[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Abnormal stem cell function makes a known contribution to many malignant tumors, but the role of stem cells in benign tumors is not well understood. Here, we show that ossifying fibroma (OF) contains a stem cell population that resembles mesenchymal stem cells (OFMSCs) and is capable of generating OF-like tumor xenografts. Mechanistically, OFMSCs show enhanced TGF-β signaling that induces aberrant proliferation and deficient osteogenesis via Notch and BMP signaling pathways, respectively. The elevated TGF-β activity is tightly regulated by JHDM1D-mediated epigenetic regulation of thrombospondin-1 (TSP1), forming a JHDM1D/TSP1/TGF-β/SMAD3 autocrine loop. Inhibition of TGF-β signaling in OFMSCs can rescue their abnormal osteogenic differentiation and elevated proliferation rate. Furthermore, chronic activation of TGF-β can convert normal MSCs into OF-like MSCs via establishment of this JHDM1D/TSP1/TGF-β/SMAD3 autocrine loop. These results reveal that epigenetic regulation of TGF-β signaling in MSCs governs the benign tumor phenotype in OF and highlight TGF-β signaling as a candidate therapeutic target.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: An inflammatory microenvironment may cause organ degenerative diseases and malignant tumors. However, the precise mechanisms of inflammation-induced diseases are not fully understood. Here we show that the proinflammatory cytokines interferon γ (IFN-γ) and tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) synergistically impair self-renewal and differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) via nuclear factor κB (NFκB)--mediated activation of Mothers against decapentaplegic homolog 7 (SMAD7) in ovariectomized (OVX) mice. More interestingly, a long-term elevated levels of IFN-γ and TNF-α result in significantly increased susceptibility to malignant transformation in MSCs through NFκB--mediated upregulation of the oncogenes c-Fos and c-Myc. Depletion of either IFN-γ or TNF-α in OVX mice abolishes MSC impairment and the tendency toward malignant transformation with no NFκB--mediated oncogene activation. Systemic administration of aspirin, which significantly reduces the levels of IFN-γ and TNF-α, results in blockage of MSC deficiency and tumorigenesis by inhibition of NF-κB/SMAD7 and NFκB/c-FOS and c-MYC pathways in OVX mice. In summary, this study reveals that inflammation factors, such as IFN-γ and TNF-α, synergistically induce MSC deficiency via NFκB/SMAD7 signaling and tumorigenesis via NFκB--mediated oncogene activation.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Type 2 diabetes (T2D) has become an epidemic worldwide while Type 1 diabetes (T1D) remains a great medical challenge. IR signaling activators could alleviate hyperglycemia, reduce the burden on the pancreas and contribute to prevention and treatment of both types of diabetes. Previously we reported the synthesis and identification of a natural anti-diabetic compound α-penta-galloyl-glucose (α-PGG). Subsequent studies led to the identification of an α-PGG derivative, 6-chloro-6-deoxy-1,2,3,4-tetra-O-galloyl-α-D-glucopyranose (6Cl-TGQ). Here we report that 6Cl-TGQ not only induced rapid and long-lasting glucose uptake comparable to insulin in adipocytes, but also reduced high blood glucose levels to near normal and significantly decreased plasma insulin levels and improved glucose tolerance performance in high fat diet (HFD)-induced T2D mice when administered orally at 5mg/kg once every other day. Moreover, a single gavage of 6Cl-TGQ at 10mg/kg induced rapid and sharp decline of blood glucose in streptozotocin (STZ)-induced T1D mice. Our studies further indicated that 6Cl-TGQ activated the IR signaling in cell models and insulin-responsive tissues of mice. 6Cl-TGQ-induced Akt phosphorylation was completely blocked by IR and PI3K inhibitors, while the induced glucose uptake was blocked by the same compounds and a Glut4 inhibitor. Receptor binding studies indicated that 6Cl-TGQ bound to IR with a higher affinity than α-PGG. Importantly, 6Cl-TGQ, unlike insulin, selectively induced phosphorylation of IR without activating IGF1R or its signaling and did not increase cancer cell proliferation. These results indicate that 6Cl-TGQ is a potent orally efficacious compound with low carcinogenic potential and may contribute to the prevention and treatment of T1D and T2D.
Journal of Molecular Endocrinology 04/2013; · 3.58 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bisphosphonates (BPs), which are used to treat a variety of clinical disorders, have the side effect of jawbone necrosis. Currently, there is no reliable treatment for bisphosphonates-related osteonecrosis of the jaw (BRONJ) due to a lack of understanding of its pathogenesis. To investigate the pathogenesis of BRONJ and observe the treatment effect of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cell (BMMSC) transplantation, we established a pre-clinical animal model of BRONJ in miniature pigs (minipigs). After treatment with zoledronic acid, the clinical and radiographic manifestations of BRONJ could be observed in minipigs after first premolar extraction. The biological and immunological properties of BMMSCs were impaired in the BP-treated minipigs. Moreover, the ratio of Foxp3-positive regulatory T cells (Tregs) in peripheral blood decreased, and IL-17 increased in the serum of BP-treated minipigs. After allogeneic BMMSC transplantation via intravenous infusion, mucosal healing and bone reconstruction were observed, IL-17 levels were reduced, and Treg cells were elevated. In summary, we established a clinically relevant BRONJ model in minipigs and tested a promising allogeneic BMMSC-based therapy, which may have potential clinical applications for treating BRONJ.
Stem cells and development 03/2013; · 4.15 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Our previous proof-of-concept study showed the feasibility of regenerating dental stem cell-based bioengineered tooth root (bio-root) structure in large animal model. Here, we used allogeneic dental mesenchymal stem cells to regenerate bio-root, and then installed a crown on the bio-root to restore tooth function. Root shape hydroxyapatite tricalcium phosphate (HA/TCP) scaffold containing dental pulp stem cells (DPSCs) was covered by Vc-induced periodontal ligament stem cell (PDLSC) sheet and implanted into a newly generated jaw bone implant socket. Six months after implantation, a pre-fabricated porcelain crown was cemented to the implant and subjected to tooth function. Clinical, radiological, histological, ultrastructural, systemic immunological evaluations and mechanical properties were analyzed for dynamic changes in bio-root structure. The regenerated bio-root exhibited characteristics of a normal tooth after 6 months of use, including dentinal tubule-like and functional periodontal ligament-like structures. No immunological response to the bio-roots was observed. We developed a standard stem cell procedure for bio-root regeneration to restore adult tooth function. This study is the first to successfully regenerate a functional bio-root structure for artificial crown restoration by using allogeneic dental stem cells and Vc-induced cell sheet, and assess recipient immune response in a pre-clinical model.
Stem cells and development 01/2013; · 4.15 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) comprise a heterogeneous population of postnatal progenitor cells with profound immunomodulatory properties, such as upregulation of Foxp3(+) regulatory T cells (Tregs) and downregulation of Th17 cells. However, it is unknown whether different MSC subpopulations possess the same range of immunomodulatory function. Here, we show that a subset of single colony-derived MSCs producing IL-17 is different from bulk MSC population in that it cannot upregulate Tregs, downregulate Th17 cells, or ameliorate disease phenotypes in a colitis mouse model. Mechanistically, we reveal that IL-17, produced by these MSCs, activates the NFκB pathway to downregulate TGF-β production in MSCs, resulting in abolishment of MSC-based immunomodulation. Furthermore, we show that NFκB is able to directly bind to TGF-β promoter region to regulate TGF-β expression in MSCs. Moreover, these IL-17(+) MSCs possess anti-Candida albicans growth effects in vitro and therapeutic effect in C. albicans-infected mice. In summary, this study shows that MSCs contain an IL-17(+) subset capable of inhibiting C. albicans growth, but attenuating MSC-based immunosuppression via NFκB-mediated downregulation of TGF-β.Cell Research advance online publish 25 December 2012; doi:10.1038/cr.2012.179.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Technetium-99 conjugated with methylene diphosphonate ((99)Tc-MDP) is a novel bisphosphonate derivative without radioactivity and has been successfully used to treat arthritis in China for years. Since bisphosphonate therapy has the potential to induce bisphosphonate-related osteonecrosis of the jaw (BRONJ), we examined whether (99)Tc-MDP represents a new class of bisphosphonate for antiresorptive therapy to ameliorate estrogen deficiency-induced bone resorption with less risk of causing BRONJ. We showed that (99)Tc-MDP-treated, ovariectomized (OVX) mice had significantly improved bone mineral density and trabecular bone volume in comparison to the untreated OVX group by inhibiting osteoclasts and enhancing osteogenic differentiation of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells. To determine the potential of inducing BRONJ, (99)Tc-MDP/dexamethasone (Dex) or zoledronate/Dex was administered into C57BL/6J mice via the tail vein, followed by extraction of maxillary first molars. Interestingly, (99)Tc-MDP treatment showed less risk to induce osteonecrosis in the maxillary bones compared to zoledronate treatment group, partially because (99)Tc-MDP neither suppressed adaptive regulatory T cells nor activated the inflammatory T-helper-producing interleukin-17 cells. Taken together, our findings demonstrate that (99)Tc-MDP therapy may be a promising approach in the treatment of osteoporosis with less risk of causing BRONJ.
Calcified Tissue International 10/2012; · 2.50 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Significant progress has been made in stem cell biology, regenerative medicine, and stem cell-based tissue engineering. Such scientific strides highlight the potential of replacing or repairing damaged tissues in congenital abnormalities, diseases, or injuries, as well as constructing functional tissue or organs in vivo. Since mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are capable of differentiating into bone-forming cells, they constitute an appropriate cell source to repair damaged bone tissues. In addition, the immunoregulatory property of MSCs provides a foundation for their use in treating a variety of autoimmune diseases. However, the interaction between MSCs and immune cells in cell-based tissue regeneration is largely unknown. In this review, we will discuss the current understanding of MSC-based tissue regeneration, emphasizing the role of the immune microenvironment in bone regeneration.
The international journal of biochemistry & cell biology 08/2012; 44(11):2044-50. · 4.89 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Jaw osteoradionecrosis (ORN) is a common and serious complication of radiation therapy for head and neck cancers. Bone marrow mesenchymal stromal cells (BMMSCs) are multipotent postnatal stem cells and have been widely used in clinical therapies. In the present study, we generated the mandibular ORN model in swine using a combination of single-dose 25 Gy irradiation and tooth extraction. A typical ORN phenotype, including loss of bone regeneration capacity and collagen collapse with the obliteration of vessels, gradually appeared after irradiation. After autologous BMMSC transplantation, new bone and vessels were regenerated, and the advanced mandibular ORN was treated successfully. In summary, we developed a swine model of jaw ORN, and our results indicate that autologous BMMSC transplantation may be a promising therapeutic approach for ORN.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bone is a complex dynamic tissue undergoing a continuous remodeling process. Gravity is a physical force playing a role in the remodeling and contributing to the maintenance of bone integrity. This article reports an investigation on the alterations of the bone microarchitecture that occurred in wild type (Wt) and pleiotrophin-transgenic (PTN-Tg) mice exposed to a near-zero gravity on the International Space Station (ISS) during the Mice Drawer System (MDS) mission, to date, the longest mice permanence (91 days) in space. The transgenic mouse strain over-expressing pleiotrophin (PTN) in bone was selected because of the PTN positive effects on bone turnover. Wt and PTN-Tg control animals were maintained on Earth either in a MDS payload or in a standard vivarium cage. This study revealed a bone loss during spaceflight in the weight-bearing bones of both strains. For both Tg and Wt a decrease of the trabecular number as well as an increase of the mean trabecular separation was observed after flight, whereas trabecular thickness did not show any significant change. Non weight-bearing bones were not affected. The PTN-Tg mice exposed to normal gravity presented a poorer trabecular organization than Wt mice, but interestingly, the expression of the PTN transgene during the flight resulted in some protection against microgravity's negative effects. Moreover, osteocytes of the Wt mice, but not of Tg mice, acquired a round shape, thus showing for the first time osteocyte space-related morphological alterations in vivo. The analysis of specific bone formation and resorption marker expression suggested that the microgravity-induced bone loss was due to both an increased bone resorption and a decreased bone deposition. Apparently, the PTN transgene protection was the result of a higher osteoblast activity in the flight mice.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(3):e33179. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Italian Space Agency, in line with its scientific strategies and the National Utilization Plan for the International Space Station (ISS), contracted Thales Alenia Space Italia to design and build a spaceflight payload for rodent research on ISS: the Mice Drawer System (MDS). The payload, to be integrated inside the Space Shuttle middeck during transportation and inside the Express Rack in the ISS during experiment execution, was designed to function autonomously for more than 3 months and to involve crew only for maintenance activities. In its first mission, three wild type (Wt) and three transgenic male mice over-expressing pleiotrophin under the control of a bone-specific promoter (PTN-Tg) were housed in the MDS. At the time of launch, animals were 2-months old. MDS reached the ISS on board of Shuttle Discovery Flight 17A/STS-128 on August 28(th), 2009. MDS returned to Earth on November 27(th), 2009 with Shuttle Atlantis Flight ULF3/STS-129 after 91 days, performing the longest permanence of mice in space. Unfortunately, during the MDS mission, one PTN-Tg and two Wt mice died due to health status or payload-related reasons. The remaining mice showed a normal behavior throughout the experiment and appeared in excellent health conditions at landing. During the experiment, the mice health conditions and their water and food consumption were daily checked. Upon landing mice were sacrificed, blood parameters measured and tissues dissected for subsequent analysis. To obtain as much information as possible on microgravity-induced tissue modifications, we organized a Tissue Sharing Program: 20 research groups from 6 countries participated. In order to distinguish between possible effects of the MDS housing conditions and effects due to the near-zero gravity environment, a ground replica of the flight experiment was performed at the University of Genova. Control tissues were collected also from mice maintained on Earth in standard vivarium cages.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(5):e32243. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cell sheet engineering has been developed as an alternative approach to improve mesenchymal stem cell-mediated tissue regeneration. In this study, we found that vitamin C (Vc) was capable of inducing telomerase activity in periodontal ligament stem cells (PDLSCs), leading to the up-regulated expression of extracellular matrix type I collagen, fibronectin, and integrin β1, stem cell markers Oct4, Sox2, and Nanog as well as osteogenic markers RUNX2, ALP, OCN. Under Vc treatment, PDLSCs can form cell sheet structures because of increased cell matrix production. Interestingly, PDLSC sheets demonstrated a significant improvement in tissue regeneration compared with untreated control dissociated PDLSCs and offered an effective treatment for periodontal defects in a swine model. In addition, bone marrow mesenchymal stem cell sheets and umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cell sheets were also well constructed using this method. The development of Vc-mediated mesenchymal stem cell sheets may provide an easy and practical approach for cell-based tissue regeneration.
Journal of Cellular Physiology 11/2011; 227(9):3216-24. · 4.22 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Stem cell-based regenerative medicine is a promising approach in tissue reconstruction. Here we show that proinflammatory T cells inhibit the ability of exogenously added bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BMMSCs) to mediate bone repair. This inhibition is due to interferon γ (IFN-γ)-induced downregulation of the runt-related transcription factor 2 (Runx-2) pathway and enhancement of tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) signaling in the stem cells. We also found that, through inhibition of nuclear factor κB (NF-κB), TNF-α converts the signaling of the IFN-γ-activated, nonapoptotic form of TNF receptor superfamily member 6 (Fas) in BMMSCs to a caspase 3- and caspase 8-associated proapoptotic cascade, resulting in the apoptosis of these cells. Conversely, reduction of IFN-γ and TNF-α concentrations by systemic infusion of Foxp3(+) regulatory T cells, or by local administration of aspirin, markedly improved BMMSC-based bone regeneration and calvarial defect repair in C57BL/6 mice. These data collectively show a previously unrecognized role of recipient T cells in BMMSC-based tissue engineering.
Nature medicine 11/2011; 17(12):1594-601. · 27.14 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Periodontitis is one of the most widespread infectious diseases in humans. It is the main cause of tooth loss and associated with a number of systemic diseases. Until now, there is no appropriate method for functional periodontal tissue regeneration. Here, we establish a novel approach of using allogeneic periodontal ligament stem cells (PDLSCs) sheet to curing periodontitis in a miniature pig periodontitis model. Significant periodontal tissue regeneration was achieved in both the autologous and the allogeneic PDLSCs transplantation group at 12 weeks post-PDLSCs transplantation. Based on clinical assessments, computed tomography (CT) scanning, and histological examination, there was no marked difference between the autologous and allogeneic PDLSCs transplantation groups. In addition, lack of immunological rejections in the animals that received the allogeneic PDLSCs transplantation was observed. Interestingly, we found that human PDLSCs fail to express human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-II DR and costimulatory molecules. PDLSCs were not able to elicit T-cell proliferation and inhibit T-cell proliferation when stimulated with mismatched major histocompatibility complex molecules. Furthermore, we found that prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) plays a crucial role in PDLSCs-mediated immunomodulation and periodontal tissue regeneration in vitro and in vivo. Our study demonstrated that PDLSCs possess low immunogenicity and marked immunosuppression via PGE2-induced T-cell anergy. We developed a standard technological procedure of using allogeneic PDLSCs to cure periodontitis in swine.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Oral lichen planus is a type of T cell-mediated autoimmune disease. Satisfactory therapy results are not usually achieved with conventional treatment; however, a new therapy employing T cell immune modulation may treat this disease. Mesenchymal stem cells are multipotent nonhematopoietic progenitor cells that are capable of self-renewal and differentiation into various cell types, including osteocytes and adipocytes. Thus, mesenchymal stem cells are regarded as a promising cell population for tissue regeneration in the clinic. In the past several years, there has been a dramatic improvement in the understanding of immunosuppressive properties of mesenchymal stem cells on various immune cell types. We propose that mesenchymal stem cells can be utilized to treat oral lichen planus patients via systemic infusion or local application.
Medical Hypotheses 10/2010; 76(3):322-4. · 1.05 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Stalled cell division in precursor bone cells and reduced osteoblast function are considered responsible for the microgravity-induced bone loss observed during spaceflight. However, underlying molecular mechanisms remain unraveled. Having overcome technological difficulties associated with flying cells in a space mission, we present the first report on the behavior of the potentially osteogenic murine bone marrow stromal cells (BMSC) in a 3D culture system, flown inside the KUBIK aboard space mission ISS 12S (Soyuz TMA-8 + Increment 13) from March 30 to April 8, 2006 (experiment "Stroma-2"). Flight 1g control cultures were performed in a centrifuge located within the payload. Ground controls were maintained on Earth in another KUBIK payload and in Petri dishes. Half of the cultures were stimulated with osteo-inductive medium. Differences in total RNA extracted suggested that cell proliferation was inhibited in flight samples. Affymetrix technology revealed that 1,599 genes changed expression after spaceflight exposure. A decreased expression of cell-cycle genes confirmed the inhibition of cell proliferation in space. Unexpectedly, most of the modulated expression was found in genes related to various processes of neural development, neuron morphogenesis, transmission of nerve impulse and synapse, raising the question on the lineage restriction in BMSC.
Journal of Cellular Biochemistry 10/2010; 111(2):442-52. · 3.06 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Stem cells from apical papilla (SCAP) are a novel population of multipotent stem cells that, although similar to dental pulp stem cells, are a discrete source of dental stem cells. SCAP have potential roles in root development, apexogenesis, pulp/dentin regeneration, and bioroot engineering. However, procedures to store and preserve SCAP for future clinical applications have not been explored. In this study, we compared human freshly isolated SCAP (fSCAP) with cryopreserved SCAP (cSCAP) in terms of cell viability, colony-forming efficiency, cell proliferation rate, multilineage differentiation potential, profiles of mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) markers, karyotype analysis, and immunological assays. cSCAP showed a similar viable cell ratio, colony-forming efficiency, cell proliferation rate, multilineage differentiation potential, MSC surface markers, apoptotic rate, and G-banded karyotype when compared to fSCAP. There was no significant difference between fSCAP and cSCAP with regard to immune properties. In addition, cSCAP of miniature pig possessed the similar proliferation rate, differentiation potential, and immunomodulatory function as seen in fSCAP. This study demonstrates that cryopreservation does not affect the biological and immunological properties of SCAP, supporting the feasibility of SCAP cryopreservation in nitrogen.
Journal of Cellular Physiology 05/2010; 223(2):415-22. · 4.22 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Several organs and apparatus are affected by weightless conditions and in particular by the weightless experienced during space flights. Therefore space missions are good opportunities to investigate in a whole organism the controlling cellular and molecular mechanisms. For this type of studies mice represent an excellent animal model for several reasons: reduced body size, relatively short time needed to reach adulthood, availability of strains with different genetic background and of different transgenic lines, etc. In line with the International Space Station (ISS) development, the Italian Space Agency (ASI) contracted Thales Alenia Space Italia, the largest Italian aerospace industry, to design and build a spaceflight payload for rodent research on ISS, the Mouse Drawer System (MDS -see abstract P. Cipparelli et al.). This payload meets NIH guideline for several physical parameters to maintain 6 animals in good health conditions in a space environment. Given the interest of our laboratory in the microgravity induced skeleton alterations, we focused our attention on transgenic mice over-expressing pleiotrophin (PTN) under the control of the human bone specific osteocalcin promoter. This protein is a heparin-binding cytokine with different functions. PTN is expressed by the cells in an early differentiation stage and is upregulated in tissue injury and wound repair. PTN is specifically involved in bone formation, neurite outgrowth and angiogenesis. As PTN-transgenic mice show an increased bone mass and mineralization, we decided to use this mouse model in the flight experiment and to study its potential role in counteracting bone loss in microgravity. Not all mouse strains are equally suitable for flight. After preliminary tests in the MDS breadboard at our animal facility on the behavior of different mouse strains, PTN-transgenic mice originally obtained in the BDF strain were backcrossed in the C57Bl/J10 strain before being used in this study. In order to obtain from the animals sent to the ISS as much as possible information including also microgravity induced modifications of tissues other than bone, we associated to the MDS experiment several international group from Italian, American, Japanese Universities and from NASA and JAXA labs and we created a Tissue Sharing Program (TSP). In total 17 groups from 6 countries were involved in the program. The MDS payload containing three PTN-transgenic mice (Tg) and three wild type (Wt) mice was launched with the Shuttle STS-128, on August, 28 2009 and the MDS transferred to the ISS for three months. The payload re-entry was with the Shuttle STS-129 on November, 27 2009 in Florida. Unfortunately during this period 3 mice (two Wt and one Tg) died due to a spinal cord lesion probably occurred during the shuttle lift off, a liver pathology and a failure of the food delivery system respectively. All the three dead mice were however frozen for subsequent skeletal analysis. The remaining 3 mice had a normal behavior during the flight and appeared in excellent health conditions at the time of landing. During the MDS stay at the ISS several physical parameters were under daily check. With regard to the animal health status checking, the daily water consumption for each individual mouse revealed to be one of the most important parameter. Immediately after landing the mice were sacrificed, blood parameter were measured and all different tissues were dissected. Samples from almost the entire organism are now under investigation by the TSP team. A ground replica of the flight experiment ("ground control") was performed at the University of Genova from November 2009 to the second week of February 2010. Some of the initial results from the flight and the ground control experiments are presented in the individual abstracts.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The capacity of bone tissue to alter its mass and architecture in response to mechanical request has long been known. Bone not only develops as a structure designed specifically for mechanical demands, but it can adapt during life toward more efficient mechanical performance. In partic-ular, the skeletal effects of microgravity result in the development of an osteoporotic phenotype with several bone defects including a bone mass decrease resembling the bone modifications occurring in elder people and in bed rest conditions. This is particularly true for weight bearing bones such as spine, femur and tibiae. In contrast non-weight bearing bones like calvaria etc didn't show bone mineral density decrease in weightlessness. Given the interest of our labora-tory in the microgravity induced skeleton alterations, we focused our attention on a transgenic mouse overexpressing pleiotrophin (PTN) under the control of the bone specific human os-teocalcin promoter. This protein is a heparin-binding cytokine with different functions. In particular PTN-transgenic mice (PTN-Tg) show an increase in the bone mass and mineral-ization, with a calcium content/mg bone of 10We used this mouse model in the MDS flight experiment to study the PTN potential role in counteracting bone loss in microgravity. Three PTN-transgenic mice (Tg) and three wild type (Wt) mice were housed in the MDS (Mouse Drawer System) at the ISS for three months. During these three months two wt and one tg mice died and therefore could be only frozen for subsequent skeletal analysis. The other three mice, daily checked for their health status, were viable and in good condition throughout the all three months at the ISS. At the end of November 2009 the three mice came back to Earth and after blood collection were immediately sacrificed and the different bones isolated. From blood cell analysis no major hematological alterations were noticed in the blood cell count except a slight increase in the number of erythrocytes. The serum collected from these mice is being used in a Luminex panel assay for several cytokine and bone metabolism markers. A ground replica of the flight experiment ("ground control") was performed at the University of Genova from November 2009 to the second week of February 2010 during which we collected the bone samples. To study the microgravity effects on both wt and PTN-Tg mice we are performing morphological analysis by classical histological technique. A finer microarchitectural study by synchrotron and bench microCT has been initiated both at the Grenoble and the Trieste facil-ities. With this last technique we are analyzing both weight and non-weight bearing bones and we are evaluating bone mineral density, mineralization amount, trabecular architecture. We are also in the process of obtaining a holotomographic reconstruction of the trabecular and cortical bone from both the flight and the ground control mice. In addition we extracted RNA from long bones and bone marrow of the same mice and we are performing Real-time PCR analysis to determine the expression of bone marker such as osteocalcin, runx2, bone sialoprotein and of markers of bone turnover such as RankL, TRAP, cathepsin K, IL6 in the different animals.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The use of allogeneic stem cells strongly extends the range of stem cell applications in dentistry; however, immunological rejection remains a major concern. There is little information about the immunological features of dental-related stem cells in the literature. Therefore, we investigated the immunological characteristics of stem cells from the root apical papilla (SCAP) of swine in vitro by measuring T cell immunomodulation and apoptosis. We found that SCAP expressed a low level of swine leukocyte antigen (SLA) class I molecules and were negative for SLA class II DR molecules. Moreover, SCAP could inhibit autologous T cell proliferation stimulated by phytohemagglutinin (PHA) and a one-way mixed lymphocyte reaction in a dose-dependent manner. In addition, SCAP could suppress proliferation of allogeneic T cells in a dose-dependent manner, with or without mitomycin C pretreatment. Moreover, soluble factor(s) may be involved in the SCAP-mediated immune suppression. After a 5-day coculture of SCAP, allogeneic T cells, and PHA, only 1.22% of T cells were apoptotic. These data indicated that SCAP were weakly immunogenic and suppressed T cell proliferation in vitro through an apoptosis-independent mechanism.