Laurie Chicha

Universitätsspital Basel, Bâle, Basel-City, Switzerland

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Publications (6)36.97 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Epidemiological studies have shown a clear association between maternal infection and schizophrenia or autism in the progeny. Animal models have revealed maternal immune activation (mIA) to be a profound risk factor for neurochemical and behavioural abnormalities in the offspring. Microglial priming has been proposed as a major consequence of mIA, and represents a critical link in a causal chain that leads to the wide spectrum of neuronal dysfunctions and behavioural phenotypes observed in the juvenile, adult or aged offspring. Such diversity of phenotypic outcomes in the mIA model are mirrored by recent clinical evidence suggesting that infectious exposure during pregnancy is also associated with epilepsy and, to a lesser extent, cerebral palsy in children. Preclinical research also suggests that mIA might precipitate the development of Alzheimer and Parkinson diseases. Here, we summarize and critically review the emerging evidence that mIA is a shared environmental risk factor across CNS disorders that varies as a function of interactions between genetic and additional environmental factors. We also review ongoing clinical trials targeting immune pathways affected by mIA that may play a part in disease manifestation. In addition, future directions and outstanding questions are discussed, including potential symptomatic, disease-modifying and preventive treatment strategies.
    Nature Reviews Neurology 10/2014; · 14.10 Impact Factor
  • L Chicha, T Smith, R Guzman
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    ABSTRACT: Neonatal hypoxic-ischemic insults are a significant cause of pediatric encephalopathy, developmental delays, and spastic cerebral palsy. Although the developing brain's plasticity allows for remarkable self-repair, severe disruption of normal myelination and cortical development upon neonatal brain injury are likely to generate life-persisting sensory-motor and cognitive deficits in the growing child. Currently, no treatments are available that can address the long-term consequences. Thus, regenerative medicine appears as a promising avenue to help restore normal developmental processes in affected infants. Stem cell therapy has proven effective in promoting functional recovery in animal models of neonatal hypoxic-ischemic injury and therefore represents a hopeful therapy for this unmet medical condition. Neural stem cells derived from pluripotent stem cells or fetal tissues as well as umbilical cord blood and mesenchymal stem cells have all shown initial success in improving functional outcomes. However, much still remains to be understood about how those stem cells can safely be administered to infants and what their repair mechanisms in the brain are. In this review, we discuss updated research into pathophysiological mechanisms of neonatal brain injury, the types of stem cell therapies currently being tested in this context, and the potential mechanisms through which exogenous stem cells might interact with and influence the developing brain.
    Child s Nervous System 11/2013; · 1.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Primitive erythropoiesis defines the onset of hematopoiesis in the yolk sac of the early embryo and is initiated by the emergence of progenitors assayed as colony-forming cells (EryP-CFCs). EryP-CFCs are detected for only a narrow window during embryonic development, suggesting that both their initiation and termination are tightly controlled. Using the embryonic stem differentiation system to model primitive erythropoiesis, we found that miR-126 regulates the termination of EryP-CFC development. Analyses of miR-126 null embryos revealed that this miR also regulates EryP-CFCs in vivo. We identified vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (Vcam-1) expressed by a mesenchymal cell population as a relevant target of miR-126. Interaction of EryP-CFCs with Vcam-1 accelerated their maturation to ßh1-globin(+) and Ter119(+) cells through a Src family kinase. These findings uncover a cell nonautonomous regulatory pathway for primitive erythropoiesis that may provide insight into the mechanism(s) controlling the developmental switch from primitive to definitive hematopoiesis.
    Developmental Cell 06/2012; 23(1):45-57. · 10.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Differentiation of pluripotent stem cells in vitro provides a powerful means to investigate early developmental fates, including hematopoiesis. In particular, the use of a fully defined medium (FDM) would avoid biases induced by unidentified factors contained in serum, and would also allow key molecular mediators involved in such a process to be identified. Our goal was to induce in vitro, the differentiation of human embryonic stem cells (ESC) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) into morphologically and phenotypically mature leukocytes and erythrocytes, in the complete absence of serum and feeder cells. ESC and iPSC were sequentially induced in liquid cultures for 4 days with bone morphogenic protein-4, and for 4 days with FLT3-ligand, stem cell factor, thrombopoietin and vascular endothelium growth factor. Cell differentiation status was investigated by both mRNA expression and FACS expression profiles. Cells were further sorted and assayed for their hematopoietic properties in colony-forming unit (CFU) assays. In liquid cultures, cells progressively down-modulated Oct-4 expression while a sizeable cell fraction expressed CD34 de novo. SCL/Tal1 and Runx1 transcripts were exclusively detected in CD34(+) cells. In clonal assays, both ESC and iPSC-derived cells generated CFU, albeit with a 150-fold lower efficacy than cord blood (CB) CD34(+) cells. ESC-derived CD34(+) cells generated myeloid and fully hemoglobinized erythroid cells whereas CD34(-) cells almost exclusively generated small erythroid colonies. Both ESC and iPSC-derived erythroid cells expressed embryonic and fetal globins but were unable to synthesize adult β-globin in contrast with CB cells, suggesting that they had differentiated from primitive rather than from definitive hematopoietic progenitors. Short-term, animal protein-free culture conditions are sufficient to sustain the differentiation of human ESC and iPSC into primitive hematopoietic progenitors, which, in turn, produce more mature blood cell types. However, additional factors have yet to be identified to allow their differentiation into definitive erythroid cultures.
    PLoS ONE 02/2011; 6(2):e14733. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Reprogramming somatic cells into a pluripotent state brings patient-tailored, ethical controversy-free cellular therapy closer to reality. However, stem cells and cancer cells share many common characteristics; therefore, it is crucial to be able to discriminate between them. We generated two induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) lines, with NANOG pre-transduction followed by OCT3/4, SOX2, and LIN28 overexpression. One of the cell lines, CHiPS W, showed normal pluripotent stem cell characteristics, while the other, CHiPS A, though expressing pluripotency markers, failed to differentiate and gave rise to germ cell-like tumours in vivo. Comparative genomic hybridisation analysis of the generated iPS lines revealed that they were genetically more stable than human embryonic stem cell counterparts. This analysis proved to be predictive for the differentiation potential of analysed cells. Moreover, the CHiPS A line expressed a lower ratio of p53/p21 when compared to CHiPS W. NANOG pre-induction followed by OCT3/4, SOX2, MYC, and KLF4 induction resulted in the same tumour-inducing phenotype. These results underline the importance of a re-examination of the role of NANOG during reprogramming. Moreover, this reprogramming method may provide insights into primordial cell tumour formation and cancer stem cell transformation.
    European cells & materials 01/2011; 22:258-74; discussio 274. · 4.89 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: During development, cardiac commitment within the mesoderm requires endoderm-secreted factors. Differentiation of embryonic stem cells into the three germ layers in vitro recapitulates developmental processes and can be influenced by supplements added to culture medium. Hence, we investigated the effect of fetal bovine serum (FBS) and KnockOut serum replacement (SR) on germ layers specification and cardiac differentiation of H1 human embryonic stem cells (hESC) within embryoid bodies (EB). At the time of EB formation, FBS triggered an increased apoptosis. As assessed by quantitative PCR on 4-, 10-, and 20-day-old EB, FBS promoted a faster down-regulation of pluripotency marker Oct4 and an increased expression of endodermal (Sox17, alpha-fetoprotein, AFP) and mesodermal genes (Brachyury, CSX). While neuronal and hematopoietic differentiation occurred in both supplements, spontaneously beating cardiomyocytes were only observed in FBS. Action potential (AP) morphology of hESC-derived cardiomyocytes indicated that ventricular cells were present only after 2 months of culture. However, quantification of myosin light chain 2 ventricular (mlc2v)-positive areas revealed that mlc2v-expressing cardiomyocytes could be detected already after 2 weeks of differentiation, but not in all beating clusters. In conclusion, FBS enabled cardiac differentiation of hESC, likely in an endodermal-dependent pathway. Among cardiac cells, ventricular cardiomyocytes differentiated over time, but not as the predominant cardiac cell subtype.
    Differentiation 11/2007; 75(8):669-81. · 2.84 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

67 Citations
36.97 Total Impact Points


  • 2014
    • Universitätsspital Basel
      Bâle, Basel-City, Switzerland
  • 2013
    • Universität Basel
      • Department of Biomedicine
      Bâle, Basel-City, Switzerland
  • 2011
    • University of Geneva
      • Department of Pathology and Immunology (PATIM)
      Genève, GE, Switzerland