Biodegradable nanofibers have become a popular candidate for tissue engineering scaffolds because of their biomimetic structure that physically resembles the extracellular matrix. For certain tissue regeneration applications, prolonged in vitro culture time for cellular reorganization and tissue remodeling may be required. Therefore, extensive understanding of cellular effects on scaffold degradation is needed. There are only few studies on the degradation of nanofibers, and also the studies on degradation throughout cell culture are rare. In this study, polyglycolide (PGA), poly(DL-lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA) and poly(L-lactide-co-epsilon-caprolactone) [P(LLA-CL)] were electrospun into nanofibrous meshes. The nanofibers were cultured with porcine smooth muscle cells for up to 3 months to evaluate their degradation behavior and cellular response. The results showed that the degradation rates are in the order of PGA >> PLGA > P(LLA-CL). PGA nanofibers degraded in 3 weeks and supported cell growth only in the first few days. PLGA nanofiber scaffolds facilitated cell growth during the first 30 days after seeding, but cell growth was slow thereafter. P(LLA-CL) nanofibers facilitated long-term (1-3 months) cell growth. mRNA quantification using real-time polymerase chain reaction revealed that some smooth muscle cell markers (a-actinin and calponin) and extracellular matrix genes (collagen and integrin) seemed to be downregulated with increased cell culture time. Cell culture significantly increased the degradation rate of PGA nanofibers, whereas the effect on PLGA and P(LLA-CL) nanofibers was limited. We found that the molecular weight of P(LLA-CL) and PLGA nanofibers decreased linearly for up to 100 days. Half lives of PLGA and P(LLA-CL) nanofibers were shown to be 80 and 110 days, respectively. In summary, this is the first study to our knowledge to evaluate long-term polymeric nanofiber degradation in vitro with cell culture. Cell culture accelerated the nanofibrous scaffold degradation to a limited extent. P(LLA-CL) nanofibers could be a good choice as scaffolds for long-term smooth muscle cell culture.
It has been suggested that accumulation of beta‐amyloid (Aβ) peptide triggers neurodegeneration, at least in part, via glutamate‐mediated excitotoxicity in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) brain. This is supported by observations that toxicity induced by Aβ peptide in cultured neurons and in adult rat brain is known to be mediated by activation of glutamatergic N‐methyl‐d‐aspartate (NMDA) receptors. Additionally, recent clinical studies have shown that memantine, a noncompetitive NMDA receptor antagonist, can significantly improve cognitive functions in some AD patients. However, very little is currently known about the potential role of memantine against Aβ‐induced toxicity. In the present study, we have shown that Aβ1–42‐induced toxicity in rat primary cortical cultured neurons is accompanied by increased extracellular and decreased intracellular glutamate levels. We subsequently demonstrated that Aβ toxicity is induced by increased phosphorylation of tau protein and activation of tau kinases, i.e. glycogen synthase kinase‐3β and extracellular signal‐related kinase 1/2. Additionally, Aβ treatment induced cleavage of caspase‐3 and decreased phosphorylation of cyclic AMP response element binding protein, which are critical in determining survival of neurons. Memantine treatment significantly protected cultured neurons against Aβ‐induced toxicity by attenuating tau‐phosphorylation and its associated signaling mechanisms. However, this drug did not alter either conformation or internalization of Aβ1–42 and it was unable to attenuate Aβ‐induced potentiation of extracellular glutamate levels. These results, taken together, provide new insights into the possible neuroprotective action of memantine in AD pathology.
2-Deoxy-d-[14C]glucose ([14C]DG) is commonly used to determine local glucose utilization rates (CMRglc) in living brain and to estimate CMRglc in cultured brain cells as rates of [14C]DG phosphorylation. Phosphorylation rates of [14C]DG and its metabolizable fluorescent analog, 2-(N-(7-nitrobenz-2-oxa-1,3-diazol-4-yl)amino)-2-deoxyglucose (2-NBDG), however, do not take into account differences in the kinetics of transport and metabolism of [14C]DG or 2-NBDG and glucose in neuronal and astrocytic cells in cultures or in single cells in brain tissue, and conclusions drawn from these data may, therefore, not be correct. As a first step toward the goal of quantitative determination of CMRglc in astrocytes and neurons in cultures, the steady-state intracellular-to-extracellular concentration ratios (distribution spaces) for glucose and [14C]DG were determined in cultured striatal neurons and astrocytes as functions of extracellular glucose concentration. Unexpectedly, the glucose distribution spaces rose during extreme hypoglycemia, exceeding 1.0 in astrocytes, whereas the [14C]DG distribution space fell at the lowest glucose levels. Calculated CMRglc was greatly overestimated in hypoglycemic and normoglycemic cells because the intracellular glucose concentrations were too high. Determination of the distribution space for [14C]glucose revealed compartmentation of intracellular glucose in astrocytes, and probably, also in neurons. A smaller metabolic pool is readily accessible to hexokinase and communicates with extracellular glucose, whereas the larger pool is sequestered from hexokinase activity. A new experimental approach using double-labeled assays with DG and glucose is suggested to avoid the limitations imposed by glucose compartmentation on metabolic assays.
ATP is an important regulator of microglia and its effects on microglial cytokine release are currently discussed as important contributors in a variety of brain diseases. We here analyzed the effects of ATP on the production of six inflammatory mediators (IL-6, IL-10, CCL2, IFN-gamma, TNF-alpha, and IL-12p70) in cultured mouse primary microglia. Stimulation of P2X7 receptor by ATP (1 mM) or BzATP (500 mu M) evoked the mRNA expression and release of proinflammatory cytokines IL-6, TNF-alpha, and the chemokine CCL2 in WT cells but not in P2X7(-/-) cells. The effects of ATP and BzATP were inhibited by the nonselective P2 receptor antagonists PPADs and suramin. Various selective P2X7 receptor antagonists blocked the P2X7-dependent release of IL-6 and CCL2, but, surprisingly, had no effect on BzATP-induced release of TNF-alpha in microglia. Calcium measurements confirmed that P2X7 is the main purine receptor activated by BzATP in microglia and showed that all P2X7 antagonists were functional. It is also presented that pannexin-1 hemichannel function and potential P2X4/P2X7 heterodimers are not involved in P2X7-dependent release of IL-6, CCL2, and TNF-alpha in microglia. How P2X7-specific antagonists only affect P2X7-dependent IL-6 and CCL2 release, but not TNF-alpha release is at the moment unclear, but indicates that the P2X7-dependent release of cytokines in microglia is differentially regulated. GLIA 2014;62:592-607
Autophagic (type II) cell death, characterized by the massive accumulation of autophagic vacuoles in the cytoplasm of cells, has been suggested to play pathogenetic roles in cerebral ischemia, brain trauma, and neurodegenerative disorders. 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA or ecstasy) is an illicit drug causing long-term neurotoxicity in the brain. Apoptotic (type I) and necrotic (type III) cell death have been implicated in MDMA-induced neurotoxicity, while the role of autophagy in MDMA-elicited neurotoxicity has not been investigated. The present study aimed to evaluate the occurrence and contribution of autophagy to neurotoxicity in cultured rat cortical neurons challenged with MDMA. Autophagy activation was monitored by expression of microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3 (LC3; an autophagic marker) using immunofluorescence and western blot analysis. Here, we demonstrate that MDMA exposure induced monodansylcadaverine (MDC)- and LC3B-densely stained autophagosome formation and increased conversion of LC3B-I to LC3B-II, coinciding with the neurodegenerative phase of MDMA challenge. Autophagy inhibitor 3-methyladenine (3-MA) pretreatment significantly attenuated MDMA-induced autophagosome accumulation, LC3B-II expression, and ameliorated MDMA-triggered neurite damage and neuronal death. In contrast, enhanced autophagy flux by rapamycin or impaired autophagosome clearance by bafilomycin A1 led to more autophagosome accumulation in neurons and aggravated neurite degeneration, indicating that excessive autophagosome accumulation contributes to MDMA-induced neurotoxicity. Furthermore, MDMA induced phosphorylation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and its downstream unc-51-like kinase 1 (ULK1), suggesting the AMPK/ULK1 signaling pathway might be involved in MDMA-induced autophagy activation.
Type 2 diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder characterized by hyperglycemia and is especially prevalent in the elderly. Because aging is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes mellitus, and insulin resistance may contribute to the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), anti‐diabetic agents (thiazolidinediones‐TZDs) are being studied for the treatment of cognitive decline associated with AD. These agents normalize insulin sensitivity in the periphery and can improve cognition and verbal memory in AD patients. Based on evidence that Ca2+ dysregulation is a pathogenic factor of brain aging/AD, we tested the hypothesis that TZDs could impact Ca2+ signaling/homeostasis in neurons. We assessed the effects of pioglitazone and rosiglitazone (TZDs) on two major sources of Ca2+ influx in primary hippocampal cultured neurons, voltage‐gated Ca2+ channel (VGCC) and the NMDA receptor (NMDAR). VGCC‐ and NMDAR‐mediated Ca2+ currents were recorded using patch‐clamp techniques, and Ca2+ intracellular levels were monitored with Ca2+ imaging techniques. Rosiglitazone, but not pioglitazone reduced VGCC currents. In contrast, NMDAR‐mediated currents were significantly reduced by pioglitazone but not rosiglitazone. These results show that TZDs modulate Ca2+‐dependent pathways in the brain and have different inhibitory profiles on two major Ca2+ sources, potentially conferring neuroprotection to an area of the brain that is particularly vulnerable to the effects of aging and/or AD.
The Müller glia of fish provide a source for neuronal regeneration after injury, but they do not do so in mammals. We previously showed that lentiviral gene transfer of the transcription factor Achaete‐scute homolog 1 (Ascl1/Mash1) in murine Müller glia cultures resulted in partial reprogramming of the cells to retinal progenitors. The microRNAs (miRNAs) miR‐124‐9‐9* facilitate neuronal reprogramming of fibroblasts, but their role in glia reprogramming has not been reported. The aim of this study was to test whether (1) lentiviral gene transfer of miR‐124‐9‐9* can reprogram Müller glia into retinal neurons and (2) miR‐124‐9‐9* can improve Ascl1‐induced reprogramming. Primary Müller glia cultures were generated from postnatal day (P) 11/12 mice, transduced with lentiviral particles, i.e., miR‐124‐9‐9*‐RFP, nonsense‐RFP, Ascl1‐GFP, or GFP‐control. Gene expression and immunofluorescence analyses were performed within 3 weeks after infection. Overexpression of miR‐124‐9‐9* induced the expression of the proneural factor Ascl1 and additional markers of neurons, including TUJ1 and MAP2. When Ascl1 and miR‐124‐9‐9* were combined, 50 to 60% of Müller glia underwent neuronal reprogramming, whereas Ascl1 alone results in a 30 to 35% reprogramming rate. Analysis of the miR‐124‐9‐9* treated glial cells showed a reduction in the level of Ctdsp1 and Ptbp1, indicating a critical role for the REST pathway in the repression of neuronal genes in Müller glia. Our data further suggest that miR‐124‐9‐9* and the REST complex may play a role in regulating the reprogramming of Müller glia to progenitors that underlies retinal regeneration in zebrafish. GLIA 2016;64:743–762 Main points We show that the combination of the microRNAs miR‐124‐9‐9* with the transcription factor Ascl1 significantly increase neuronal reprogramming of Müller glia and that the underlying mechanism appears to involve members of the REST silencing complex.
Post-mortem analyses of brains from patients with Parkinson disease who received fetal mesencephalic transplants show that alpha-synuclein-containing (alpha-syn-containing) Lewy bodies gradually appear in grafted neurons. Here, we explored whether intercellular transfer of alpha-syn from host to graft, followed by seeding of alpha-syn aggregation in recipient neurons, can contribute to this phenomenon. We assessed alpha-syn cell-to-cell transfer using microscopy, flow cytometry, and high-content screening in several coculture model systems. Coculturing cells engineered to express either GFP- or DsRed-tagged alpha-syn resulted in a gradual increase in double-labeled cells. Importantly, alpha-syn-GFP derived from 1 neuroblastoma cell line localized to red fluorescent aggregates in other cells expressing DsRed-alpha-syn, suggesting a seeding effect of transmitted alpha-syn. Extracellular alpha-syn was taken up by cells through endocytosis and interacted with intracellular alpha-syn. Next, following intracortical injection of recombinant alpha-syn in rats, we found neuronal uptake was attenuated by coinjection of an endocytosis inhibitor. Finally, we demonstrated in vivo transfer of alpha-syn between host cells and grafted dopaminergic neurons in mice overexpressing human alpha-syn. In summary, intercellularly transferred alpha-syn interacts with cytoplasmic alpha-syn and can propagate alpha-syn pathology. These results suggest that alpha-syn propagation is a key element in the progression of Parkinson disease pathology.
Abstract Background Cell therapy for cardiovascular disease has been limited by low engraftment of administered cells and modest therapeutic effects. Bone marrow (BM) -derived CD31+ cells are a promising cell source owing to their high angiovasculogenic and paracrine activities. Objectives This study sought to identify culture conditions that could augment the cell adhesion, angiogenic, and anti-inflammatory activities of BM-derived CD31+ cells, and to determine whether these cultured CD31+ cells are effective for cardiac and vascular repair. Methods CD31+ cells were isolated from human BM by magnetic-activated cell sorting and cultured for 10 days under hematopoietic stem cell, mesenchymal stem cell, or endothelial cell culture conditions. These cells were characterized by adhesion, angiogenesis, and inflammatory assays. The best of the cultured cells were implanted into myocardial infarction (MI) and hindlimb ischemia (HLI) models to determine therapeutic effects and underlying mechanisms. Results The CD31+ cells cultured in endothelial cell medium (EC-CD31+ cells) showed the highest adhesion and angiogenic activities and lowest inflammatory properties in vitro compared with uncultured or other cultured CD31+ cells. When implanted into mouse MI or HLI models, EC-CD31+ cells improved cardiac function and repaired limb ischemia to a greater extent than uncultured CD31+ cells. Histologically, injected EC-CD31+ cells exhibited higher retention, neovascularization, and cardiomyocyte proliferation. Importantly, cell retention and endothelial transdifferentiation was sustained up to 1 year. Conclusions Short-term cultured EC-CD31+ cells have higher cell engraftment, vessel-formation, cardiomyocyte proliferation, and anti-inflammatory potential, are highly effective for both cardiac and peripheral vascular repair, and enhance survival of mice with heart failure. These cultured CD31+ cells may be a promising source for treating ischemic cardiovascular diseases.