Spiral ganglion neurons (SGNs) are primary auditory neurons in the spiral ganglion that transmit sound information from the inner ear to the brain and play an important role in hearing. Impairment of SGNs causes sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL), and it has been thought until now that SGNs cannot be regenerated once lost. Furthermore, no fundamental therapeutic strategy for SNHL has been established other than inserting devices such as hearing aids and cochlear implants. Here we show that the mouse spiral ganglion contains cells that are able to proliferate and indeed differentiate into neurons in response to injury. We suggest that SRY-box transcription factor 2/SRY-box transcription factor 10–double-positive (Sox2/Sox10–double-positive) Schwann cells sequentially started to proliferate, lost Sox10 expression, and became neurons, although the number of new neurons generated spontaneously was very small. To increase the abundance of new neurons, we treated mice with 2 growth factors in combination with valproic acid, which is known to promote neuronal differentiation and survival. This treatment resulted in a dramatic increase in the number of SGNs, accompanied by a partial recovery of the hearing loss induced by injury. Taken together, our findings offer a step toward developing strategies for treatment of SNHL.
Takahiro Wakizono, Hideyuki Nakashima, Tetsuro Yasui, Teppei Noda, Kei Aoyagi, Kanako Okada, Yasuhiro Yamada, Takashi Nakagawa, Kinichi Nakashima
Leukemia stem cells (LSCs) promote the disease and seem resistant to therapy and immune control. Why LSCs are selectively resistant against elimination by cytotoxic CD8+ T cells (CTLs) is still unknown. In this study, we demonstrate that LSCs in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) can be recognized and killed by CD8+ CTLs in vitro. However, Tregs, which preferentially localized close to CD8+ CTLs in CML bone marrow (BM), protected LSCs from MHC-class I dependent CD8+ CTL-mediated elimination in vivo. BM Tregs in CML were characterized by the selective expression of tumor necrosis factor receptor 4 (Tnfrsf4). Stimulation of Tnfrsf4-signaling did not deplete Tregs but reduced the capacity of Tregs to protect LSCs from CD8+ CTL-mediated killing. In the BM of newly diagnosed CML patients, TNFRSF4 mRNA levels were significantly increased and correlated with the expression of the Treg-restricted transcription factor FOXP3. Overall, these results identify Tregs as key regulator of immune escape of LSCs and TNFRSF4 as a potential target to reduce the function of Tregs and boost anti-leukemic immunity in CML.
Magdalena Hinterbrandner, Viviana Rubino, Carina Stoll, Stefan Forster, Noah Schnüriger, Ramin Radpour, Gabriela M. Baerlocher, Adrian F. Ochsenbein, Carsten Riether
BACKGROUND. Recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (RDEB) is a rare, devastating, and life-threatening inherited skin fragility disorder due to a lack of functional type VII collagen, for which no effective therapy exists. ABCB5-positive dermal mesenchymal stem cells (ABCB5+ MSCs) possess immunomodulatory capacities, a favorable skin homing potential and the ability to secrete type VII collagen. In a COL7A1–/– mouse model of RDEB, treatment with ABCB5+ MSCs markedly extended the animals’ lifespans. METHODS. In this international, multicentric, single-arm, phase I/IIa clinical trial, 16 patients (aged 4–36 years) enrolled into four age cohorts received three intravenous infusions of 2×106 ABCB5+ MSCs/kg on days 0, 17 and 35. Patients were followed up for 12 weeks regarding efficacy and 12 months regarding safety. RESULTS. At 12 weeks, statistically significant median (IQR) reductions in the Epidermolysis Bullosa Disease Activity and Scarring Index activity (EBDASI activity) score of 13.0% (2.9%-30%; P = 0.049) and the Instrument for Scoring Clinical Outcome of Research for Epidermolysis Bullosa clinician (iscorEB c) score of 18.2% (4.1%-41.7%; P = 0.037) were observed. Reductions in itch and pain numerical rating scale scores were greatest on day 35, amounting to 37.5% (0.0%-42.9%; P = 0.033) and 25.0% (-8.4%-46.4%; P = 0.168), respectively. Three adverse events were considered related to the cell product, one mild lymphadenopathy and two hypersensitivity reactions. The latter two were serious but resolved without sequelae shortly after withdrawal of treatment. CONCLUSION. This trial demonstrates good tolerability, manageable safety and potential efficacy of intravenous ABCB5+ MSCs as a readily available disease-modifying therapy for RDEB and provides a rationale for further clinical evaluation. TRIAL REGISTRATION. clinicaltrials.gov NCT03529877; EudraCT 2018-001009-98 FUNDING. The trial was sponsored by RHEACELL GmbH & Co. KG, Heidelberg, Germany. Contributions by NY Frank and MH Frank to this work were supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH)/National Eye Institute (NEI) grants RO1EY025794 and R24EY028767.
Dimitra Kiritsi, Kathrin Dieter, Elke Niebergall-Roth, Silvia Fluhr, Cristina Daniele, Jasmina Esterlechner, Samar Sadeghi, Seda Ballikaya, Leoni Erdinger, Franziska Schauer, Stella Gewert, Martin Laimer, Johann W. Bauer, Alain Hovnanian, Giovanna Zambruno, May El Hachem, Emmanuelle Bourrat, Maria Papanikolaou, Gabriela Petrof, Sophie Kitzmüller, Christen L. Ebens, Markus H. Frank, Natasha Y. Frank, Christoph Ganss, Anna E. Martinez, John A. McGrath, Jakub Tolar, Mark A. Kluth
Glioblastoma (GBM) is characterized by an aberrant yet druggable epigenetic landscape. One major family of epigenetic regulators, the histone deacetylases (HDACs), are considered promising therapeutic targets for GBM due to their repressive influences on transcription. Although HDACs share redundant functions and common substrates, the unique isoform-specific roles of different HDACs in GBM remain unclear. In neural stem cells, HDAC2 is the indispensable deacetylase to ensure normal brain development and survival in the absence of HDAC1. Surprisingly, we find that HDAC1 is the essential class I deacetylase in glioma stem cells, and its loss is not compensated for by HDAC2. Using cell-based and biochemical assays, transcriptomic analyses, and patient-derived xenograft models, we find that knockdown of HDAC1 alone has profound effects on the glioma stem cell phenotype in a p53-dependent manner. We demonstrate marked suppression in tumor growth upon targeting of HDAC1 and identify compensatory pathways that provide insights into combination therapies for GBM. Our study highlights the importance of HDAC1 in GBM and the need to develop isoform-specific drugs.
Costanza Lo Cascio, James B. McNamara, Ernesto L. Melendez, Erika M. Lewis, Matthew E. Dufault, Nader Sanai, Christopher L. Plaisier, Shwetal Mehta
Engineered heart tissue (EHT) strategies, by combining cells within a hydrogel matrix, may be a novel therapy for heart failure. EHTs restore cardiac function in rodent injury models, but more data are needed in clinically relevant settings. Accordingly, an upscaled EHT patch (2.5 cm × 1.5 cm × 1.5 mm) consisting of up to 20 million human induced pluripotent stem cell–derived cardiomyocytes (hPSC-CMs) embedded in a fibrin-based hydrogel was developed. A rabbit myocardial infarction model was then established to test for feasibility and efficacy. Our data showed that hPSC-CMs in EHTs became more aligned over 28 days and had improved contraction kinetics and faster calcium transients. Blinded echocardiographic analysis revealed a significant improvement in function in infarcted hearts that received EHTs, along with reduction in infarct scar size by 35%. Vascularization from the host to the patch was observed at week 1 and stable to week 4, but electrical coupling between patch and host heart was not observed. In vivo telemetry recordings and ex vivo arrhythmia provocation protocols showed that the patch was not pro-arrhythmic. In summary, EHTs improved function and reduced scar size without causing arrhythmia, which may be due to the lack of electrical coupling between patch and host heart.
Richard J. Jabbour, Thomas J. Owen, Pragati Pandey, Marina Reinsch, Brian Wang, Oisín King, Liam Steven Couch, Dafni Pantou, David S. Pitcher, Rasheda A. Chowdhury, Fotios G. Pitoulis, Balvinder S. Handa, Worrapong Kit-Anan, Filippo Perbellini, Rachel C. Myles, Daniel J. Stuckey, Michael Dunne, Mayooran Shanmuganathan, Nicholas S. Peters, Fu Siong Ng, Florian Weinberger, Cesare M. Terracciano, Godfrey L. Smith, Thomas Eschenhagen, Sian E. Harding
Taspase1, a highly conserved threonine protease encoded by TASP1, cleaves nuclear histone modifying factors and basal transcription regulators to orchestrate diverse transcription programs. Hereditary loss-of-function mutation of TASP1 has recently been reported in human resulting in a novel anomaly complex syndrome manifested with hematological, facial, and skeletal abnormalities. Here, we demonstrate that Taspase1-mediated cleavage of TFIIAα-β, rather than of MLL1 or MLL2, in mouse embryos is required for proper fetal liver hematopoiesis and correct segmental identities of the axial skeleton. Homozygous genetic deletion of Taspase1 (Tasp1-/-) disrupted embryonic hematopoietic stem cell self-renewal and quiescence states, and axial skeleton fates. Strikingly, mice carrying knockin non-cleavable mutations of TFIIAα-β (Gtf2a1nc/nc), a well-characterized basal transcription factor, displayed more pronounced fetal liver and axial skeleton defects than those with non-cleavable MLL1 and MLL2 (Mll1nc/nc;2nc/nc), two trithorax group (Trx-G) histone H3 trimethyl transferases. Our study offers molecular insights concerning TASP1-loss human syndrome and discovers unexpected role of TFIIAα-β cleavage in embryonic cell fate decisions.
Hidetaka Niizuma, Adam C. Searleman, Shugaku Takeda, Scott A. Armstrong, Christopher Y. Park, Emily H. Cheng, James J. Hsieh
Abnormal action potential (AP) properties, as occurs in long or short QT syndromes (LQTS and SQTS, respectively), can cause life-threatening arrhythmias. Optogenetics strategies, utilizing light-sensitive proteins, have emerged as experimental platforms for cardiac pacing, resynchronization, and defibrillation. We tested the hypothesis that similar optogenetic tools can modulate the cardiomyocyte’s AP properties, as a potentially novel antiarrhythmic strategy. Healthy control and LQTS/SQTS patient–specific human induced pluripotent stem cell–derived cardiomyocytes (hiPSC-CMs) were transduced to express the light-sensitive cationic channel channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2) or the anionic-selective opsin, ACR2. Detailed patch-clamp, confocal-microscopy, and optical mapping studies evaluated the ability of spatiotemporally defined optogenetic protocols to modulate AP properties and prevent arrhythmogenesis in the hiPSC-CMs cell/tissue models. Depending on illumination timing, light-induced ChR2 activation induced robust prolongation or mild shortening of AP duration (APD), while ACR2 activation allowed effective APD shortening. Fine-tuning these approaches allowed for the normalization of pathological AP properties and suppression of arrhythmogenicity in the LQTS/SQTS hiPSC-CM cellular models. We next established a SQTS–hiPSC-CMs–based tissue model of reentrant-arrhythmias using optogenetic cross-field stimulation. An APD-modulating optogenetic protocol was then designed to dynamically prolong APD of the propagating wavefront, completely preventing arrhythmogenesis in this model. This work highlights the potential of optogenetics in studying repolarization abnormalities and in developing novel antiarrhythmic therapies.
Amit Gruber, Oded Edri, Irit Huber, Gil Arbel, Amira Gepstein, Assad Shiti, Naim Shaheen, Snizhana Chorna, Michal Landesberg, Lior Gepstein
BACKGROUND. Whether airspace biomarkers add value to plasma biomarkers in studying ARDS is not well understood. Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) are an investigational therapy for ARDS, and airspace biomarkers may provide mechanistic evidence for MSCs' impact in patients with ARDS. METHODS. We carried out a nested cohort study within a phase 2a safety trial of treatment with allogeneic MSCs for moderate to severe ARDS. Non-bronchoscopic bronchoalveolar lavage and plasma samples were collected 48 hours after study drug infusion. Airspace and plasma biomarker concentrations were compared between the MSC (n = 17) and placebo (n = 10) treatment arms, and correlation between the two compartments was tested. Airspace biomarkers were also tested for associations with clinical and radiographic outcomes. RESULTS. Compared to placebo, MSC treatment significantly reduced airspace total protein, angiopoietin-2 (Ang-2), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and soluble tumor necrosis factor receptor-1 concentrations. Plasma biomarkers did not differ between groups. Each 10-fold increase in airspace Ang-2 was independently associated with 6.7 fewer days alive and free of mechanical ventilation (95% CI -12.3 to -1.0, p = 0.023), and each 10-fold increase in airspace receptor for advanced glycation end-products (RAGE) was independently associated with a 6.6 point increase in day 3 radiographic assessment of lung edema score (95% CI 2.4 to 10.7, p = 0.004). CONCLUSIONS. MSCs reduced biological evidence of lung injury in patients with ARDS. Biomarkers from the airspaces provide additional value for studying pathogenesis, treatment effects, and outcomes in ARDS. TRIAL REGISTRATION. NCT02097641 FUNDING. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Katherine D. Wick, Aleksandra Leligdowicz, Hanjing Zhuo, Lorraine B. Ware, Michael A. Matthay
Glioma stem cells (GSCs) drive propagation and therapeutic resistance of glioblastomas, the most aggressive diffuse brain tumors. However, the molecular mechanisms that maintain the stemness and promote therapy resistance remain poorly understood. Here we report CD109/STAT3 axis as crucial for the maintenance of stemness and tumorigenicity of GSCs and as a mediator of chemoresistance. Mechanistically, CD109 physically interacts with glycoprotein 130 to promote activation of the IL-6/STAT3 pathway in GSCs. Genetic depletion of CD109 abolished the stemness and self-renewal of GSCs and impaired tumorigenicity. Loss of stemness was accompanied with a phenotypic shift of GSCs to more differentiated astrocytic-like cells. Importantly, genetic or pharmacologic targeting of CD109/STAT3 axis sensitized the GSCs to chemotherapy, suggesting that targeting CD109/STAT3 axis has potential to overcome therapy resistance in glioblastoma.
Pauliina Filppu, Jayendrakishore Tanjore Ramanathan, Kirsi J. Granberg, Erika Gucciardo, Hannu Haapasalo, Kaisa Lehti, Matti Nykter, Vadim Le Joncour, Pirjo Laakkonen
Skeletal muscle can regenerate from muscle stem cells and their myogenic precursor cell progeny, myoblasts. However, precise gene editing in human muscle stem cells for autologous cell replacement therapies of untreatable genetic muscle diseases has not yet been reported. Loss-of-function mutations in SGCA, encoding α-sarcoglycan, cause limb-girdle muscular dystrophy 2D/R3, an early onset, severe and rapidly progressive form of muscular dystrophy affecting equally girls and boys. Patients suffer from muscle degeneration and atrophy affecting the limbs, respiratory muscles, and the heart. We isolated human muscle stem cells from two donors with the common SGCA c.157G>A mutation affecting the last coding nucleotide of exon 2. We found that c.157G>A is an exonic splicing mutation that induces skipping of two co-regulated exons. Using adenine base editing, we corrected the mutation in the cells from both donors with >90% efficiency, thereby rescuing the splicing defect and α-sarcoglycan expression. Base edited patient cells regenerated muscle and contributed to the Pax7 positive satellite cell compartment in vivo in mouse xenografts. We hereby provide the first evidence that autologous gene repaired human muscle stem cells can be harnessed for cell replacement therapies of muscular dystrophies.
Helena Escobar, Anne Krause, Sandra Keiper, Janine Kieshauer, Stefanie Müthel, Manuel García de Paredes, Eric Metzler, Ralf Kühn, Florian Heyd, Simone Spuler
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