Epigenetic Regulation of Dental Pulp Stem Cell FateRead the full article
Stem Cells International publishes papers in all areas of stem cell biology and applications. The journal publishes basic, translational, and clinical research, including animal models and clinical trials.
Chief Editor, Professor Li, has a background in cardiac stem cell transplantation, using young stem cells to promote tissue repair following injury to rejuvenate the aged individual, and the development of biomaterials that can easily integrate into damaged heart tissue.
Latest ArticlesMore articles
Vessel Wall-Derived Mesenchymal Stromal Cells Share Similar Differentiation Potential and Immunomodulatory Properties with Bone Marrow-Derived Stromal Cells
Purpose. This study is aimed at investigating the phenotype, differentiation potential, immunomodulatory properties, and responsiveness of saphenous vein vessel wall-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (SV-MSCs) to various TLR ligands and proinflammatory cytokines, as well as comparing their features to those of their bone marrow-derived counterparts (BM-MSCs). Methods. SV-MSCs were isolated by enzymatic digestion of the saphenous vein vessel wall. Phenotype analysis was carried out by flow cytometry and microscopy, whereas adipogenic, chondrogenic, and osteogenic differentiation potentials were tested in in vitro assays. For comparative analysis, the expression of different stemness, proliferation, and differentiation-related genes was determined by Affymetrix gene array. To compare the immunomodulatory properties of SV-MSCs and BM-MSCs, mixed lymphocyte reaction was applied. To investigate their responses to various activating stimuli, MSCs were treated with TLR ligands (LPS, PolyI:C) or proinflammatory cytokines (TNFα, IL-1β, IFNγ), and the expression of various early innate immune response-related genes was assessed by qPCR, while secretion of selected cytokines and chemokines was measured by ELISA. Results. The isolated SV-MSCs were able to differentiate into bone, fat, and cartilage cells/direction in vitro. SV-MSCs expressed the most important MSC markers (CD29, CD44, CD73, CD90, and CD105) and shared almost identical phenotypic characteristics with BM-MSCs. Their gene expression pattern and activation pathways were close to those of BM-MSCs. SV-MSCs showed better immunosuppressive activity inhibiting phytohemagglutinin-induced T lymphocyte proliferation in vitro than BM-MSCs. Cellular responses to treatments mimicking inflammatory conditions were comparable in the bone marrow- and saphenous vein-derived MSCs. Namely, similar to BM-MSCs, SV-MSCs secreted increased amount of IL-6 and IL-8 after 12- or 24-hour treatment with LPS, PolyI:C, TNFα, or IL-1β, compared to untreated controls. Interestingly, a different CXCL-10/IP-10 secretion pattern could be observed under inflammatory conditions in the two types of MSCs. Conclusion. Based on our results, cells isolated from saphenous vein vessel wall fulfilled the ISCT’s (International Society for Cellular Therapy) criteria for multipotent mesenchymal stromal cells, and no significant differences in the phenotype, gene expression pattern, and responsiveness to inflammatory stimuli could be observed between BM-MSCs and SV-MSCs, while the latter cells have more potent immunosuppressive activity in vitro. Further functional assays have to be performed to reveal whether SV-MSCs could be useful for certain regenerative therapeutic applications or tissue engineering purposes.
Small Molecule Epigenetic Modulators in Pure Chemical Cell Fate Conversion
Although innovative technologies for somatic cell reprogramming and transdifferentiation provide new strategies for the research of translational medicine, including disease modeling, drug screening, artificial organ development, and cell therapy, recipient safety remains a concern due to the use of exogenous transcription factors during induction. To resolve this problem, new induction approaches containing clinically applicable small molecules have been explored. Small molecule epigenetic modulators such as DNA methylation writer inhibitors, histone methylation writer inhibitors, histone acylation reader inhibitors, and histone acetylation eraser inhibitors could overcome epigenetic barriers during cell fate conversion. In the past few years, significant progress has been made in reprogramming and transdifferentiation of somatic cells with small molecule approaches. In the present review, we systematically discuss recent achievements of pure chemical reprogramming and transdifferentiation.
Generation of Insulin-Producing Cells from Canine Adipose Tissue-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells
The potential of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to differentiate into nonmesodermal cells such as pancreatic beta cells has been reported. New cell-based therapy using MSCs for diabetes mellitus is anticipated as an alternative treatment option to insulin injection or islet transplantation in both human and veterinary medicine. Several protocols were reported for differentiation of MSCs into insulin-producing cells (IPCs), but no studies have reported IPCs generated from canine MSCs. The purpose of this study was to generate IPCs from canine adipose tissue-derived MSCs (AT-MSCs) in vitro and to investigate the effects of IPC transplantation on diabetic mice in vivo. Culturing AT-MSCs with the differentiation protocol under a two-dimensional culture system did not produce IPCs. However, spheroid-like small clusters consisting of canine AT-MSCs and human recombinant peptide μ-pieces developed under a three-dimensional (3D) culture system were successfully differentiated into IPCs. The generated IPCs under 3D culture condition were stained with dithizone and anti-insulin antibody. Canine IPCs also showed gene expression typical for pancreatic beta cells and increased insulin secretion in response to glucose stimulation. The blood glucose levels in streptozotocin-induced diabetic mice were decreased after injection with the supernatant of canine IPCs, but the hyperglycemic states of diabetic mice were not improved after transplanting IPCs subcutaneously or intramesenterically. The histological examination showed that the transplanted small clusters of IPCs were successfully engrafted to the mice and included cells positive for insulin by immunofluorescence. Several factors, such as the transplanted cell number, the origin of AT-MSCs, and the differentiation protocol, were considered potential reasons for the inability to improve the hyperglycemic state after IPC transplantation. These findings suggest that canine AT-MSCs can be differentiated into IPCs under a 3D culture system and IPC transplantation may be a new treatment option for dogs with diabetes mellitus.
Hypoxia-Induced Mesenchymal Stem Cells Exhibit Stronger Tenogenic Differentiation Capacities and Promote Patellar Tendon Repair in Rabbits
Tendon injury is a common but tough medical problem. Unsatisfactory clinical results have been reported in tendon repair using mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) therapy, creating a need for a better strategy to induce MSCs to tenogenic differentiation. This study was designed to examine the effect of hypoxia on the tenogenic differentiation of different MSCs and their tenogenic differentiation capacities under hypoxia condition in vitro and to investigate the in vivo inductility of hypoxia in tenogenesis. Adipose tissue-derived MSCs (AMSCs) and bone marrow-derived MSCs (BMSCs) were isolated and characterized. The expression of hypoxia-induced factor-1 alpha (Hif-1α) was examined to confirm the establishment of hypoxia condition. qRT-PCR, western blot, and immunofluorescence staining were used to evaluate the expression of tendon-associated marker Col-1a1, Col-3a1, Dcn, and Tnmd in AMSCs and BMSCs under hypoxia condition, compared with Tgf-β1 induction. In vivo, a patellar tendon injury model was established. Normoxic and hypoxic BMSCs were cultured and implanted. Histological, biomechanical, and transmission electron microscopy analyses were performed to assess the improved healing effect of hypoxic BMSCs on tendon injury. Our in vitro results showed that hypoxia remarkably increased the expression of Hif-1α and that hypoxia not only promoted a significant increase in tenogenic markers in both AMSCs and BMSCs compared with the normoxia group but also showed higher inductility compared with Tgf-β1. In addition, hypoxic BMSCs exhibited higher potential of tenogenic differentiation than hypoxic AMSCs. Our in vivo results demonstrated that hypoxic BMSCs possessed better histological and biomechanical properties than normoxic BMSCs, as evidenced by histological scores, patellar tendon biomechanical parameters, and the range and average of collagen fibril diameters. These findings suggested that hypoxia may be a practical and reliable strategy to induce tenogenic differentiation of BMSCs for tendon repair and could enhance the effectiveness of MSCs therapy in treating tendon injury.
Effects of DMSO on the Pluripotency of Cultured Mouse Embryonic Stem Cells (mESCs)
DMSO is a commonly used solvent in biological studies, as it is an amphipathic molecule soluble in both aqueous and organic media. For that reason, it is the vehicle of choice for several water-insoluble substances used in research. At the molecular and cellular level, DMSO is a hydrogen-bound disrupter, an intercellular electrical uncoupler, and a cryoprotectant, among other properties. Importantly, DMSO often has overlooked side effects. In stem cell research, the literature is scarce, but there are reports on the effect of DMSO in human embryoid body differentiation and on human pluripotent stem cell priming towards differentiation, via modulation of cell cycle. However, in mouse embryonic stem cell (mESC) culture, there is almost no available information. Taking into consideration the almost ubiquitous use of DMSO in experiments involving mESCs, we aimed to understand the effect of very low doses of DMSO (0.0001%-0.2%), usually used to introduce pharmacological inhibitors/modulators, in mESCs cultured in two different media (2i and FBS-based media). Our results show that in the E14Tg2a mESC line used in this study, even the smallest concentration of DMSO had minor effects on the total number of cells in serum-cultured mESCs. However, these effects could not be explained by alterations in cell cycle or apoptosis. Furthermore, DMSO did not affect pluripotency or differentiation potential. All things considered, and although control experiments should be carried out in each cell line that is used, it is reasonable to conclude that DMSO at the concentrations used here has a minimal effect on this particular mESC line.
Adipose Tissue-Derived Stem Cells Alleviate Cold Allodynia in a Rat Spinal Nerve Ligation Model of Neuropathic Pain
Neuropathic pain caused by lesions or nervous system dysfunction is a neuroimmune disease with limited therapeutic options. Adipose tissue-derived stem cells (ASCs) are multipotent mesenchymal stem cells with potent immunosuppressive properties, and their use as novel cell-based therapeutics have been proposed in many immune diseases. However, the analgesic effect and efficacy of ASCs to treat neuropathic pain remain unclear. This study, thus, investigated whether ASCs or ASC-derived culture medium can relieve neuropathic pain behaviors (i.e., mechanical and cold allodynia) in a rat model with L5 spinal nerve ligation. Intrathecal injection of ASCs significantly reduced cold allodynia, but not mechanical allodynia. Importantly, cold allodynia was completely reversed in rats with repeated injections of ASCs. In contrast, intrathecal injection of ASC-derived culture medium or retro-orbital injection of ASCs had no effect on neuropathic pain behaviors. These results suggest a novel and alternative therapeutic application of ASCs to target specific neuropathic pain behaviors.