[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Intra-arterial transplantation of mesoangioblasts proved safe and partially efficacious in preclinical models of muscular dystrophy. We now report the first-in-human, exploratory, non-randomized open-label phase I-IIa clinical trial of intra-arterial HLA-matched donor cell transplantation in 5 Duchenne patients. We administered escalating doses of donor-derived mesoangioblasts in limb arteries under immunosuppressive therapy (tacrolimus). Four consecutive infusions were performed at 2-month intervals, preceded and followed by clinical, laboratory, and muscular MRI analyses. Two months after the last infusion, a muscle biopsy was performed. Safety was the primary endpoint. The study was relatively safe: One patient developed a thalamic stroke with no clinical consequences and whose correlation with mesoangioblast infusion remained unclear. MRI documented the progression of the disease in 4/5 patients. Functional measures were transiently stabilized in 2/3 ambulant patients, but no functional improvements were observed. Low level of donor DNA was detected in muscle biopsies of 4/5 patients and donor-derived dystrophin in 1. Intra-arterial transplantation of donor mesoangioblasts in human proved to be feasible and relatively safe. Future implementation of the protocol, together with a younger age of patients, will be needed to approach efficacy.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2015 · EMBO Molecular Medicine
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Merosin-deficient congenital muscular dystrophy type-1A (MDC1A) is characterized by progressive muscular dystrophy and dysmyelinating neuropathy caused by mutations of the α2 chain of laminin-211, the predominant laminin isoform of muscles and nerves. MDC1A has no available treatment so far, although preclinical studies showed amelioration of the disease by the overexpression of miniagrin (MAG). MAG reconnects orphan laminin-211 receptors to other laminin isoforms available in the extracellular matrix of MDC1A mice.
Mesoangioblasts (MABs) are vessel-associated progenitors that can form the skeletal muscle and have been shown to restore defective protein levels and motor skills in animal models of muscular dystrophies. As gene therapy in humans still presents challenging technical issues and limitations, we engineered MABs to overexpress MAG to treat MDC1A mouse models, thus combining cell to gene therapy.
MABs synthesize and secrete only negligible amount of laminin-211 either in vitro or in vivo. MABs engineered to deliver MAG and injected in muscles of MDC1A mice showed amelioration of muscle histology, increased expression of laminin receptors in muscle, and attenuated deterioration of motor performances. MABs did not enter the peripheral nerves, thus did not affect the associated peripheral neuropathy.
Our study demonstrates the potential efficacy of combining cell with gene therapy to treat MDC1A.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mesoangioblasts are vessel-associated progenitor cells that show therapeutic promise for the treatment of muscular dystrophy. Mesoangioblasts have the ability to undergo skeletal muscle differentiation and cross the blood vessel wall regardless of the developmental stage at which they are isolated. Here we show that PW1/Peg3 is expressed at high levels in mesoangioblasts obtained from mouse, dog and human tissues and its level of expression correlates with their myogenic competence. Silencing PW1/Peg3 markedly inhibits myogenic potential of mesoangioblasts in vitro through MyoD degradation. Moreover, lack of PW1/Peg3 abrogates mesoangioblast ability to cross the vessel wall and to engraft into damaged myofibres through the modulation of the junctional adhesion molecule-A. We conclude that PW1/Peg3 function is essential for conferring proper mesoangioblast competence and that the determination of PW1/Peg3 levels in human mesoangioblasts may serve as a biomarker to identify the best donor populations for therapeutic application in muscular dystrophies.
Full-text · Article · Mar 2015 · Nature Communications
[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.
No preview · Article · Aug 2012 · Stem cells and development
[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.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2012 · Science translational medicine
[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.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2011 · Cell death and differentiation
[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.
Full-text · Article · Aug 2011 · Science translational medicine
[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.
Full-text · Article · Aug 2010 · Cell Death & Disease
[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.
[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.
Full-text · Article · Mar 2009 · Journal of leukocyte biology