Abstract The amnion is the inner of two membranes surrounding the fetus. That it arises from embryonic epiblast cells prior to gastrulation suggests that it may retain a reservoir of stem cells throughout pregnancy. We found that human amniotic epithelial cells (hAECs) harvested from term-delivered fetal membranes express mRNA and proteins present in human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), including POU domain, class 5, transcription factor 1; Nanog homeobox; SRY-box 2; and stage-specific embryonic antigen-4. In keeping with possible stem cell-like activity, hAECs were also clonogenic, and primary hAEC cultures could be induced to differentiate into cardiomyocytic, myocytic, osteocytic, adipocytic (mesodermal), pancreatic, hepatic (endodermal), neural, and astrocytic (neuroectodermal) cells in vitro, as defined by phenotypic, mRNA expression, immunocytochemical, and/or ultrastructural characteristics. However, unlike hESCs, hAECs did not form teratomas upon transplantation into severe combined immunodeficienc...
Human endometrium is a highly regenerative tissue undergoing more than 400 cycles of growth, differentiation, and shedding during a woman's reproductive years. Endometrial regeneration is likely mediated by adult stem/progenitor cells. This study investigated key stem cell properties of individual clonogenic epithelial and stromal cells obtained from human endometrium. Single-cell suspensions of endometrial epithelial or stromal cells were obtained from hysterectomy tissues from 15 women experiencing normal menstrual cycles, and were cultured at clonal density (10 cells/cm 2 ) or limiting dilution. The adult stem cell propertiesâself-renewal, high proliferative potential, and differentiation of single epithelial and stromal cellsâwere assessed by harvesting individual colonies and undertaking serial clonal culture, serial passaging, and culture in differentiation-induction media, respectively. Lineage differentiation markers were examined by RT-PCR, immunocytochemistry, and flow cytometry. Rare single human endometrial EpCAM + epithelial cells and EpCAM â stromal cells demonstrated self-renewal by serially cloning >3 times and underwent >30 population doublings over 4 mo in culture. Clonally derived epithelial cells differentiated into cytokeratin + gland-like structures in three dimensional culture. Single stromal cells were multipotent, as their progeny differentiated into smooth muscle cells, adipocytes, chondrocytes, and osteoblasts. Stromal clones expressed mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) markers ITGB1 (CD29), CD44, NT5E (CD73), THY1 (CD90), ENG (CD105), PDGFRB (CD140B), MCAM (CD146) but not endothelial or hemopoietic markers PECAM1 (CD31), CD34, PTPRC (CD45). Adult human endometrium contains rare epithelial progenitors and MSCs, likely responsible for its immense regenerative capacity, which may also have critical roles in the development of endometriosis and endometrial cancer. Human endometrium may provide a readily available source of MSCs for cell-based therapies.
In this study, we performed small RNA library sequencing using human placental tissues to identify placenta-specific miRNAs. We also tested the hypothesis that human chorionic villi could secrete miRNAs extracellularly via exosomes, which in turn enter into maternal circulation. By small RNA library sequencing, most placenta-specific miRNAs (e.g., MIR517A ) were linked to a miRNA cluster on chromosome 19. The miRNA cluster genes were differentially expressed in placental development. Subsequent validation by real-time PCR and in situ hybridization revealed that villous trophoblasts express placenta-specific miRNAs. The analysis of small RNA libraries from the blood plasma showed that the placenta-specific miRNAs are abundant in the plasma of pregnant women. By real-time PCR, we confirmed the rapid clearance of the placenta-specific miRNAs from the plasma after delivery, indicating that such miRNAs enter into maternal circulation. By using the trophoblast cell line BeWo in culture, we demonstrated that miRNAs are indeed extracellularly released via exosomes. Taken together, our findings suggest that miRNAs are exported from the human placental syncytiotrophoblast into maternal circulation, where they could target maternal tissues. Finally, to address the biological functions of placenta-specific miRNAs, we performed a proteome analysis of BeWo cells transfected with MIR517A . Bioinformatic analysis suggests that this miRNA is possibly involved in tumor necrosis factor-mediated signaling. Our data provide important insights into miRNA biology of the human placenta.
This study sought to determine the earliest response of the bovine uterine endometrium to the presence of the conceptus at key developmental stages of early pregnancy. There were no detectable differences in gene expression in endometria from pregnant and cyclic heifers on Days 5, 7, and 13 postestrus, but the expression of 764 genes was altered due to the presence of the conceptus at maternal recognition of pregnancy (Day 16). Of these 514 genes, MX2, BST2, RSAD2, ISG15, OAS1, USP18, IFI44, ISG20, SAMD9, EIF4E, and IFIT2 increased to the greatest extent in pregnant endometria (>8-fold log2 fold change increase). The expression of OXTR, Bt.643 (unofficial symbol), and KCNMA1 was reduced the most, but short-term treatment with recombinant ovine interferon tau (IFNT) in vitro or in vivo did not alter their expression. In vivo intrauterine infusion of IFNT induced the expression of EIF4E, IFIT2, IFI44, ISG20, MX2, RSAD2, SAMD9, and USP18. These results revealed for the first time that changes that occur in the endometrial transcriptome are independent of the presence of a conceptus until pregnancy recognition. The differentially expressed genes (including MX2, BST2, RSAD2, ISG15, OAS1, USP18, IFI44, ISG20, SAMD, and EIF4E) are a consequence of IFNT production by the conceptus. The identified genes represent known and novel early markers of conceptus development and/or return to cyclicity and may be useful to identify the earliest stage at which the endometrial response to the conceptus is detectable.
This study was designed to isolate, characterize, and culture human spermatogonia. Using immunohistochemistry on tubule sections, we localized GPR125 to the plasma membrane of a subset of the spermatogonia. Immunohistochemistry also showed that MAGEA4 was expressed in all spermatogonia (A dark , A pale , and type B) and possibly preleptotene spermatocytes. Notably, KIT was expressed in late spermatocytes and round spermatids, but apparently not in human spermatogonia. UCHL1 was found in the cytoplasm of spermatogonia, whereas POU5F1 was not detected in any of the human germ cells. GFRA1 and ITGA6 were localized to the plasma membrane of the spermatogonia. Next, we isolated GPR125-positive spermatogonia from adult human testes using a two-step enzymatic digestion followed by magnetic-activated cell sorting. The isolated GPR125-positive cells coexpressed GPR125, ITGA6, THY1, and GFRA1, and they could be cultured for short periods of time and exhibited a marked increase in cell numbers as shown by a proliferation assay. Immunocytochemistry of putative stem cell genes after 2 wk in culture revealed that the cells were maintained in an undifferentiated state. MAPK1/3 phosphorylation was increased after 2 wk of culture of the GPR125-positive spermatogonia compared to the freshly isolated cells. Taken together, these results indicate that human spermatogonia share some but not all phenotypes with spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) and progenitors from other species. GPR125-positive spermatogonia are phenotypically putative human SSCs and retain an undifferentiated status in vitro. This study provides novel insights into the molecular characteristics, isolation, and culture of human SSCs and/or progenitors and suggests that the MAPK1/3 pathway is involved in their proliferation.
The postovulatory rise in circulating progesterone (P4) concentrations is associated with increased pregnancy success in beef and dairy cattle. Our study objective was to determine how elevated P4 alters endometrial gene expression to advance conceptus development. Synchronized heifers were inseminated (Day 0) and randomly assigned to pregnant high P4 or to pregnant normal P4. All high P4 groups received a P4-release intravaginal device on Day 3 after insemination that increased P4 concentrations up to Day 7 ( P < 0.05). Tissue was collected on Day 5, 7, 13, or 16 of pregnancy, and endometrial gene expression was analyzed using the bovine Affymetrix (Santa Clara, CA) microarrays. Microarray analyses demonstrated that the largest number of P4-regulated genes coincided with the day when the P4 profiles were different for the longest period. Genes with the largest fold change increase (such as DGAT2 and MSTN [also known as GDF8 ]) were associated with triglyceride synthesis and glucose transport, which can be utilized as an energy source for the developing embryo. Temporal changes occurred at different stages of early pregnancy, with the greatest difference occurring between well-separated stages of conceptus development. Validation of a number of genes by quantitative real-time PCR indicated that P4 supplementation advances endometrial gene expression by altering the time ( FABP , DGAT2 , and MSTN ) or duration ( CRYGS ) of expression pattern for genes that contribute to the composition of histotroph.
It is well established that cAMP signaling is an important regulator of the oocyte meiotic cell cycle. Conversely, the function of cGMP during oocyte maturation is less clear. Herein, we evaluated the expression of cGMP-hydrolyzing phosphodiesterases (PDEs) in the somatic and germ cell compartments of the mouse ovarian follicle and demonstrate that PDE5 is preferentially expressed in somatic cells. Cyclic GMP is a potent inhibitor of cAMP hydrolysis from oocyte extracts, with a 50% inhibitory concentration of 97 nM. Luteinizing hormone (LH) stimulation of cultured preovulatory follicles results in a marked decrease in cGMP content, and a nadir is reached in 1.5 h; similarly, oocyte cGMP levels decrease after gonadotropin stimulation in vivo. The LH-dependent decrease in cGMP requires activation of the epidermal growth factor network. Treatment of follicles with a PDE5 inhibitor increases cGMP in the follicle well above unstimulated levels. Although LH causes a decrease in cGMP in follicles preincubated with PDE5 inhibitors, the levels of this nucleotide remain above unstimulated levels. Under these conditions of elevated cGMP, LH stimulation does not cause oocyte maturation after 5 h of incubation. Microinjection of a cGMP-specific PDE into oocytes causes meiotic maturation of wild-type oocytes, suggesting that an intraoocyte pool of cGMP is involved in the maintenance of meiotic arrest. This effect is absent in PDE3A-deficient oocytes. Taken together, these findings provide evidence that cGMP and cAMP signaling cooperate in maintaining meiotic arrest via regulation of PDE3A and that a decrease in cGMP in the somatic compartment is one of the signals contributing to meiotic maturation.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) miniature pig was developed specifically for xenotransplantation and has been extensively used as a large-animal model in many other biomedical experiments. However, the cloning efficiency of this pig is very low (<0.2%), and this has been an obstacle to the promising application of these inbred swine genetics for biomedical research. It has been demonstrated that increased histone acetylation in somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) embryos, by applying a histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor such as trichostatin A (TSA), significantly enhances the developmental competence in several species. However, some researchers also reported that TSA treatment had various detrimental effects on the in vitro and in vivo development of the SCNT embryos. Herein, we report that treatment with 500 nM 6-(1,3-dioxo-1H, 3H-benzo[de]isoquinolin-2-yl)-hexanoic acid hydroxyamide (termed scriptaid ), a novel HDAC inhibitor, significantly enhanced the development of SCNT embryos to the blastocyst stage when NIH inbred fetal fibroblast cells (FFCs) were used as donors compared with the untreated group (21% vs. 9%, P < 0.05). Scriptaid treatment resulted in eight pregnancies from 10 embryo transfers (ETs) and 14 healthy NIH miniature pigs from eight litters, while no viable piglets (only three mummies) were obtained from nine ETs in the untreated group. Thus, scriptaid dramatically increased the cloning efficiency when using inbred genetics from 0.0% to 1.3%. In contrast, scriptaid treatment decreased the blastocyst rate in in vitro fertilization embryos (from 37% to 26%, P < 0.05). In conclusion, the extremely low cloning efficiency in the NIH miniature pig may be caused by its inbred genetic background and can be improved by alteration of genomic histone acetylation patterns.
Spermatogenesis is a temperature-dependent process, and increases in scrotal temperature can disrupt its progression. We previously showed that heat stress causes DNA damage in germ cells, an increase in germ cell death (as seen on TUNEL staining), and subfertility. The present study evaluated the stress response in mouse testes following a single mild transient scrotal heat exposure (40Â°C or 42Â°C for 30 min). We investigated markers of three types of stress response, namely, hypoxia, oxidative stress, and apoptosis. Heat stress caused an increase in expression of hypoxia-inducible factor 1 alpha ( Hif1a ) mRNA expression and translocation of HIF1A protein to the germ cell nucleus, consistent with hypoxic stress. Increased expression of heme oxygenase 1 ( Hmox1 ) and the antioxidant enzymes glutathione peroxidase 1 (GPX1) and glutathione S-transferase alpha (GSTA) was consistent with a robust oxidative stress response. Germ cell death was associated with an increase in expression of the effector caspase cleaved caspase 3 and a decrease in expression of the protein inhibitor of caspase-activated DNase (ICAD). Reduced expression of ICAD contributes to increased activity of caspase-activated DNase and is consistent with the increased rates of DNA fragmentation that have been detected previously using TUNEL staining. These studies confirmed that transient mild testicular hyperthermia results in temperature-dependent germ cell death and demonstrated that elevated temperature results in a complex stress response, including induction of genes associated with oxidative stress and hypoxia.
In addition to their contribution to the research on early human development, human embryonic stem (hES) cells may also be used for cell-based therapies. Traditionally, these cells have been cultured on mouse embryonic fibroblast feeder layers, which allow their continuous growth in an undifferentiated state. However, the use of hES cells in human therapy requires an animal-free culture system, in which exposure to mouse retroviruses is avoided. In this study we present a novel feeder layer-free culture system for hES cells, based on medium supplemented with 15% serum replacement, a combination of growth factors including transforming growth factor Î²1 (TGFÎ²1), leukemia inhibitory factor, basic fibroblast growth factor, and fibronectin matrix. Human ES cells grown in these conditions maintain all ES cell features after prolonged culture, including the developmental potential to differentiate into representative tissues of the three embryonic germ layers, unlimited and undifferentiated proliferative ability, and maintenance of normal karyotype. The culture system presented here has two major advantages: 1) application of a well-defined culture system for hES cells and 2) reduced exposure of hES cells to animal pathogens. The feeder layer-free culture system reported here aims at facilitating research practices and providing a safer alternative for future clinical applications of hES cells.