphyrin (CoPP), an HO-1 inducer, and tin mesoporphyrin (SnMP), an HO activity inhibitor. Uric acid increased adipogenesis by increasing NADPH oxidase expression and elevation in the adipogenesis markers C/EBPα, PPARγ, and Mest, while decreasing small lipid droplets and Wnt10b levels. We treated MSCs with fructose, a fuel source that increases uric acid levels. Our results showed that fructose increased XO expression as compared to the control and concomitant treatment with CoPP significantly decreased XO expression and uric acid levels. These beneficial effects of CoPP were reversed by SnMP, supporting a role for HO activity in mediating these effects. These findings demonstrate that increased levels of HO-1 appear crucial in modulating the phenotype of adipocytes exposed to uric acid and in downregulating XO and NADPH oxidase levels. Komal Sodhi, Jordan Hilgefort, George Banks, Chelsea Gilliam, Sarah Stevens, Hayden A. Ansinelli, Morghan Getty, Nader G. Abraham, Joseph I. Shapiro, and Zeid Khitan Copyright © 2016 Komal Sodhi et al. All rights reserved. Dynamic Proteomic Analysis of Pancreatic Mesenchyme Reveals Novel Factors That Enhance Human Embryonic Stem Cell to Pancreatic Cell Differentiation Sun, 22 Nov 2015 13:15:47 +0000 Current approaches in human embryonic stem cell (hESC) to pancreatic beta cell differentiation have largely been based on knowledge gained from developmental studies of the epithelial pancreas, while the potential roles of other supporting tissue compartments have not been fully explored. One such tissue is the pancreatic mesenchyme that supports epithelial organogenesis throughout embryogenesis. We hypothesized that detailed characterization of the pancreatic mesenchyme might result in the identification of novel factors not used in current differentiation protocols. Supplementing existing hESC differentiation conditions with such factors might create a more comprehensive simulation of normal development in cell culture. To validate our hypothesis, we took advantage of a novel transgenic mouse model to isolate the pancreatic mesenchyme at distinct embryonic and postnatal stages for subsequent proteomic analysis. Refined sample preparation and analysis conditions across four embryonic and prenatal time points resulted in the identification of 21,498 peptides with high-confidence mapping to 1,502 proteins. Expression analysis of pancreata confirmed the presence of three potentially important factors in cell differentiation: Galectin-1 (LGALS1), Neuroplastin (NPTN), and the Laminin α-2 subunit (LAMA2). Two of the three factors (LGALS1 and LAMA2) increased expression of pancreatic progenitor transcript levels in a published hESC to beta cell differentiation protocol. In addition, LAMA2 partially blocks cell culture induced beta cell dedifferentiation. Summarily, we provide evidence that proteomic analysis of supporting tissues such as the pancreatic mesenchyme allows for the identification of potentially important factors guiding hESC to pancreas differentiation. Holger A. Russ, Limor Landsman, Christopher L. Moss, Roger Higdon, Renee L. Greer, Kelly Kaihara, Randy Salamon, Eugene Kolker, and Matthias Hebrok Copyright © 2016 Holger A. Russ et al. All rights reserved. Spheroid Culture of Mesenchymal Stem Cells Mon, 16 Nov 2015 08:48:51 +0000 Compared with traditional 2D adherent cell culture, 3D spheroidal cell aggregates, or spheroids, are regarded as more physiological, and this technique has been exploited in the field of oncology, stem cell biology, and tissue engineering. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) cultured in spheroids have enhanced anti-inflammatory, angiogenic, and tissue reparative/regenerative effects with improved cell survival after transplantation. Cytoskeletal reorganization and drastic changes in cell morphology in MSC spheroids indicate a major difference in mechanophysical properties compared with 2D culture. Enhanced multidifferentiation potential, upregulated expression of pluripotency marker genes, and delayed replicative senescence indicate enhanced stemness in MSC spheroids. Furthermore, spheroid formation causes drastic changes in the gene expression profile of MSC in microarray analyses. In spite of these significant changes, underlying molecular mechanisms and signaling pathways triggering and sustaining these changes are largely unknown. Zoe Cesarz and Kenichi Tamama Copyright © 2016 Zoe Cesarz and Kenichi Tamama. All rights reserved. Three-Dimensional Aggregates Enhance the Therapeutic Effects of Adipose Mesenchymal Stem Cells for Ischemia-Reperfusion Induced Kidney Injury in Rats Mon, 16 Nov 2015 08:47:51 +0000 It has been shown that administration of adipose derived mesenchymal stem cells (AdMSCs) enhanced structural and functional recovery of renal ischemia-reperfusion (IR) injury. Low engraftment of stem cells, however, limits the therapeutic effects of AdMSCs. The present study was designed to enhance the therapeutic effects of AdMSCs by delivering AdMSCs in a three-dimensional (3D) aggregates form. Microwell was used to produce 3D AdMSCs aggregates. In vitro data indicated that AdMSCs in 3D aggregates were less susceptible to oxidative and hypoxia stress induced by 200 μM peroxide and hypoxia/reoxygenation, respectively, compared with those cultured in two-dimensional (2D) monolayer. Furthermore, AdMSCs in 3D aggregates secreted more proangiogenic factors than those cultured in 2D monolayer. 2D AdMSCs or 3D AdMSCs aggregates were injected into renal cortex immediately after induction of renal IR injury. In vivo data revealed that 3D aggregates enhanced the effects of AdMSCs in recovering function and structure after renal IR injury. Improved grafted AdMSCs were observed in kidney injected with 3D aggregates compared with AdMSCs cultured in 2D monolayer. Our results demonstrated that 3D AdMSCs aggregated produced by microwell enhanced the retention and therapeutic effects of AdMSCs for renal IR injury. Xiaozhi Zhao, Xuefeng Qiu, Yanting Zhang, Shiwei Zhang, Xiaoping Gu, and Hongqian Guo Copyright © 2016 Xiaozhi Zhao et al. All rights reserved. Extracellular Vesicles: Evolving Factors in Stem Cell Biology Mon, 16 Nov 2015 08:31:20 +0000 Stem cells are proposed to continuously secrete trophic factors that potentially serve as mediators of autocrine and paracrine activities, associated with reprogramming of the tumor microenvironment, tissue regeneration, and repair. Hitherto, significant efforts have been made to understand the level of underlying paracrine activities influenced by stem cell secreted trophic factors, as little is known about these interactions. Recent findings, however, elucidate this role by reporting the effects of stem cell derived extracellular vesicles (EVs) that mimic the phenotypes of the cells from which they originate. Exchange of genetic information utilizing persistent bidirectional communication mediated by stem cell-EVs could regulate stemness, self-renewal, and differentiation in stem cells and their subpopulations. This review therefore discusses stem cell-EVs as evolving communication factors in stem cell biology, focusing on how they regulate cell fates by inducing persistent and prolonged genetic reprogramming of resident cells in a paracrine fashion. In addition, we address the role of stem cell-secreted vesicles in shaping the tumor microenvironment and immunomodulation and in their ability to stimulate endogenous repair processes during tissue damage. Collectively, these functions ensure an enormous potential for future therapies. Muhammad Nawaz, Farah Fatima, Krishna C. Vallabhaneni, Patrice Penfornis, Hadi Valadi, Karin Ekström, Sharad Kholia, Jason D. Whitt, Joseph D. Fernandes, Radhika Pochampally, Jeremy A. Squire, and Giovanni Camussi Copyright © 2016 Muhammad Nawaz et al. All rights reserved. Bone Marrow-Derived Cells as a Therapeutic Approach to Optic Nerve Diseases Mon, 16 Nov 2015 08:11:50 +0000 Following optic nerve injury associated with acute or progressive diseases, retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) of adult mammals degenerate and undergo apoptosis. These diseases have limited therapeutic options, due to the low inherent capacity of RGCs to regenerate and due to the inhibitory milieu of the central nervous system. Among the numerous treatment approaches investigated to stimulate neuronal survival and axonal extension, cell transplantation emerges as a promising option. This review focuses on cell therapies with bone marrow mononuclear cells and bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells, which have shown positive therapeutic effects in animal models of optic neuropathies. Different aspects of available preclinical studies are analyzed, including cell distribution, potential doses, routes of administration, and mechanisms of action. Finally, published and ongoing clinical trials are summarized. Louise A. Mesentier-Louro, Camila Zaverucha-do-Valle, Paulo H. Rosado-de-Castro, Almir J. Silva-Junior, Pedro M. Pimentel-Coelho, Rosalia Mendez-Otero, and Marcelo F. Santiago Copyright © 2016 Louise A. Mesentier-Louro et al. All rights reserved. Delta-Like-1 Changes the Immunomodulatory Property of OP9 Cells Mon, 16 Nov 2015 08:01:31 +0000 As stromal cells and recently confirmed mesenchymal stem cells, OP9 cells support hematopoiesis stem cell (HSC) differentiation into the B lymphocyte lineage, yet Delta-like-1 (DL1) overexpressing OP9 (OP9DL1) cells promote the development of early T lymphocytes from HSC. However, the immunomodulatory capacity of OP9 or OP9DL1 on mature B and T cell proliferation has not been elucidated. Here, we show that OP9 and OP9DL1 have similar proliferation capacities and immunophenotypes except DL1 expression. Compared with OP9, OP9DL1 displayed more osteogenesis and less adipogenesis when cultured in the respective induction media. Both OP9 and OP9DL1 inhibited mature B and T cell proliferation. Furthermore, OP9 showed stronger inhibition on B cell proliferation and OP9DL1 exhibited stronger inhibition on T cell proliferation. With stimulation, both OP9 and OP9DL1 showed increased nitrate oxide (NO) production. The NO levels of OP9 were higher than that of OP9DL1 when stimulated with TNFα/IFNγ or LPS/IL4. Taken together, our study reveals a previously unrecognized role of OP9 and OP9DL1 in mature B and T cell proliferation. DL1 overexpression alone changed the properties of OP9 cells in addition to their role in early B cell development. Lei Zhang, Rui-Jie Dang, Yan-Mei Yang, Dian-Chao Cui, Ping Li, Yan-Li Ni, Tong Hao, Changyong Wang, Xiao-Xia Jiang, and Nan-Zhu Fang Copyright © 2016 Lei Zhang et al. All rights reserved. Encapsulated Whole Bone Marrow Cells Improve Survival in Wistar Rats after 90% Partial Hepatectomy Mon, 16 Nov 2015 07:42:19 +0000 Background and Aims. The use of bone marrow cells has been suggested as an alternative treatment for acute liver failure. In this study, we investigate the effect of encapsulated whole bone marrow cells in a liver failure model. Methods. Encapsulated cells or empty capsules were implanted in rats submitted to 90% partial hepatectomy. The survival rate was assessed. Another group was euthanized at 6, 12, 24, 48, and 72 hours after hepatectomy to study expression of cytokines and growth factors. Results. Whole bone marrow group showed a higher than 10 days survival rate compared to empty capsules group. Gene expression related to early phase of liver regeneration at 6 hours after hepatectomy was decreased in encapsulated cells group, whereas genes related to regeneration were increased at 12, 24, and 48 hours. Whole bone marrow group showed lower regeneration rate at 72 hours and higher expression and activity of caspase 3. In contrast, lysosomal-β-glucuronidase activity was elevated in empty capsules group. Conclusions. The results show that encapsulated whole bone marrow cells reduce the expression of genes involved in liver regeneration and increase those responsible for ending hepatocyte division. In addition, these cells favor apoptotic cell death and decrease necrosis, thus increasing survival. Carolina Uribe-Cruz, Carlos Oscar Kieling, Mónica Luján López, Alessandro Osvaldt, Gustavo Ochs de Muñoz, Themis Reverbel da Silveira, Roberto Giugliani, and Ursula Matte Copyright © 2016 Carolina Uribe-Cruz et al. All rights reserved. Effects of Magnetically Guided, SPIO-Labeled, and Neurotrophin-3 Gene-Modified Bone Mesenchymal Stem Cells in a Rat Model of Spinal Cord Injury Mon, 16 Nov 2015 07:05:19 +0000 Despite advances in our understanding of spinal cord injury (SCI) mechanisms, there are still no effective treatment approaches to restore functionality. Although many studies have demonstrated that transplanting NT3 gene-transfected bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) is an effective approach to treat SCI, the approach is often low efficient in the delivery of engrafted BMSCs to the site of injury. In this study, we investigated the therapeutic effects of magnetic targeting of NT3 gene-transfected BMSCs via lumbar puncture in a rat model of SCI. With the aid of a magnetic targeting cells delivery system, we can not only deliver the engrafted BMSCs to the site of injury more efficiently, but also perform cells imaging in vivo using MR. In addition, we also found that this composite strategy could significantly improve functional recovery and nerve regeneration compared to transplanting NT3 gene-transfected BMSCs without magnetic targeting system. Our results suggest that this composite strategy could be promising for clinical applications. Rui-Ping Zhang, Ling-Jie Wang, Sheng He, Jun Xie, and Jian-Ding Li Copyright © 2016 Rui-Ping Zhang et al. All rights reserved.