Enhancement of Polysialic Acid Expression Improves Function of Embryonic Stem-Derived Dopamine Neuron Grafts in Parkinsonian Mice
ABSTRACT There has been considerable progress in obtaining engraftable embryonic stem (ES) cell-derived midbrain dopamine neurons for cell replacement therapy in models of Parkinson's disease; however, limited integration and striatal reinnervation of ES-derived grafts remain a major challenge for future clinical translation. In this paper, we show that enhanced expression of polysialic acid results in improved graft efficiency in correcting behavioral deficits in Parkinsonian mice. This result is accompanied by two potentially relevant cellular changes: greater survival of transplanted ES-derived dopamine neurons and robust sprouting of tyrosine hydroxylase-positive processes into host tissue. Because the procedures used to enhance polysialic acid are easily translated to other cell types and species, this approach may represent a general strategy to improve graft integration in cell-based therapies.
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ABSTRACT: Advanced age is the primary risk factor for Parkinson disease (PD). In PD patients and rodent models of PD, advanced age is associated with inferior symptomatic benefit following intrastriatal grafting of embryonic dopamine (DA) neurons, a pattern believed to result from decreased survival and reinnervation provided by grafted neurons in the aged host. To help understand the capacity of the aged, parkinsonian striatum to be remodeled with new DA terminals, we used a grafting model and examined whether increasing the number of grafted DA neurons in aged rats would translate to enhanced behavioral recovery. Young (3 mo), middle-aged (15 mo), and aged (22 mo) parkinsonian rats were grafted with proportionately increasing numbers of embryonic ventral mesencephalic (VM) cells to evaluate whether the limitations of the graft environment in subjects of advancing age can be offset by increased numbers of transplanted neurons. Despite robust survival of grafted neurons in aged rats, reinnervation of striatal neurons remained inferior and amelioration of levodopa-induced dyskinesias (LID) was delayed or absent. This study demonstrates that: 1) counter to previous evidence, under certain conditions the aged striatum can support robust survival of grafted DA neurons; and 2) unknown factors associated with the aged striatum result in inferior integration of graft and host, and continue to present obstacles to full therapeutic efficacy of DA cell-based therapy in this model of aging. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc.Neurobiology of Disease 03/2015; 77. DOI:10.1016/j.nbd.2015.03.005 · 5.20 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: After years of incremental progress, several recent studies have succeeded in deriving disease-relevant cell types from human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC) sources. The prospect of an unlimited cell source, combined with promising preclinical data, indicates that hPSC technology may be on the verge of clinical translation. In this Review, we discuss recent progress in directed differentiation, some of the new technologies that have facilitated the success of hPSC therapies and the remaining hurdles on the road towards developing hPSC-based cell therapies.Nature Reviews Genetics 01/2014; 15(2):82-92. DOI:10.1038/nrg3563 · 39.79 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Recent studies have shown evidence of behavioral recovery after transplantation of human pluripotent stem cell (PSC)-derived neural cells in animal models of neurological disease. However, little is known about the mechanisms underlying graft function. Here we use optogenetics to modulate in real time electrophysiological and neurochemical properties of mesencephalic dopaminergic (mesDA) neurons derived from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). In mice that had recovered from lesion-induced Parkinsonian motor deficits, light-induced selective silencing of graft activity rapidly and reversibly re-introduced the motor deficits. The re-introduction of motor deficits was prevented by the dopamine agonist apomorphine. These results suggest that functionality depends on graft neuronal activity and dopamine release. Combining optogenetics, slice electrophysiology and pharmacological approaches, we further show that mesDA-rich grafts modulate host glutamatergic synaptic transmission onto striatal medium spiny neurons in a manner reminiscent of endogenous mesDA neurons. Thus, application of optogenetics in cell therapy can link transplantation, animal behavior and postmortem analysis to enable the identification of mechanisms that drive recovery.Nature Biotechnology 01/2015; DOI:10.1038/nbt.3124 · 39.08 Impact Factor