Doctor of Philosophy, Peking University (2010)
Isabella Graef, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
Despite the potential of stem cell-derived neural transplants for treating intractable neurological diseases, the global effects of a transplant's electrical activity on host circuitry have never been measured directly, preventing the systematic optimization of such therapies. Here, we overcome this problem by combining optogenetics, stem cell biology, and neuroimaging to directly map stem cell-driven neural circuit formation in vivo. We engineered human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) to express channelrhodopsin-2 and transplanted resulting neurons to striatum of rats. To non-invasively visualize the function of newly formed circuits, we performed high-field functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during selective stimulation of transplanted cells. fMRI successfully detected local and remote neural activity, enabling the global graft-host neural circuit function to be assessed. These results demonstrate the potential of a novel neuroimaging-based platform that can be used to identify how a graft's electrical activity influences the brain network in vivo.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.03.079
View details for PubMedID 25936696
Dopaminergic (DA) neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta (also known as A9 DA neurons) are the specific cell type that is lost in Parkinson's disease (PD). There is great interest in deriving A9 DA neurons from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) for regenerative cell replacement therapy for PD. During neural development, A9 DA neurons originate from the floor plate (FP) precursors located at the ventral midline of the central nervous system. Here, we optimized the culture conditions for the stepwise differentiation of hPSCs to A9 DA neurons, which mimics embryonic DA neuron development. In our protocol, we first describe the efficient generation of FP precursor cells from hPSCs using a small molecule method, and then convert the FP cells to A9 DA neurons, which could be maintained in vitro for several months. This efficient, repeatable and controllable protocol works well in human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) from normal persons and PD patients, in which one could derive A9 DA neurons to perform in vitro disease modeling and drug screening and in vivo cell transplantation therapy for PD.
View details for DOI 10.3791/51737
View details for PubMedID 25285746
Embryonic hematopoiesis is a complex process. Elucidating the mechanism regulating hematopoietic differentiation from pluripotent stem cells would allow us to establish a strategy to efficiently generate hematopoietic cells. However, the mechanism governing the generation of hematopoietic progenitors from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) remains unknown. Here, on the basis of the emergence of CD43(+) hematopoietic cells from hemogenic endothelial (HE) cells, we demonstrated that VEGF was essential and sufficient, and that bFGF was synergistic with VEGF to specify the HE cells and the subsequent transition into CD43(+) hematopoietic cells. Significantly, we identified TGF? as a novel signal to regulate hematopoietic development, as the TGF? inhibitor SB 431542 significantly promoted the transition from HE cells into CD43(+) hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs) during hESC differentiation. By defining these critical signaling factors during hematopoietic differentiation, we can efficiently generate HPCs from hESCs. Our strategy could offer an in vitro model to study early human hematopoietic development.
View details for DOI 10.1038/cr.2011.138
View details for Web of Science ID 000299312900019
View details for PubMedID 21862970
The generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) provides a promising possibility for type 1 diabetes therapy. However, the generation of insulin-producing cells from iPSCs and evaluation of their efficacy and safety should be achieved in large animals before clinically applying iPSC-derived cells in humans. Here we try to generate insulin-producing cells from rhesus monkey (RM) iPSCs.Based on the knowledge of embryonic pancreatic development, we developed a four-stage protocol to generate insulin-producing cells from RM iPSCs. We established a quantitative method using flow cytometry to analyse the differentiation efficiency. In addition, to evaluate the differentiation competence and function of RM iPSC-derived cells, transplantation of stage 3 and 4 cells into immunodeficient mice was performed.RM iPSCs were sequentially induced to definitive endoderm (DE), pancreatic progenitors (PP), endocrine precursors (EP) and insulin-producing cells. PDX1(+) PP cells were obtained efficiently from RM iPSCs (over 85% efficiency). The TGF-? inhibitor SB431542 promoted the generation of NGN3(+) EP cells, which can generate insulin-producing cells in vivo upon transplantation. Finally, after this four-stage differentiation in vitro, insulin-producing cells that could secrete insulin in response to glucose stimulation were obtained. When transplanted into mouse models for diabetes, these insulin-producing cells could decrease blood glucose levels in approximately 50% of the mice.We demonstrate for the first time that RM iPSCs can be differentiated into functional insulin-producing cells, which will provide the basis for investigating the efficacy and safety of autologous iPSC-derived insulin-producing cells in a rhesus monkey model for type 1 diabetes therapy.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s00125-011-2246-x
View details for Web of Science ID 000293544900018
View details for PubMedID 21755313
Induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells can be generated from somatic cells by transduction with several transcription factors in mouse and human. However, direct reprogramming in other species has not been reported. Here, we generated monkey iPS cells by retrovirus-mediated introduction of monkey transcription factors OCT4, SOX2, KLF4, and c-MYC.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.stem.2008.10.014
View details for Web of Science ID 000261670900006
View details for PubMedID 19041774
Feeder cells are commonly used to culture embryonic stem cells to maintain their undifferentiated and pluripotent status. Conventionally, mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs), supplemented with leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF), are used as feeder cells to support the growth of mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs) in culture. To prepare for fresh MEF feeder or for MEF-conditioned medium, sacrifice of mouse fetuses repeatedly is unavoidable in these tedious culture systems. Here we report the discovery of a human endothelial cell line (ECV-304 cell line) that efficiently supports growth of mESCs LIF-free conditions. mESCs that were successfully cultured for eight to 20 passages on ECV-304 feeders showed morphological characteristics similar to cells cultured in traditional feeder cell systems. These cells expressed the stem cell markers Oct3/4, Nanog, Sox2, and SSEA-1. Furthermore, cells cultured on the ECV-304 cell line were able to differentiate into three germ layers and were able to generate chimeric mice. Compared with traditional culture systems, there is no requirement for mouse fetuses and exogenous LIF does not need to be added to the culture system. As a stable cell line, the ECV-304 cell line efficiently replaces MEFs as an effective feeder system and allows the efficient expansion of mESCs.
View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1432-0436.2008.00280.x
View details for Web of Science ID 000260254600001
View details for PubMedID 18557766
Human embryonic stem cells (hES cells) have unlimited self-renewal capacity and can differentiate into most, if not all, possible cell types. This unique property makes them valuable not only for investigation of early developmental processes, but also for regenerative medicine. Mesoderm-derived cardiac cells and hematopoietic cells both have the potential for various therapeutic applications. However, efficient induction of hES cell differentiation into mesoderm remains a challenge. Here, we showed that treatment of hES cells with bone morphogenetic protein-4 (BMP-4) exhibited differential effects: long-term treatment results in trophoblast and extra-embryonic endoderm differentiation, whereas short-term treatment can promote early mesoderm induction. The induction of mesoderm in hES cells occurs at a high efficiency as measured using several markers, such as Brachyury, WNT3, and MIXL1 expression. Moreover, these mesoderm progenitor cells can differentiate into cardiac and hematopoietic lineages in vitro. Further analysis showed that the mesoderm-inducing capacity of BMP-4 requires endogenous FGF and TGF-beta/Nodal/activin signaling activities. Thus, our results uncover a novel role for BMP-4 in regulation of hES cell differentiation and should provide insights into the mechanism of mesoderm induction in hES cells.
View details for DOI 10.1182/blood-2007-02-074120
View details for Web of Science ID 000253251100038
View details for PubMedID 18042803
The blast colony-forming cell (BL-CFC) was identified as an equivalent to the hemangioblast during in vitro embryonic stem (ES) cell differentiation. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying the generation of the BL-CFC remain largely unknown. Here we report the isolation of mouse lysocardiolipin acyltransferase (Lycat) based on homology to zebrafish lycat, a candidate gene for the cloche locus. Mouse Lycat is expressed in hematopoietic organs and is enriched in the Lin(-)C-Kit(+)Sca-1(+) hematopoietic stem cells in bone marrow and in the Flk1(+)/hCD4(+)(Scl(+)) hemangioblast population in embryoid bodies. The forced Lycat transgene leads to increased messenger RNA expression of hematopoietic and endothelial genes as well as increased blast colonies and their progenies, endothelial and hematopoietic lineages. The Lycat small interfering RNA transgene leads to a decrease expression of hematopoietic and endothelial genes. An unbiased genomewide microarray analysis further substantiates that the forced Lycat transgene specifically up-regulates a set of genes related to hemangioblasts and hematopoietic and endothelial lineages. Therefore, mouse Lycat plays an important role in the early specification of hematopoietic and endothelial cells, probably acting at the level of the hemangioblast.
View details for DOI 10.1182/blood-2007-04-086827
View details for Web of Science ID 000250946300025
View details for PubMedID 17675553