[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human breast cancers are broadly classified based on their gene-expression profiles into luminal- and basal-type tumors. These two major tumor subtypes express markers corresponding to the major differentiation states of epithelial cells in the breast: luminal (EpCAM(+)) and basal/myoepithelial (CD10(+)). However, there are also rare types of breast cancers, such as metaplastic carcinomas, where tumor cells exhibit features of alternate cell types that no longer resemble breast epithelium. Until now, it has been difficult to identify the cell type(s) in the human breast that gives rise to these various forms of breast cancer. Here we report that transformation of EpCAM(+) epithelial cells results in the formation of common forms of human breast cancer, including estrogen receptor-positive and estrogen receptor-negative tumors with luminal and basal-like characteristics, respectively, whereas transformation of CD10(+) cells results in the development of rare metaplastic tumors reminiscent of the claudin-low subtype. We also demonstrate the existence of CD10(+) breast cells with metaplastic traits that can give rise to skin and epidermal tissues. Furthermore, we show that the development of metaplastic breast cancer is attributable, in part, to the transformation of these metaplastic breast epithelial cells. These findings identify normal cellular precursors to human breast cancers and reveal the existence of a population of cells with epidermal progenitor activity within adult human breast tissues.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 09/2011; 109(8):2772-7. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pluripotent, human stem cells hold tremendous promise as a source of progenitor and terminally differentiated cells for application in future regenerative therapies. However, such therapies will be dependent upon the development of novel approaches that can best assess tissue outcomes of pluripotent stem cell-derived cells and will be essential to better predict their safety and stability following in vivo transplantation.
In this study we used engineered, human skin equivalents (HSEs) as a platform to characterize fibroblasts that have been derived from human embryonic stem (hES) cell. We characterized the phenotype and the secretion profile of two distinct hES-derived cell lines with properties of mesenchymal cells (EDK and H9-MSC) and compared their biological potential upon induction of differentiation to bone and fat and following their incorporation into the stromal compartment of engineered, HSEs.
While both EDK and H9-MSC cell lines exhibited similar morphology and mesenchymal cell marker expression, they demonstrated distinct functional properties when incorporated into the stromal compartment of HSEs. EDK cells displayed characteristics of dermal fibroblasts that could support epithelial tissue development and enable re-epithelialization of wounds generated using a 3D tissue model of cutaneous wound healing, which was linked to elevated production of hepatocyte growth factor (HGF). Lentiviral shRNA-mediated knockdown of HGF resulted in a dramatic decrease of HGF secretion from EDK cells that led to a marked reduction in their ability to promote keratinocyte proliferation and re-epithelialization of cutaneous wounds. In contrast, H9-MSCs demonstrated features of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) but not those of dermal fibroblasts, as they underwent multilineage differentiation in monolayer culture, but were unable to support epithelial tissue development and repair and produced significantly lower levels of HGF.
Our findings demonstrate that hES-derived cells could be directed to specified and alternative mesenchymal cell fates whose function could be distinguished in engineered HSEs. Characterization of hES-derived mesenchymal cells in 3D, engineered HSEs demonstrates the utility of this tissue platform to predict the functional properties of hES-derived fibroblasts before their therapeutic transplantation.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human induced pluripotent stem (hiPS) cells offer a novel source of patient-specific cells for regenerative medicine. However, the biological potential of iPS-derived cells and their similarities to cells differentiated from human embryonic stem (hES) cells remain unclear. We derived fibroblast-like cells from two hiPS cell lines and show that their phenotypic properties and patterns of DNA methylation were similar to that of mature fibroblasts and to fibroblasts derived from hES cells. iPS-derived fibroblasts (iPDK) and their hES-derived counterparts (EDK) showed similar cell morphology throughout differentiation, and patterns of gene expression and cell surface markers were characteristic of mature fibroblasts. Array-based methylation analysis was performed for EDK, iPDK and their parental hES and iPS cell lines, and hierarchical clustering revealed that EDK and iPDK had closely-related methylation profiles. DNA methylation analysis of promoter regions associated with extracellular matrix (ECM)-production (COL1A1) by iPS- and hESC-derived fibroblasts and fibroblast lineage commitment (PDGFRβ), revealed promoter demethylation linked to their expression, and patterns of transcription and methylation of genes related to the functional properties of mature stromal cells were seen in both hiPS- and hES-derived fibroblasts. iPDK cells also showed functional properties analogous to those of hES-derived and mature fibroblasts, as seen by their capacity to direct the morphogenesis of engineered human skin equivalents. Characterization of the functional behavior of ES- and iPS-derived fibroblasts in engineered 3D tissues demonstrates the utility of this tissue platform to predict the capacity of iPS-derived cells before their therapeutic application.
PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(2):e17128. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The co-evolution of tumors and their microenvironment involves bidirectional communication between tumor cells and tumor-associated stroma. Various cell types are present in tumor-associated stroma, of which fibroblasts are the most abundant. The Rac exchange factor Tiam1 is implicated in multiple signaling pathways in epithelial tumor cells and lack of Tiam1 in tumor cells retards tumor growth in Tiam1 knockout mouse models. Conversely, tumors arising in Tiam1 knockout mice have increased invasiveness. We have investigated the role of Tiam1 in tumor-associated fibroblasts as a modulator of tumor cell invasion and metastasis, using retroviral delivery of short hairpin RNA to suppress Tiam1 levels in three different experimental models. In spheroid co-culture of mammary epithelial cells and fibroblasts, Tiam1 silencing in fibroblasts led to increased epithelial cell outgrowth into matrix. In tissue-engineered human skin, Tiam1 silencing in dermal fibroblasts led to increased invasiveness of epidermal keratinocytes with pre-malignant features. In a model of human breast cancer in mice, co-implantation of mammary fibroblasts inhibited tumor invasion and metastasis, which was reversed by Tiam1 silencing in co-injected fibroblasts. These results suggest that stromal Tiam1 may have a role in modulating the effects of the tumor microenvironment on malignant cell invasion and metastasis. This suggests a set of pathways for further investigation, with implications for future therapeutic targets.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The alpha6beta4 integrin plays a significant role in tumor growth, angiogenesis and metastasis through modulation of growth factor signaling, and is a potentially important therapeutic target. However, alpha6beta4-mediated cell-matrix adhesion is critical in normal keratinocyte attachment, signaling and anchorage to the basement membrane through its interaction with laminin-5, raising potential risks for targeted therapy. Bioengineered Human Skin Equivalent (HSE), which have been shown to mimic their normal and wounded counterparts, have been used here to investigate the consequences of targeting beta4 to establish toxic effects on normal tissue homeostasis and epithelial wound repair. We tested two antibodies directed to different beta4 epitopes, one adhesion-blocking (ASC-8) and one non-adhesion blocking (ASC-3), and determined that these antibodies were appropriately localized to the basal surface of keratinocytes at the basement membrane interface where beta4 is expressed. While normal tissue architecture was not altered, ASC-8 induced a sub-basal split at the basement membrane in non-wounded tissue. In addition, wound closure was significantly inhibited by ASC-8, but not by ASC-3, as the epithelial tongue only covered 40 percent of the wound area at 120 hours post-wounding. These results demonstrate beta4 adhesion-blocking antibodies may have adverse effects on normal tissue, whereas antibodies directed to other epitopes may provide safer alternatives for therapy. Taken together, we conclude that these three-dimensional tissue models provide a biologically relevant platform to identify toxic effects induced by candidate therapeutics, which will allow generation of findings that are more predictive of in vivo responses early in the drug development process.
PLoS ONE 01/2010; 5(5):e10528. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Understanding the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying wound healing is pivotal for the advancement of new therapies
designed to accelerate this process. In the last twenty years, new bioengineered human in vitro, three-dimensional (3D) tissue models, known as human skin equivalents, have been developed to study wound healing and test
new types of dressings and drugs. In this article, we will discuss the advantages of these human tissue models compared to
traditional two-dimensional (2D) assays. We also describe specific applications where human skin equivalents have been used
to test new bioactive materials and compounds that may accelerate reepithelialization. We will conclude with a detailed protocol
for the construction of wounded human skin equivalents.