|Contralaterally transplanted human embryonic stem cell-derived neural precursor cells (ENStem-A) migrate and improve brain functions in stroke-damaged rats. |
Chang, Da-Jeong, et al.
Exp. Mol. Med., 45: e53 (2013)
The transplantation of neural precursor cells (NPCs) is known to be a promising approach to ameliorating behavioral deficits after stroke in a rodent model of middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAo). Previous studies have shown that transplanted NPCs migrate toward the infarct region, survive and differentiate into mature neurons to some extent. However, the spatiotemporal dynamics of NPC migration following transplantation into stroke animals have yet to be elucidated. In this study, we investigated the fates of human embryonic stem cell (hESC)-derived NPCs (ENStem-A) for 8 weeks following transplantation into the side contralateral to the infarct region using 7.0T animal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). T2- and T2*-weighted MRI analyses indicated that the migrating cells were clearly detectable at the infarct boundary zone by 1 week, and the intensity of the MRI signals robustly increased within 4 weeks after transplantation. Afterwards, the signals were slightly increased or unchanged. At 8 weeks, we performed Prussian blue staining and immunohistochemical staining using human-specific markers, and found that high percentages of transplanted cells migrated to the infarct boundary. Most of these cells were CXCR4-positive. We also observed that the migrating cells expressed markers for various stages of neural differentiation, including Nestin, Tuj1, NeuN, TH, DARPP-32 and SV38, indicating that the transplanted cells may partially contribute to the reconstruction of the damaged neural tissues after stroke. Interestingly, we found that the extent of gliosis (glial fibrillary acidic protein-positive cells) and apoptosis (TUNEL-positive cells) were significantly decreased in the cell-transplanted group, suggesting that hESC-NPCs have a positive role in reducing glia scar formation and cell death after stroke. No tumors formed in our study. We also performed various behavioral tests, including rotarod, stepping and modified neurological severity score tests, and found that the transplanted animals exhibited significant improvements in sensorimotor functions during the 8 weeks after transplantation. Taken together, these results strongly suggest that hESC-NPCs have the capacity to migrate to the infarct region, form neural tissues efficiently and contribute to behavioral recovery in a rodent model of ischemic stroke.
|A continuum of cell states spans pluripotency and lineage commitment in human embryonic stem cells. |
Hough, SR; Laslett, AL; Grimmond, SB; Kolle, G; Pera, MF
Commitment in embryonic stem cells is often depicted as a binary choice between alternate cell states, pluripotency and specification to a particular germ layer or extraembryonic lineage. However, close examination of human ES cell cultures has revealed significant heterogeneity in the stem cell compartment.We isolated subpopulations of embryonic stem cells using surface markers, then examined their expression of pluripotency genes and lineage specific transcription factors at the single cell level, and tested their ability to regenerate colonies of stem cells. Transcript analysis of single embryonic stem cells showed that there is a gradient and a hierarchy of expression of pluripotency genes in the population. Even cells at the top of the hierarchy generally express only a subset of the stem cell genes studied. Many cells co-express pluripotency and lineage specific genes. Cells along the continuum show a progressively decreasing likelihood of self renewal as their expression of stem cell surface markers and pluripotency genes wanes. Most cells that are positive for stem cell surface markers express Oct-4, but only those towards the top of the hierarchy express the nodal receptor TDGF-1 and the growth factor GDF3.These findings on gene expression in single embryonic stem cells are in concert with recent studies of early mammalian development, which reveal molecular heterogeneity and a stochasticity of gene expression in blastomeres. Our work indicates that only a small fraction of the population resides at the top of the hierarchy, that lineage priming (co-expression of stem cell and lineage specific genes) characterizes pluripotent stem cell populations, and that extrinsic signaling pathways are upstream of transcription factor networks that control pluripotency.Full Text Article