Stem Cells International The latest articles from Hindawi Publishing Corporation © 2016 , Hindawi Publishing Corporation . All rights reserved. Gingival Mesenchymal Stem/Progenitor Cells: A Unique Tissue Engineering Gem Sun, 29 May 2016 13:43:05 +0000 The human gingiva, characterized by its outstanding scarless wound healing properties, is a unique tissue and a pivotal component of the periodontal apparatus, investing and surrounding the teeth in their sockets in the alveolar bone. In the last years gingival mesenchymal stem/progenitor cells (G-MSCs), with promising regenerative and immunomodulatory properties, have been isolated and characterized from the gingival lamina propria. These cells, in contrast to other mesenchymal stem/progenitor cell sources, are abundant, readily accessible, and easily obtainable via minimally invasive cell isolation techniques. The present review summarizes the current scientific evidence on G-MSCs’ isolation, their characterization, the investigated subpopulations, the generated induced pluripotent stem cells- (iPSC-) like G-MSCs, their regenerative properties, and current approaches for G-MSCs’ delivery. The review further demonstrates their immunomodulatory properties, the transplantation preconditioning attempts via multiple biomolecules to enhance their attributes, and the experimental therapeutic applications conducted to treat multiple diseases in experimental animal models in vivo. G-MSCs show remarkable tissue reparative/regenerative potential, noteworthy immunomodulatory properties, and primary experimental therapeutic applications of G-MSCs are very promising, pointing at future biologically based therapeutic techniques, being potentially superior to conventional clinical treatment modalities. Karim M. Fawzy El-Sayed and Christof E. Dörfer Copyright © 2016 Karim M. Fawzy El-Sayed and Christof E. Dörfer. All rights reserved. Endothelial Progenitor Cells in Diabetic Microvascular Complications: Friends or Foes? Sun, 29 May 2016 08:24:43 +0000 Despite being featured as metabolic disorder, diabetic patients are largely affected by hyperglycemia-induced vascular abnormality. Accumulated evidence has confirmed the beneficial effect of endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) in coronary heart disease. However, antivascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) treatment is the main therapy for diabetic retinopathy and nephropathy, indicating the uncertain role of EPCs in the pathogenesis of diabetic microvascular disease. In this review, we first illustrate how hyperglycemia induces metabolic and epigenetic changes in EPCs, which exerts deleterious impact on their number and function. We then discuss how abnormal angiogenesis develops in eyes and kidneys under diabetes condition, focusing on “VEGF uncoupling with nitric oxide” and “competitive angiopoietin 1/angiopoietin 2” mechanisms that are shared in both organs. Next, we dissect the nature of EPCs in diabetic microvascular complications. After we overview the current EPCs-related strategies, we point out new EPCs-associated options for future exploration. Ultimately, we hope that this review would uncover the mysterious nature of EPCs in diabetic microvascular disease for therapeutics. Cai-Guo Yu, Ning Zhang, Sha-Sha Yuan, Yan Ma, Long-Yan Yang, Ying-Mei Feng, and Dong Zhao Copyright © 2016 Cai-Guo Yu et al. All rights reserved. Mesenchymal Stem Cells and Metabolic Syndrome: Current Understanding and Potential Clinical Implications Sun, 29 May 2016 08:19:02 +0000 Metabolic syndrome is an obesity-based, complicated clinical condition that has become a global epidemic problem with a high associated risk for cardiovascular disease and mortality. Dyslipidemia, hypertension, and diabetes or glucose dysmetabolism are the major factors constituting metabolic syndrome, and these factors are interrelated and share underlying pathophysiological mechanisms. Severe obesity predisposes individuals to metabolic syndrome, and recent data suggest that mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) contribute significantly to adipocyte generation by increasing the number of adipocytes. Accordingly, an increasing number of studies have examined the potential roles of MSCs in managing obesity and metabolic syndrome. However, despite the growing bank of experimental and clinical data, the efficacy and the safety of MSCs in the clinical setting are still to be optimized. It is thus hoped that ongoing and future studies can elucidate the roles of MSCs in metabolic syndrome and lead to MSC-based therapeutic options for affected patients. This review discusses current understanding of the relationship between MSCs and metabolic syndrome and its potential implications for patient management. Kenichi Matsushita Copyright © 2016 Kenichi Matsushita. All rights reserved. Fabrication of Core-Shell PEI/pBMP2-PLGA Electrospun Scaffold for Gene Delivery to Periodontal Ligament Stem Cells Thu, 26 May 2016 13:11:18 +0000 Bone tissue engineering is the most promising technology for enhancing bone regeneration. Scaffolds loaded with osteogenic factors improve the therapeutic effect. In this study, the bioactive PEI (polyethylenimine)/pBMP2- (bone morphogenetic protein-2 plasmid-) PLGA (poly(D, L-lactic-co-glycolic acid)) core-shell scaffolds were prepared using coaxial electrospinning for a controlled gene delivery to hPDLSCs (human periodontal ligament stem cells). The pBMP2 was encapsulated in the PEI phase as a core and PLGA was employed to control pBMP2 release as a shell. First, the scaffold characterization and mechanical properties were evaluated. Then the gene release behavior was analyzed. Our results showed that pBMP2 was released at high levels in the first few days, with a continuous release behavior in the next 28 days. At the same time, PEI/pBMP2 showed high transfection efficiency. Moreover, the core-shell electrospun scaffold showed BMP2 expression for a much longer time (more than 28 days) compared with the single axial electrospun scaffold, as evaluated by qRT-PCR and western blot after culturing with hPDLSCs. These results suggested that the core-shell PEI/pBMP2-PLGA scaffold fabricated by coaxial electrospinning had a good gene release behavior and showed a prolonged expression time with a high transfection efficiency. Qiao Xie, Lie-ni Jia, Hong-yu Xu, Xiang-gang Hu, Wei Wang, and Jun Jia Copyright © 2016 Qiao Xie et al. All rights reserved. Clonal Heterogeneity in the Neuronal and Glial Differentiation of Dental Pulp Stem/Progenitor Cells Thu, 26 May 2016 11:56:11 +0000 Cellular heterogeneity presents an important challenge to the development of cell-based therapies where there is a fundamental requirement for predictable and reproducible outcomes. Transplanted Dental Pulp Stem/Progenitor Cells (DPSCs) have demonstrated early promise in experimental models of spinal cord injury and stroke, despite limited evidence of neuronal and glial-like differentiation after transplantation. Here, we report, for the first time, on the ability of single cell-derived clonal cultures of murine DPSCs to differentiate in vitro into immature neuronal-like and oligodendrocyte-like cells. Importantly, only DPSC clones with high nestin mRNA expression levels were found to successfully differentiate into Map2 and NF-positive neuronal-like cells. Neuronally differentiated DPSCs possessed a membrane capacitance comparable with primary cultured striatal neurons and small inward voltage-activated K+ but not outward Na+ currents were recorded suggesting a functionally immature phenotype. Similarly, only high nestin-expressing clones demonstrated the ability to adopt Olig1, Olig2, and MBP-positive immature oligodendrocyte-like phenotype. Together, these results demonstrate that appropriate markers may be used to provide an early indication of the suitability of a cell population for purposes where differentiation into a specific lineage may be beneficial and highlight that further understanding of heterogeneity within mixed cellular populations is required. Fraser I. Young, Vsevolod Telezhkin, Sarah J. Youde, Martin S. Langley, Maria Stack, Paul J. Kemp, Rachel J. Waddington, Alastair J. Sloan, and Bing Song Copyright © 2016 Fraser I. Young et al. All rights reserved. Modeling Alzheimer’s Disease with Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells: Current Challenges and Future Concerns Tue, 24 May 2016 06:22:07 +0000 Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most prevalent type of dementia and its pathology is characterized by deposition of extracellular β-amyloid plaques, intracellular neurofibrillary tangles, and extensive neuron loss. While only a few familial AD cases are due to mutations in three causative genes (APP, PSEN1, and PSEN2), the ultimate cause behind the rest of the cases, called sporadic AD, remains unknown. Current animal and cellular models of human AD, which are based on the Aβ and tau hypotheses only, partially resemble the familial AD. As a result, there is a pressing need for the development of new models providing insights into the pathological mechanisms of AD and for the discovery of ways to treat or delay the onset of the disease. Recent preclinical research suggests that stem cells can be used to model AD. Indeed, human induced pluripotent stem cells can be differentiated into disease-relevant cell types that recapitulate the unique genome of a sporadic AD patient or family member. In this review, we will first summarize the current research findings on the genetic and pathological mechanisms of AD. We will then highlight the existing induced pluripotent stem cell models of AD and, lastly, discuss the potential clinical applications in this field. Weiwei Zhang, Bin Jiao, Miaojin Zhou, Tao Zhou, and Lu Shen Copyright © 2016 Weiwei Zhang et al. All rights reserved. Differentiation-Associated MicroRNA Alterations in Mouse Heart-Derived Sca-1+CD31− and Sca-1+CD31+ Cells Thu, 19 May 2016 17:13:10 +0000 Cardiac resident stem/progenitor cells (CSC/CPCs) are critical to the cellular and functional integrity of the heart because they maintain myocardial cell homeostasis. Several populations of CSC/CPCs have been identified based on expression of different stem cell-associated antigens. Sca-1+ cells in the cardiac tissue may be the most common CSC/CPCs. However, they are a heterogeneous cell population and, in transplants, clinicians might transplant more endothelial cells, cardiomyocytes, or other cells than stem cells. The purposes of this study were to (1) isolate CSC/CPCs with Lin−CD45−Sca-1+CD31− and Lin−CD45−Sca-1+CD31+ surface antigens using flow-activated cell sorting; (2) investigate their differentiation potential; and (3) determine the molecular basis for differences in stemness characteristics between cell subtypes. The results indicated that mouse heart-derived Sca-1+CD31− cells were multipotent and retained the ability to differentiate into different cardiac cell lineages, but Sca-1+CD31+ cells did not. Integrated analysis of microRNA and mRNA expression indicated that 20 microRNAs and 49 mRNAs were inversely associated with Sca-1+CD31− and Sca-1+CD31+ subtype stemness characteristics. In particular, mmu-miR-322-5p had more targeted and inversely associated genes and transcription factors and might have higher potential for CSC/CPCs differentiation. Qiong Wu, Jinxi Zhan, Yun Li, Xiaoxia Wang, Lu Xu, Juan Yu, Shiming Pu, and Zuping Zhou Copyright © 2016 Qiong Wu et al. All rights reserved. Cell Fate and Differentiation of Bone Marrow Mesenchymal Stem Cells Thu, 19 May 2016 09:23:04 +0000 Osteoblasts and bone marrow adipocytes originate from bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BMMSCs) and there appears to be a reciprocal relationship between adipogenesis and osteoblastogenesis. Alterations in the balance between adipogenesis and osteoblastogenesis in BMMSCs wherein adipogenesis is increased relative to osteoblastogenesis are associated with decreased bone quality and quantity. Several proteins have been reported to regulate this reciprocal relationship but the exact nature of the signals regulating the balance between osteoblast and adipocyte formation within the bone marrow space remains to be determined. In this review, we focus on the role of Transducin-Like Enhancer of Split 3 (TLE3), which was recently reported to regulate the balance between osteoblast and adipocyte formation from BMMSCs. We also discuss evidence implicating canonical Wnt signalling, which plays important roles in both adipogenesis and osteoblastogenesis, in regulating TLE3 expression. Currently, there is demand for new effective therapies that target the stimulation of osteoblast differentiation to enhance bone formation. We speculate that reducing TLE3 expression or activity in BMMSCs could be a useful approach towards increasing osteoblast numbers and reducing adipogenesis in the bone marrow environment. Shoichiro Kokabu, Jonathan W. Lowery, and Eijiro Jimi Copyright © 2016 Shoichiro Kokabu et al. All rights reserved. Novel Strategies for the Improvement of Stem Cells’ Transplantation in Degenerative Retinal Diseases Wed, 18 May 2016 06:53:25 +0000 Currently, there is no cure for the permanent vision loss caused by degenerative retinal diseases. One of the novel therapeutic strategies aims at the development of stem cells (SCs) based neuroprotective and regenerative medicine. The main sources of SCs for the treatment of retinal diseases are the embryo, the bone marrow, the region of neuronal genesis, and the eye. The success of transplantation depends on the origin of cells, the route of administration, the local microenvironment, and the proper combinative formula of growth factors. The feasibility of SCs based therapies for degenerative retinal diseases was proved in the preclinical setting. However, their translation into the clinical realm is limited by various factors: the immunogenicity of the cells, the stability of the cell phenotype, the predilection of SCs to form tumors in situ, the abnormality of the microenvironment, and the association of a synaptic rewiring. To improve SCs based therapies, nanotechnology offers a smart delivery system for biomolecules, such as growth factors for SCs implantation and differentiation into retinal progenitors. This review explores the main advances in the field of retinal transplantology and applications of nanotechnology in the treatment of retinal diseases, discusses the challenges, and suggests new therapeutic approaches in retinal transplantation. Simona Delia Nicoară, Sergiu Șușman, Oana Tudoran, Otilia Bărbos, Gabriela Cherecheș, Simion Aștilean, Monica Potara, and Olga Sorițău Copyright © 2016 Simona Delia Nicoară et al. All rights reserved. Advances in the Treatment of Ischemic Diseases by Mesenchymal Stem Cells Tue, 17 May 2016 06:35:15 +0000 Ischemic diseases are a group of diseases, including ischemic cerebrovascular disease, ischemic cardiomyopathy (ICM), and diabetic foot as well as other diseases which are becoming a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the whole world. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been used to treat a variety of ischemic diseases in animal models and clinical trials. Lots of recent publications demonstrated that MSCs therapy was safe and relieved symptoms in patients of ischemic disease. However, many factors could influence therapeutic efficacy including route of delivery, MSCs’ survival and residential rate in vivo, timing of transplantation, particular microenvironment, and patient’s clinical condition. In this review, the current status, therapeutic potential, and the detailed factors of MSCs-based therapeutics for ischemic cerebrovascular disease, ICM, and diabetic foot are presented and discussed. We think that MSCs transplantation would constitute an ideal option for patients with ischemic diseases. Shujing Li, Xianyun Wang, Jing Li, Jun Zhang, Fan Zhang, Jie Hu, Yixin Qi, Baoyong Yan, and Quanhai Li Copyright © 2016 Shujing Li et al. All rights reserved. Bone Morphogenetic Protein 4 Signalling in Neural Stem and Progenitor Cells during Development and after Injury Mon, 16 May 2016 12:44:42 +0000 Substantial progress has been made in identifying the extracellular signalling pathways that regulate neural stem and precursor cell biology in the central nervous system (CNS). The bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs), in particular BMP4, are key players regulating neuronal and glial cell development from neural precursor cells in the embryonic, postnatal, and injured CNS. Here we review recent studies on BMP4 signalling in the generation of neurons, astrocytes, and oligodendroglial cells in the CNS. We also discuss putative mechanisms that BMP4 may utilise to influence glial cell development following CNS injury and highlight some questions for further research. Alistair E. Cole, Simon S. Murray, and Junhua Xiao Copyright © 2016 Alistair E. Cole et al. All rights reserved. Renal Cancer Stem Cells: Characterization and Targeted Therapies Sun, 15 May 2016 09:24:28 +0000 Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is a major neoplasm with high incidence in western countries. Tumors are heterogeneous and are composed of differentiated cancer cells, stromal cells, and cancer stem cells (CSCs). CSCs possess two main properties: self-renewal and proliferation. Additionally, they can generate new tumors once transplanted into immunodeficient mice. Several approaches have been described to identify them, through the expression of cell markers, functional assays, or a combination of both. As CSCs are involved in the resistance mechanisms to radio- and chemotherapies, several new strategies have been proposed to directly target CSCs in RCC. One approach drives CSCs to differentiate into cancer cells sensitive to conventional treatments, while the other proposes to eradicate them selectively. A series of innovative therapies aiming at eliminating CSCs have been designed to treat other types of cancer and have not been experimented with on RCC yet, but they reveal themselves to be promising. In conclusion, CSCs are an important player in carcinogenesis and represent a valid target for therapy in RCC patients. Anna Julie Peired, Alessandro Sisti, and Paola Romagnani Copyright © 2016 Anna Julie Peired et al. All rights reserved. Stem Cell Therapy for Treatment of Ocular Disorders Sun, 15 May 2016 07:12:25 +0000 Sustenance of visual function is the ultimate focus of ophthalmologists. Failure of complete recovery of visual function and complications that follow conventional treatments have shifted search to a new form of therapy using stem cells. Stem cell progenitors play a major role in replenishing degenerated cells despite being present in low quantity and quiescence in our body. Unlike other tissues and cells, regeneration of new optic cells responsible for visual function is rarely observed. Understanding the transcription factors and genes responsible for optic cells development will assist scientists in formulating a strategy to activate and direct stem cells renewal and differentiation. We review the processes of human eye development and address the strategies that have been exploited in an effort to regain visual function in the preclinical and clinical state. The update of clinical findings of patients receiving stem cell treatment is also presented. Padma Priya Sivan, Sakinah Syed, Pooi-Ling Mok, Akon Higuchi, Kadarkarai Murugan, Abdullah A. Alarfaj, Murugan A. Munusamy, Rukman Awang Hamat, Akihiro Umezawa, and Suresh Kumar Copyright © 2016 Padma Priya Sivan et al. All rights reserved. Probing Neural Transplant Networks In Vivo with Optogenetics and Optogenetic fMRI Thu, 12 May 2016 10:02:29 +0000 Understanding how stem cell-derived neurons functionally integrate into the brain upon transplantation has been a long sought-after goal of regenerative medicine. However, methodological limitations have stood as a barrier, preventing key insight into this fundamental problem. A recently developed technology, termed optogenetic functional magnetic resonance imaging (ofMRI), offers a possible solution. By combining targeted activation of transplanted neurons with large-scale, noninvasive measurements of brain activity, ofMRI can directly visualize the effect of engrafted neurons firing on downstream regions. Importantly, this tool can be used to identify not only whether transplanted neurons have functionally integrated into the brain, but also which regions they influence and how. Furthermore, the precise control afforded over activation enables the input-output properties of engrafted neurons to be systematically studied. This review summarizes the efforts in stem cell biology and neuroimaging that made this development possible and outlines its potential applications for improving and optimizing stem cell-based therapies in the future. Andrew J. Weitz and Jin Hyung Lee Copyright © 2016 Andrew J. Weitz and Jin Hyung Lee. All rights reserved. Human Bone Marrow Stromal Cells: A Reliable, Challenging Tool for In Vitro Osteogenesis and Bone Tissue Engineering Approaches Wed, 11 May 2016 13:12:21 +0000 Adult human bone marrow stromal cells (hBMSC) are important for many scientific purposes because of their multipotency, availability, and relatively easy handling. They are frequently used to study osteogenesis in vitro. Most commonly, hBMSC are isolated from bone marrow aspirates collected in clinical routine and cultured under the “aspect plastic adherence” without any further selection. Owing to the random donor population, they show a broad heterogeneity. Here, the osteogenic differentiation potential of 531 hBMSC was analyzed. The data were supplied to correlation analysis involving donor age, gender, and body mass index. hBMSC preparations were characterized as follows: (a) how many passages the osteogenic characteristics are stable in and (b) the influence of supplements and culture duration on osteogenic parameters (tissue nonspecific alkaline phosphatase (TNAP), octamer binding transcription factor 4, core-binding factor alpha-1, parathyroid hormone receptor, bone gla protein, and peroxisome proliferator-activated protein γ). The results show that no strong prediction could be made from donor data to the osteogenic differentiation potential; only the ratio of induced TNAP to endogenous TNAP could be a reliable criterion. The results give evidence that hBMSC cultures are stable until passage 7 without substantial loss of differentiation potential and that established differentiation protocols lead to osteoblast-like cells but not to fully authentic osteoblasts. Ute Hempel, Katrin Müller, Carolin Preissler, Carolin Noack, Sabine Boxberger, Peter Dieter, Martin Bornhäuser, and Manja Wobus Copyright © 2016 Ute Hempel et al. All rights reserved. Lovastatin Decreases the Expression of CD133 and Influences the Differentiation Potential of Human Embryonic Stem Cells Tue, 10 May 2016 16:14:40 +0000 The lipophilic statin lovastatin decreases cholesterol synthesis and is a safe and effective treatment for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. Growing evidence points at antitumor potential of lovastatin. Therefore, understanding the molecular mechanism of lovastatin function in different cell types is critical to effective therapy design. In this study, we investigated the effects of lovastatin on the differentiation potential of human embryonic stem (hES) cells (H9 cell line). Multiparameter flow cytometric assay was used to detect changes in the expression of transcription factors characteristic of hES cells. We found that lovastatin treatment delayed NANOG downregulation during ectodermal and endodermal differentiation. Likewise, expression of ectodermal (SOX1 and OTX2) and endodermal (GATA4 and FOXA2) markers was higher in treated cells. Exposure of hES cells to lovastatin led to a minor decrease in the expression of SSEA-3 and a significant reduction in CD133 expression. Treated cells also formed fewer embryoid bodies than control cells. By analyzing hES with and without CD133, we discovered that CD133 expression is required for proper formation of embryoid bodies. In conclusion, lovastatin reduced the heterogeneity of hES cells and impaired their differentiation potential. Ade Kallas-Kivi, Annika Trei, and Toivo Maimets Copyright © 2016 Ade Kallas-Kivi et al. All rights reserved. Regenerative Potential of Mesenchymal Stromal Cells: Age-Related Changes Mon, 09 May 2016 16:28:11 +0000 Preclinical and clinical studies have shown that a therapeutic effect results from mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) transplant. No systematic information is currently available regarding whether donor age modifies MSC regenerative potential on cutaneous wound healing. Here, we evaluate whether donor age influences this potential. Two different doses of bone marrow MSCs (BM-MSCs) from young, adult, or old mouse donors or two doses of their acellular derivatives mesenchymal stromal cells (acd-MSCs) were intradermally injected around wounds in the midline of C57BL/6 mice. Every two days, wound healing was macroscopically assessed (wound closure) and microscopically assessed (reepithelialization, dermal-epidermal junction, skin appendage regeneration, granulation tissue, leukocyte infiltration, and density dermal collagen fibers) after 12 days from MSC transplant. Significant differences in the wound closure kinetic, quality, and healing of skin regenerated were observed in lesions which received BM-MSCs from different ages or their acd-MSCs compared to lesions which received vehicle. Nevertheless, our data shows that adult’s BM-MSCs or their acd-MSCs were the most efficient for recovery of most parameters analyzed. Our data suggest that MSC efficacy was negatively affected by donor age, where the treatment with adult’s BM-MSCs or their acd-MSCs in cutaneous wound promotes a better tissue repair/regeneration. This is due to their paracrine factors secretion. Flavia Bruna, David Contador, Paulette Conget, Benjamín Erranz, Claudia L. Sossa, and Martha L. Arango-Rodríguez Copyright © 2016 Flavia Bruna et al. All rights reserved. Effect of Chromatin-Remodeling Agents in Hepatic Differentiation of Rat Bone Marrow-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells In Vitro and In Vivo Sun, 08 May 2016 08:01:42 +0000 Epigenetic events, including covalent histone modifications and DNA methylation, play fundamental roles in the determination of lineage-specific gene expression and cell fates. The aim of this study was to determine whether the DNA methyltransferase inhibitor (DNMTi) 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine (5-aza-dC) and the histone deacetylase inhibitor (HDACi) trichostatin A (TSA) promote the hepatic differentiation of rat bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (rBM-MSCs) and their therapeutic effect on liver damage. 1 μM TSA and 20 μM 5-aza-dC were added to standard hepatogenic medium especially at differentiation and maturation steps and their potential function on hepatic differentiation in vitro and in vivo was determined. Exposure of rBM-MSCs to 1 μM TSA at both the differentiation and maturation steps considerably improved hepatic differentiation. TSA enhanced the development of the hepatocyte shape, promoted the chronological expression of hepatocyte-specific markers, and improved hepatic functions. In contrast, treatment of rBM-MSCs with 20 μM 5-aza-dC alone or in combination with TSA was ineffective in improving hepatic differentiation in vitro. TSA and/or 5-aza-dC derived hepatocytes-like cells failed to improve the therapeutic potential in liver damage. We conclude that HDACis enhance hepatic differentiation in a time-dependent manner, while DNMTis do not induce the hepatic differentiation of rBM-MSCs in vitro. Their in vivo function needs further investigation. Danna Ye, Tong Li, Philip Heraud, and Rangsun Parnpai Copyright © 2016 Danna Ye et al. All rights reserved. The Effect of MSCs Derived from the Human Umbilical Cord Transduced by Fibroblast Growth Factor-20 on Parkinson’s Disease Thu, 05 May 2016 13:58:23 +0000 Cell therapy is a potential therapeutic approach for Parkinson’s disease (PD). Mesenchymal stem cells derived from the human umbilical cord (hUC-MSCs) give priority to PD patients because of multiple advantages. The appropriate gene transduction of hUC-MSC before transplantation is a promising procedure for cell therapy. Fibroblast growth factor-20 (FGF-20) has been shown to protect dopaminergic neurons against a range of toxic insults in vitro. In this study, the hUC-MSCs were gene transduced with FGF-20, and then we transplanted them into the PD mice model. The results showed that MSC-FGF-20 treatment obviously improved the behavior of PD, accompanied by the increase of tyrosine carboxylase- (TH-) positive cell and dopamine (DA). Furtherly, immunohistochemistry disclosed that MSC-FGF-20 obviously promoted the degradation of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB), a transcription factor that controls genes encoding proinflammatory cytokines, highly expressed in the nigrostriatal dopaminergic regions in PD patients. Therefore, MSC-FGF-20 has a potential for improving PD, closely related to the degradation of NF-κB. Li Jinfeng, Wang Yunliang, Liu Xinshan, Wang Shanshan, Xu Chunyang, Xue Peng, Yang Xiaopeng, Xu Zhixiu, Yin Honglei, Cao Xia, Duan Haifeng, and Cao Bingzhen Copyright © 2016 Li Jinfeng et al. All rights reserved. Cell-Based Strategies for Meniscus Tissue Engineering Thu, 05 May 2016 06:41:52 +0000 Meniscus injuries remain a significant challenge due to the poor healing potential of the inner avascular zone. Following a series of studies and clinical trials, tissue engineering is considered a promising prospect for meniscus repair and regeneration. As one of the key factors in tissue engineering, cells are believed to be highly beneficial in generating bionic meniscus structures to replace injured ones in patients. Therefore, cell-based strategies for meniscus tissue engineering play a fundamental role in meniscal regeneration. According to current studies, the main cell-based strategies for meniscus tissue engineering are single cell type strategies; cell coculture strategies also were applied to meniscus tissue engineering. Likewise, on the one side, the zonal recapitulation strategies based on mimicking meniscal differing cells and internal architectures have received wide attentions. On the other side, cell self-assembling strategies without any scaffolds may be a better way to build a bionic meniscus. In this review, we primarily discuss cell seeds for meniscus tissue engineering and their application strategies. We also discuss recent advances and achievements in meniscus repair experiments that further improve our understanding of meniscus tissue engineering. Wei Niu, Weimin Guo, Shufeng Han, Yun Zhu, Shuyun Liu, and Quanyi Guo Copyright © 2016 Wei Niu et al. All rights reserved. A Systematic Comparison Identifies an ATP-Based Viability Assay as Most Suitable Read-Out for Drug Screening in Glioma Stem-Like Cells Thu, 05 May 2016 06:06:43 +0000 Serum-free culture methods for patient-derived primary glioma cultures, selecting for glioma stem-like cells (GSCs), are becoming the gold standard in neurooncology research. These GSCs can be implemented in drug screens to detect patient-specific responses, potentially bridging the translational gap to personalized medicine. Since numerous compounds are available, a rapid and reliable readout for drug efficacies is required. This can be done using approaches that measure viability, confluency, cytotoxicity, or apoptosis. To determine which assay is best suitable for drug screening, 10 different assays were systematically tested on established glioma cell lines and validated on a panel of GSCs. General applicability was assessed using distinct treatment modalities, being temozolomide, radiation, rapamycin, and the oncolytic adenovirus Delta24-RGD. The apoptosis and cytotoxicity assays did not unequivocally detect responses and were excluded from further testing. The NADH- and ATP-based viability assays revealed comparable readout for all treatments; however, the latter had smaller standard deviations and direct readout. Importantly, drugs that interfere with cell metabolism require alternative techniques such as confluency monitoring to accurately measure treatment effects. Taken together, our data suggest that the combination of ATP luminescence assays with confluency monitoring provides the most specific and reproducible readout for drug screening on primary GSCs. A. Kleijn, J. J. Kloezeman, R. K. Balvers, M. van der Kaaij, C. M. F. Dirven, S. Leenstra, and M. L. M. Lamfers Copyright © 2016 A. Kleijn et al. All rights reserved. Environmental Ligands of the Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor and Their Effects in Models of Adult Liver Progenitor Cells Wed, 04 May 2016 12:55:32 +0000 The toxicity of environmental and dietary ligands of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) in mature liver parenchymal cells is well appreciated, while considerably less attention has been paid to their impact on cell populations exhibiting phenotypic features of liver progenitor cells. Here, we discuss the results suggesting that the consequences of the AhR activation in the cellular models derived from bipotent liver progenitors could markedly differ from those in hepatocytes. In contact-inhibited liver progenitor cells, the AhR agonists induce a range of effects potentially linked with tumor promotion. They can stimulate cell cycle progression/proliferation and deregulate cell-to-cell communication, which is associated with downregulation of proteins forming gap junctions, adherens junctions, and desmosomes (such as connexin 43, E-cadherin, β-catenin, and plakoglobin), as well as with reduced cell adhesion and inhibition of intercellular communication. At the same time, toxic AhR ligands may affect the activity of the signaling pathways contributing to regulation of liver progenitor cell activation and/or differentiation, such as downregulation of Wnt/β-catenin and TGF-β signaling, or upregulation of transcriptional targets of YAP/TAZ, the effectors of Hippo signaling pathway. These data illustrate the need to better understand the potential role of liver progenitors in the AhR-mediated liver carcinogenesis and tumor promotion. Jan Vondráček and Miroslav Machala Copyright © 2016 Jan Vondráček and Miroslav Machala. All rights reserved. Functional Properties of Human Stem Cell-Derived Neurons in Health and Disease Wed, 04 May 2016 12:30:06 +0000 Stem cell-derived neurons from various source materials present unique model systems to examine the fundamental properties of central nervous system (CNS) development as well as the molecular underpinnings of disease phenotypes. In order to more accurately assess potential therapies for neurological disorders, multiple strategies have been employed in recent years to produce neuronal populations that accurately represent in vivo regional and transmitter phenotypes. These include new technologies such as direct conversion of somatic cell types into neurons and glia which may accelerate maturation and retain genetic hallmarks of aging. In addition, novel forms of genetic manipulations have brought human stem cells nearly on par with those of rodent with respect to gene targeting. For neurons of the CNS, the ultimate phenotypic characterization lies with their ability to recapitulate functional properties such as passive and active membrane characteristics, synaptic activity, and plasticity. These features critically depend on the coordinated expression and localization of hundreds of ion channels and receptors, as well as scaffolding and signaling molecules. In this review I will highlight the current state of knowledge regarding functional properties of human stem cell-derived neurons, with a primary focus on pluripotent stem cells. While significant advances have been made, critical hurdles must be overcome in order for this technology to support progression toward clinical applications. Jason P. Weick Copyright © 2016 Jason P. Weick. All rights reserved. Biomaterial Applications in Cell-Based Therapy in Experimental Stroke Wed, 04 May 2016 11:39:30 +0000 Stroke is an important health issue corresponding to the second cause of mortality and first cause of severe disability with no effective treatments after the first hours of onset. Regenerative approaches such as cell therapy provide an increase in endogenous brain structural plasticity but they are not enough to promote a complete recovery. Tissue engineering has recently aroused a major interesting development of biomaterials for use into the central nervous system. Many biomaterials have been engineered based on natural compounds, synthetic compounds, or a mix of both with the aim of providing polymers with specific properties. The mechanical properties of biomaterials can be exquisitely regulated forming polymers with different stiffness, modifiable physical state that polymerizes in situ, or small particles encapsulating cells or growth factors. The choice of biomaterial compounds should be adapted for the different applications, structure target, and delay of administration. Biocompatibilities with embedded cells and with the host tissue and biodegradation rate must be considerate. In this paper, we review the different applications of biomaterials combined with cell therapy in ischemic stroke and we explore specific features such as choice of biomaterial compounds and physical and mechanical properties concerning the recent studies in experimental stroke. Ligia S. B. Boisserand, Tomonobu Kodama, Jérémie Papassin, Rachel Auzely, Anaïck Moisan, Claire Rome, and Olivier Detante Copyright © 2016 Ligia S. B. Boisserand et al. All rights reserved. Genetic Engineering of Mesenchymal Stem Cells to Induce Their Migration and Survival Tue, 03 May 2016 12:30:27 +0000 Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are very attractive for regenerative medicine due to their relatively easy derivation and broad range of differentiation capabilities, either naturally or induced through cell engineering. However, efficient methods of delivery to diseased tissues and the long-term survival of grafted cells still need improvement. Here, we review genetic engineering approaches designed to enhance the migratory capacities of MSCs, as well as extend their survival after transplantation by the modulation of prosurvival approaches, including prevention of senescence and apoptosis. We highlight some of the latest examples that explore these pivotal points, which have great relevance in cell-based therapies. Adam Nowakowski, Piotr Walczak, Barbara Lukomska, and Miroslaw Janowski Copyright © 2016 Adam Nowakowski et al. All rights reserved. A Comparative Evaluation of the Mechanical Properties of Two Calcium Phosphate/Collagen Composite Materials and Their Osteogenic Effects on Adipose-Derived Stem Cells Thu, 28 Apr 2016 17:12:55 +0000 Adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs) are ideal seed cells for use in bone tissue engineering and they have many advantages over other stem cells. In this study, two kinds of calcium phosphate/collagen composite scaffolds were prepared and their effects on the proliferation and osteogenic differentiation of ADSCs were investigated. The hydroxyapatite/β-tricalcium phosphate (HA/β-TCP) composite scaffolds (HTPSs), which have an additional β-tricalcium phosphate, resulted in better proliferation of ADSCs and showed osteogenesis-promoting effects. Therefore, such composite scaffolds, in combination with ADSCs or on their own, would be promising for use in bone regeneration and potential clinical therapy for bone defects. Qing Li, Tong Wang, Gui-feng Zhang, Xin Yu, Jing Zhang, Gang Zhou, and Zhi-hui Tang Copyright © 2016 Qing Li et al. All rights reserved. Hepatic Stellate Cell-Derived Microvesicles Prevent Hepatocytes from Injury Induced by APAP/H2O2 Thu, 28 Apr 2016 13:28:50 +0000 Hepatic stellate cells (HSCs), previously described for liver-specific mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), appear to contribute to liver regeneration. Microvesicles (MVs) are nanoscale membrane fragments, which can regulate target cell function by transferring contents from their parent cells. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of HSC-derived MVs on xenobiotic-induced liver injury. Rat and human hepatocytes, BRL-3A and HL-7702, were used to build hepatocytes injury models by n-acetyl-p-aminophenol n-(APAP) or H2O2 treatment. MVs were prepared from human and rat HSCs, LX-2, and HST-T6 and, respectively, added to injured BRL-3A and HL-7702 hepatocytes. MTT assay was utilized to determine cell proliferation. Cell apoptosis was analyzed by flow cytometry and hoechst33258 staining. Western blot was used for analyzing the expression of activated caspase-3. Liver injury indicators, alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) in culture medium were also assessed. Results showed that (1) HSC-MVs derived from LX-2 and HST-T6 were positive to CD90 and annexin V surface markers; (2) HSC-MVs dose-dependently improved the viability of hepatocytes in both injury models; (3) HSC-MVs dose-dependently inhibited the APAP/H2O2 induced hepatocytes apoptosis and activated caspase-3 expression and leakage of LDH, ALT, and AST. Our results demonstrate that HSC-derived MVs protect hepatocytes from toxicant-induced injury. Renwei Huang, Qunwen Pan, Xiaotang Ma, Yan Wang, Yaolong Liang, Bingyan Dai, Xiaorong Liao, Mingyi Li, and Huilai Miao Copyright © 2016 Renwei Huang et al. All rights reserved. Human Embryonic Stem Cells: A Model for the Study of Neural Development and Neurological Diseases Thu, 28 Apr 2016 09:19:55 +0000 Although the mechanism of neurogenesis has been well documented in other organisms, there might be fundamental differences between human and those species referring to species-specific context. Based on principles learned from other systems, it is found that the signaling pathways required for neural induction and specification of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) recapitulated those in the early embryo development in vivo at certain degree. This underscores the usefulness of hESCs in understanding early human neural development and reinforces the need to integrate the principles of developmental biology and hESC biology for an efficient neural differentiation. Piya Prajumwongs, Oratai Weeranantanapan, Thiranut Jaroonwitchawan, and Parinya Noisa Copyright © 2016 Piya Prajumwongs et al. All rights reserved. Tissue Inhibitor of Matrix Metalloproteinases-1 Knockdown Suppresses the Proliferation of Human Adipose-Derived Stem Cells Wed, 27 Apr 2016 13:18:25 +0000 Tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases-1 (TIMP-1) is a multifunctional matrix metalloproteinase, and it is involved in the regulation of cell proliferation and apoptosis in various cell types. However, little is known about the effect of TIMP-1 expression on the proliferation of adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs). Therefore, TIMP-1 expression in the ADSCs was firstly detected by western blotting, and TIMP-1 gene was knocked down by lentivirus-mediated shRNA. Cell proliferation was then evaluated by MTT assay and Ki67 staining, respectively. Cell cycle progression was determined by flow cytometry. The changes of p51, p21, cyclin E, cyclin-dependent kinase 2 (CDK2), and P-CDK2 caused by TIMP-1 knockdown were detected by western blotting. The results indicated that ADSCs highly expressed TIMP-1 protein, and the knockdown of TIMP-1 inhibited cell proliferation and arrested cell cycle progression at G1 phase in the ADSCs possibly through the upregulation of p53, p21, and P-CDK2 protein levels and concurrent downregulation of cyclin E and CDK2 protein levels. These findings suggest that TIMP-1 works as a positive regulator of cell proliferation in ADSCs. Peihua Zhang, Jin Li, Yawei Qi, Xudong Tang, Jianfeng Duan, Li Liu, Zeyong Wu, Jie Liang, Jiangfeng Li, Xian Wang, Guofang Zeng, and Hongwei Liu Copyright © 2016 Peihua Zhang et al. All rights reserved. Comparison of the Biological Characteristics of Mesenchymal Stem Cells Derived from Bone Marrow and Skin Wed, 27 Apr 2016 13:16:32 +0000 Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) exhibit high proliferation and self-renewal capabilities and are critical for tissue repair and regeneration during ontogenesis. They also play a role in immunomodulation. MSCs can be isolated from a variety of tissues and have many potential applications in the clinical setting. However, MSCs of different origins may possess different biological characteristics. In this study, we performed a comprehensive comparison of MSCs isolated from bone marrow and skin (BMMSCs and SMSCs, resp.), including analysis of the skin sampling area, separation method, culture conditions, primary and passage culture times, cell surface markers, multipotency, cytokine secretion, gene expression, and fibroblast-like features. The results showed that the MSCs from both sources had similar cell morphologies, surface markers, and differentiation capacities. However, the two cell types exhibited major differences in growth characteristics; the primary culture time of BMMSCs was significantly shorter than that of SMSCs, whereas the growth rate of BMMSCs was lower than that of SMSCs after passaging. Moreover, differences in gene expression and cytokine secretion profiles were observed. For example, secretion of proliferative cytokines was significantly higher for SMSCs than for BMMSCs. Our findings provide insights into the different biological functions of both cell types. Ruifeng Liu, Wenjuan Chang, Hong Wei, and Kaiming Zhang Copyright © 2016 Ruifeng Liu et al. All rights reserved.