[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Stem cell therapy is a promising approach to regenerate healthy tissues starting from a limited amount of self-renewing cells. Immunological rejection of cell therapy products might represent a major limitation. In this study, we investigated the immunological functional profile of mesoangioblasts, vessel-associated myogenic stem cells, currently tested in a phase I-IIa trial, active in our Institute, for the treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. We report that in resting conditions, human mesoangioblasts are poorly immunogenic, inefficient in promoting the expansion of alloreactive T cells and intrinsically resistant to T-cell killing. However, upon exposure to INF-γ or differentiation into myotubes, mesoangioblasts acquire the ability to promote the expansion of alloreactive T cells and acquire sensitivity to T-cell killing. Resistance of mesoangioblasts to T-cell killing is largely due to the expression of the intracellular serine protease inhibitor PI-9, and represents a relevant mechanism of stem cell immune evasion.Molecular Therapy (2014); doi:10.1038/mt.2014.62.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human mesoangioblasts are currently in a phase I/II clinical trial for the treatment of patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. However, limitations associated with the finite life span of these cells combined with the significant numbers of mesoangioblasts required to treat all of the skeletal muscles in these patients restricts their therapeutic potential. Induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived mesoangioblasts may provide the solution to this problem. Although, the idea of using iPSC-derived cell therapies has been proposed for quite some time, our understanding of how the immune system interacts with these cells is inadequate. Herein, we show that iPSC-derived mesoangioblasts (HIDEMs) from healthy donors and, importantly, limb-girdle muscular dystrophy 2D patients exert immunosuppressive effects on T cell proliferation. Interferon gamma (IFN-γ) and tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) play crucial roles in the initial activation of HIDEMs and importantly indoleamine 2,3 dioxygenase (IDO) and prostaglandin E2 (PGE-2) were identified as key mechanisms involved in HIDEM suppression of T cell proliferation. Together with recent studies confirming the myogenic function and regenerative potential of these cells, we suggest that HIDEMs could provide an unlimited alternative source for mesoangioblast-based therapies.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human mesoangioblasts are vessel-associated stem cells that are currently in phase I/II clinical trials for the treatment of patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. To date, little is known about the effect of mesoangioblasts on human immune cells and vice versa. We hypothesized that mesoangioblasts could modulate the function of immune cells in a similar manner to mesenchymal stromal cells. Human mesoangioblasts did not evoke, but rather potently suppressed human T-cell proliferation and effector function in vitro in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Furthermore, mesoangioblasts exert these inhibitory effects uniformly on human CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells in a reversible manner without inducing a state of anergy. Interferon (IFN)-γ and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α play crucial roles in the initial activation of mesoangioblasts. Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) and prostaglandin E-2 (PGE) were identified as key mechanisms of action involved in the mesoangioblast suppression of T-cell proliferation. Together, these data demonstrate a previously unrecognized capacity of mesoangioblasts to modulate immune responses.
Stem cells and development 08/2012; · 4.15 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mesoangioblasts are stem/progenitor cells derived from a subset of pericytes found in muscle that express alkaline phosphatase. They have been shown to ameliorate the disease phenotypes of different animal models of muscular dystrophy and are now undergoing clinical testing in children affected by Duchenne's muscular dystrophy. Here, we show that patients with a related disease, limb-girdle muscular dystrophy 2D (LGMD2D), which is caused by mutations in the gene encoding α-sarcoglycan, have reduced numbers of this pericyte subset and thus produce too few mesoangioblasts for use in autologous cell therapy. Hence, we reprogrammed fibroblasts and myoblasts from LGMD2D patients to generate human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and developed a protocol for the derivation of mesoangioblast-like cells from these iPSCs. The iPSC-derived mesoangioblasts were expanded and genetically corrected in vitro with a lentiviral vector carrying the gene encoding human α-sarcoglycan and a promoter that would ensure expression only in striated muscle. When these genetically corrected human iPSC-derived mesoangioblasts were transplanted into α-sarcoglycan-null immunodeficient mice, they generated muscle fibers that expressed α-sarcoglycan. Finally, transplantation of mouse iPSC-derived mesoangioblasts into α-sarcoglycan-null immunodeficient mice resulted in functional amelioration of the dystrophic phenotype and restoration of the depleted progenitors. These findings suggest that transplantation of genetically corrected mesoangioblast-like cells generated from iPSCs from LGMD2D patients may be useful for treating this type of muscular dystrophy and perhaps other forms of muscular dystrophy as well.
Science translational medicine 06/2012; 4(140):140ra89. · 14.41 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Improving stem cell therapy is a major goal for the treatment of muscle diseases, where physiological muscle regeneration is progressively exhausted. Vessel-associated stem cells, such as mesoangioblasts (MABs), appear to be the most promising cell type for the cell therapy for muscular dystrophies and have been shown to significantly contribute to restoration of muscle structure and function in different muscular dystrophy models. Here, we report that melanoma antigen-encoding gene (MAGE) protein necdin enhances muscle differentiation and regeneration by MABs. When necdin is constitutively overexpressed, it accelerates their differentiation and fusion in vitro and it increases their efficacy in reconstituting regenerating myofibres in the α-sarcoglycan dystrophic mouse. Moreover, necdin enhances survival when MABs are exposed to cytotoxic stimuli that mimic the inflammatory dystrophic environment. Taken together, these data demonstrate that overexpression of necdin may be a crucial tool to boost therapeutic applications of MABs in dystrophic muscle.
Cell death and differentiation 11/2011; 19(5):827-38. · 8.24 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In contrast to conventional gene therapy vectors, human artificial chromosomes (HACs) are episomal vectors that can carry large regions of the genome containing regulatory elements. So far, HACs have not been used as vectors in gene therapy for treating genetic disorders. Here, we report the amelioration of the dystrophic phenotype in the mdx mouse model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) using a combination of HAC-mediated gene replacement and transplantation with blood vessel-associated stem cells (mesoangioblasts). We first genetically corrected mesoangioblasts from dystrophic mdx mice with a HAC vector containing the entire (2.4 Mb) human dystrophin genetic locus. Genetically corrected mesoangioblasts engrafted robustly and gave rise to many dystrophin-positive muscle fibers and muscle satellite cells in dystrophic mice, leading to morphological and functional amelioration of the phenotype that lasted for up to 8 months after transplantation. Thus, HAC-mediated gene transfer shows efficacy in a preclinical model of DMD and offers potential for future clinical translation.
Science translational medicine 08/2011; 3(96):96ra78. · 14.41 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dysferlin deficiency leads to a peculiar form of muscular dystrophy due to a defect in sarcolemma repair and currently lacks a therapy. We developed a cell therapy protocol with wild-type adult murine mesoangioblasts. These cells differentiate with high efficiency into skeletal muscle in vitro but differ from satellite cells because they do not express Pax7. After intramuscular or intra-arterial administration to SCID/BlAJ mice, a novel model of dysferlinopathy, wild-type mesoangioblasts efficiently colonized dystrophic muscles and partially restored dysferlin expression. Nevertheless, functional assays performed on isolated single fibers from transplanted muscles showed a normal repairing ability of the membrane after laser-induced lesions; this result, which reflects gene correction of an enzymatic rather than a structural deficit, suggests that this myopathy may be easier to treat with cell or gene therapy than other forms of muscular dystrophies.
Cell Death & Disease 08/2010; 1:e61. · 5.18 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: PURPOSE
To investigate any toxicity induced by homologous (canine) stem-cells (mesoangioblasts) after four intra-arterial administrations in young beagle dogs. Stem cell treatment is under investigation for a future clinical application of cell therapy by intra-arterial delivery of donor, HLA-matched allogeneic mesoangioblasts, in young children affected by Duchenne-Muscular-Dystrophy (promising results were recently obtained in golden retriever dystrophic dog).
METHOD AND MATERIALS
After general anesthesia and surgical exposition of the femoral-artery, 2 groups of 5 dogs similar for age (5 months), sex (male), body weight (4 kg) were submitted to 4 intra-arterial administrations (three weeks apart) of 50ml/30minutes of mesoangioblasts-solution (3/5 dogs) or normal saline solution (2/5 dogs as controls). Mesoangioblasts-solution (or normal saline solution), through an infusion pump connected to a 4-F catheter, was injected in right-femoral-artery for two times and then, via left-femoral-artery, in descending aorta for other two times after a preliminary aortography to allow evaluation of local and general toxicity. Mesoangioblasts were injected at escalating dose: 6x10.000.000, 1.2x100.000.000, 2.4x100.000.000, 4.8x100.000.000. Cyclosporine as immunosuppressive treatment was administered to all ten dogs and monitored during the follow-up. Periprocedural complications, survival and different clinical signs (body weight, food consumption, ischemic leg evidence, ophthalmoscopy, ECG, hematology/coagulation/biochemistry parameters) were recorded during the follow-up (from first infusion to one month after last infusion). All procedures were performed in accordance to the Legislative Decree concerning the protection of animals used for experimental purposes and approved by the Institutional Ethical Committee.
No periprocedural complications, problems of survival, signs of toxicity during the follow-up occurred. No significant differences between dogs submitted to mesoangioblasts infusion and controls were recorded.
From this preliminary experimental study, no signs of toxicity were recorded in young beagle dogs submitted to local and general intraarterial infusion of canine mesoangioblasts.
Cell therapy by intra-arterial delivery of donor, HLA-matched allogeneic mesoangioblasts, could determine a significant clinical amelioration in young children affected by Duchenne-Muscular-Dystrophy.
Radiological Society of North America 2009 Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting; 12/2009
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Inflammatory macrophages recruited at the site of damaged muscles progressively acquire an alternative activation profile. Inflammatory (M1) and alternatively activated (M2) macrophages exert various and even opposite functions. M1 cells amplify tissue damage, and M2 cells dispose of necrotic fibers and deliver survival signals to myogenic precursors, finally supporting healing. A critical step in muscle healing is the recruitment of myogenic stem cells, including vessel-associated stem cells (mesoangioblasts), which have been demonstrated to home to damaged skeletal muscle selectively and preferentially. Little information is available about the signals involved and the role played by infiltrating macrophages. Here, we report that the polarization of macrophages dramatically skews the secretion of high mobility group box 1 (HMGB1), TNF-alpha, vascular endothelial growth factor, and metalloproteinase 9 (MMP-9), molecules involved in the regulation of cell diapedesis and migration. All polarized macrophage populations were strikingly effective at inducing mesoangioblast migration. By means of specific inhibitors, we verified that the recruitment of mesoangioblasts requires the secretion of HMGB1 and TNF-alpha by M1 cells and of MMP-9 by M2 cells. Together, these data demonstrate a feature, unrecognized previously, of macrophages: their ability to attract stem cells, which is conserved throughout their polarization. Moreover, they open the possibility of novel strategies, aimed at interfering selectively with signals that recruit blood-derived stem cells toward pro- or anti-inflammatory macrophages.
Journal of leukocyte biology 03/2009; 85(5):779-87. · 4.99 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mesoangioblasts have been characterized as a population of vessel-associated stem cells able to differentiate into several mesodermal cell types, including skeletal muscle. Here, we report that the paired box transcription factor Pax3 plays a crucial role in directing mouse mesoangioblasts toward skeletal myogenesis in vitro and in vivo. Mesoangioblasts isolated from the aorta of Pax3 null embryos are severely impaired in skeletal muscle differentiation, whereas most other differentiation programs are not affected by the absence of Pax3. Moreover, Pax3(-/-) null mesoangioblasts failed to rescue the myopathic phenotype of the alpha-sarcoglycan mutant mouse. In contrast, mesoangioblasts from Pax3 gain of function, Pax3(PAX3-FKHR/+), mice display enhanced myogenesis in vitro and are more efficient in regenerating new muscle fibers in this model of muscular dystrophy. These data demonstrate that Pax3 is required for the differentiation of mesoangioblast stem cells into skeletal muscle, in keeping with its role in orchestrating entry into the myogenic program.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mesoangioblasts are recently identified stem/progenitor cells, associated with small vessels of the mesoderm in mammals. Originally described in the mouse embryonic dorsal aorta, similar though not identical cells have been later identified and characterized from postnatal small vessels of skeletal muscle and heart (not described in this unit). They have in common the anatomical location, the expression of endothelial and/or pericyte markers, the ability to proliferate in culture, and the ability to undergo differentiation into various types of mesoderm cells upon proper culture conditions. Currently, the developmental origin of mesoangioblasts, their phenotypic heterogeneity, and the relationship with other mesoderm stem cells are not understood in detail and are the subject of active research. However, from a practical point of view, these cells have been successfully used in cell transplantation protocols that have yielded a significant rescue of structure and function in skeletal muscle of dystrophic mice and dogs. Since the corresponding human cells have been recently isolated and characterized, a clinical trial with these cells is planned in the near future. This unit provides detailed methods for isolation, culture, and characterization of mesoangioblasts.
Current protocols in stem cell biology 01/2008; Chapter 2:Unit 2B.1.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cells derived from blood vessels of human skeletal muscle can regenerate skeletal muscle, similarly to embryonic mesoangioblasts. However, adult cells do not express endothelial markers, but instead express markers of pericytes, such as NG2 proteoglycan and alkaline phosphatase (ALP), and can be prospectively isolated from freshly dissociated ALP(+) cells. Unlike canonical myogenic precursors (satellite cells), pericyte-derived cells express myogenic markers only in differentiated myotubes, which they form spontaneously with high efficiency. When transplanted into severe combined immune deficient-X-linked, mouse muscular dystrophy (scid-mdx) mice, pericyte-derived cells colonize host muscle and generate numerous fibres expressing human dystrophin. Similar cells isolated from Duchenne patients, and engineered to express human mini-dystrophin, also give rise to many dystrophin-positive fibres in vivo. These data show that myogenic precursors, distinct from satellite cells, are associated with microvascular walls in the human skeletal muscle, may represent a correlate of embryonic 'mesoangioblasts' present after birth and may be a promising candidate for future cell-therapy protocols in patients.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a lethal X-linked recessive muscle disease due to defect on the gene encoding dystrophin. The lack of a functional dystrophin in muscles results in the fragility of the muscle fiber membrane with progressive muscle weakness and premature death. There is no cure for DMD and current treatment options focus primarily on respiratory assistance, comfort care, and delaying the loss of ambulation. Recent works support the idea that stem cells can contribute to muscle repair as well as to replenishment of the satellite cell pool. Here we tested the safety of autologous transplantation of muscle-derived CD133+ cells in eight boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy in a 7-month, double-blind phase I clinical trial. Stem cell safety was tested by measuring muscle strength and evaluating muscle structures with MRI and histological analysis. Timed cardiac and pulmonary function tests were secondary outcome measures. No local or systemic side effects were observed in all treated DMD patients. Treated patients had an increased ratio of capillary per muscle fibers with a switch from slow to fast myosin-positive myofibers.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Duchenne muscular dystrophy remains an untreatable genetic disease that severely limits motility and life expectancy in affected children. The only animal model specifically reproducing the alterations in the dystrophin gene and the full spectrum of human pathology is the golden retriever dog model. Affected animals present a single mutation in intron 6, resulting in complete absence of the dystrophin protein, and early and severe muscle degeneration with nearly complete loss of motility and walking ability. Death usually occurs at about 1 year of age as a result of failure of respiratory muscles. Here we report that intra-arterial delivery of wild-type canine mesoangioblasts (vessel-associated stem cells) results in an extensive recovery of dystrophin expression, normal muscle morphology and function (confirmed by measurement of contraction force on single fibres). The outcome is a remarkable clinical amelioration and preservation of active motility. These data qualify mesoangioblasts as candidates for future stem cell therapy for Duchenne patients.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mesoangioblasts are multipotent progenitors of mesodermal tissues. In vitro mesoangioblasts differentiate into many mesoderm cell types, such as smooth, cardiac and striated muscle, bone and endothelium. After transplantation mesoangioblasts colonize mostly mesoderm tissues and differentiate into many cell types of the mesoderm. When delivered through the arterial circulation, mesoangioblasts significantly restore skeletal muscle structure and function in a mouse model of muscular dystrophy. Their ability to extensively self-renew in vitro, while retaining multipotency, qualifies mesoangioblasts as a novel class of stem cells. Phenotype, properties and possible origin of mesoangioblasts are addressed in the first part of this paper. In the second part we will focus on the cell therapy approach for the treatment of Muscular Dystrophy and we will describe why mesangioblasts appear to be promising candidates for this strategy.
Archives italiennes de biologie 10/2005; 143(3-4):235-42. · 1.42 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a common X-linked disease characterized by widespread muscle damage that invariably leads to paralysis and death. There is currently no therapy for this disease. Here we report that a subpopulation of circulating cells expressing AC133, a well-characterized marker of hematopoietic stem cells, also expresses early myogenic markers. Freshly isolated, circulating AC133(+) cells were induced to undergo myogenesis when cocultured with myogenic cells or exposed to Wnt-producing cells in vitro and when delivered in vivo through the arterial circulation or directly into the muscles of transgenic scid/mdx mice (which allow survival of human cells). Injected cells also localized under the basal lamina of host muscle fibers and expressed satellite cell markers such as M-cadherin and MYF5. Furthermore, functional tests of injected muscles revealed a substantial recovery of force after treatment. As these cells can be isolated from the blood, manipulated in vitro, and delivered through the circulation, they represent a possible tool for future cell therapy applications in DMD disease or other muscular dystrophies.
Journal of Clinical Investigation 08/2004; 114(2):182-95. · 13.77 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Little is known about the molecular mechanism underlying specification and differentiation of smooth muscle (SM), and this is, at least in part, because of the few cellular systems available to study the acquisition of a SM phenotype in vitro. Mesoangioblasts are vessel-derived stem cells that can be induced to differentiate into different cell types of the mesoderm, including SM. We performed a DNA microarray analysis of a mesoangioblast clone that spontaneously expresses an immature SM phenotype and compared it with a sister clone mainly composed of undifferentiated progenitor cells. This study allowed us to define a gene expression profile for "stem" cells versus smooth muscle cells (SMCs) in the absence of differentiation inducers such as transforming growth factor beta. Two transcription factors, msx2 and necdin, are expressed at least 100 times more in SMCs than in stem cells, are coexpressed in all SMCs and tissues, are induced by transforming growth factor beta, and, when coexpressed, induce a number of SM markers in mesoangioblast, fibroblast, and endothelial cell lines. Conversely, their downregulation through RNA interference results in a decreased expression of SM markers. These data support the hypothesis that Msx2 and necdin act as master genes regulating SM differentiation in at least a subset of SMCs.
Circulation Research 07/2004; 94(12):1571-8. · 11.09 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: High mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) is an abundant chromatin protein that acts as a cytokine when released in the extracellular milieu by necrotic and inflammatory cells. Here, we show that extracellular HMGB1 and its receptor for advanced glycation end products (RAGE) induce both migration and proliferation of vessel-associated stem cells (mesoangioblasts), and thus may play a role in muscle tissue regeneration. In vitro, HMGB1 induces migration and proliferation of both adult and embryonic mesoangioblasts, and disrupts the barrier function of endothelial monolayers. In living mice, mesoangioblasts injected into the femoral artery migrate close to HMGB1-loaded heparin-Sepharose beads implanted in healthy muscle, but are unresponsive to control beads. Interestingly, alpha-sarcoglycan null dystrophic muscle contains elevated levels of HMGB1; however, mesoangioblasts migrate into dystrophic muscle even if their RAGE receptor is disabled. This implies that the HMGB1-RAGE interaction is sufficient, but not necessary, for mesoangioblast homing; a different pathway might coexist. Although the role of endogenous HMGB1 in the reconstruction of dystrophic muscle remains to be clarified, injected HMGB1 may be used to promote tissue regeneration.
The Journal of Cell Biology 03/2004; 164(3):441-9. · 9.69 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Preclinical or clinical trials for muscular dystrophies have met with modest success, mainly because of inefficient delivery of viral vectors or donor cells to dystrophic muscles. We report here that intra-arterial delivery of wild-type mesoangioblasts, a class of vessel-associated stem cells, corrects morphologically and functionally the dystrophic phenotype of virtually all downstream muscles in adult immunocompetent alpha-sarcoglycan (alpha-SG) null mice, a model organism for limb-girdle muscular dystrophy. When mesoangioblasts isolated from juvenile dystrophic mice and transduced with a lentiviral vector expressing alpha-SG were injected into the femoral artery of dystrophic mice, they reconstituted skeletal muscle in a manner similar to that seen in wild-type cells. The success of this protocol was mainly due to widespread distribution of donor stem cells through the capillary network, a distinct advantage of this strategy over previous approaches.