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Special Issue "Advances in Cell Transplantation"

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Biochemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2016).

Special Issue Editor

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Maurizio Muraca
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Women's and Children's Health, University of Padova, Via Giustiniani, 3, 35128 Padova, Italy
Interests: cell transplantation; cell therapy; paracrine signaling; extracellular vesicles; mesenchymal stem cell immune modulation
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Cell Transplantation has emerged as a promising field, based on progress in cell and molecular biology allowing isolation, characterization, expansion, and engineering of cells as potential therapeutic tools. Experience in the last two decades yielded significant results in the reconstruction of epithelial tissues, such as the skin or the cornea. However, the use of cells for regeneration of more complex organs, such as the heart or the brain, has met more difficulties, probably due to limited knowledge of the mechanisms underlying cell grafting and integration into host tissues. In other words, as predicted by Neil Theise twenty years ago, knowledge in tissue biology did not parallel progress in cell and molecular biology. The concept of “replacing” diseased or aged organs with younger and more active cells, such as stem cells, has dominated the field for some years. Experimental and clinical evidence now indicates that repopulation of non epithelial tissues with exogenous cells is generally inconsistent, supporting an indirect primary mechanism other than structural integration of transplanted cells at injured site, and it is generally accepted that such underlying mechanisms can be mostly characterized as paracrine effects.

Despite these limitations, with the resulting failures, wave of disillusionment and reduced investments in the first decade of the 2000s, the field of Cell Transplantation is now entering a new phase of growth, propelled by better understanding of the therapeutic mechanisms of action, novel applications in oncology as well as by upgraded technology for cell isolation, expansion and delivery under GMP conditions. Such renewed confidence is also testified by the entry of Big Pharma in the field. Critical hurdles still include accurate selection of target indications, predictive markers of response to treatment and economic sustainability. Since Cell Transplantation is often directed to highly selected populations of patients afferent to specialized Clinics, it is mandatory to shape a model of personalized medicine where Industry and Hospitals work in close cooperation.

This Special Issue dedicated to Cell Transplantation will cover the whole pathway translating scientific advances into therapeutic interventions, including in vitro and in vivo studies on mechanisms of action, animal models of target diseases, GMP production, and clinical trials. Original research papers, mini and full reviews and commentaries are all welcome.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Maurizio Muraca
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • animal models
  • bioreactors
  • cell engineering
  • cell factory
  • cell immunotherapy
  • cell transplantation
  • clinical trials
  • embryonic stem cells
  • gmp facility
  • induced pluripotent stem cells
  • mesenchymal stem/stromal cells
  • paracrine signaling
  • somatic stem cells

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Published Papers (21 papers)

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Open AccessArticle
Reprogramming Methods Do Not Affect Gene Expression Profile of Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(1), 206; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms18010206 - 20 Jan 2017
Cited by 12
Abstract
Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are pluripotent cells derived from adult somatic cells. After the pioneering work by Yamanaka, who first generated iPSCs by retroviral transduction of four reprogramming factors, several alternative methods to obtain iPSCs have been developed in order to increase [...] Read more.
Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are pluripotent cells derived from adult somatic cells. After the pioneering work by Yamanaka, who first generated iPSCs by retroviral transduction of four reprogramming factors, several alternative methods to obtain iPSCs have been developed in order to increase the yield and safety of the process. However, the question remains open on whether the different reprogramming methods can influence the pluripotency features of the derived lines. In this study, three different strategies, based on retroviral vectors, episomal vectors, and Sendai virus vectors, were applied to derive iPSCs from human fibroblasts. The reprogramming efficiency of the methods based on episomal and Sendai virus vectors was higher than that of the retroviral vector-based approach. All human iPSC clones derived with the different methods showed the typical features of pluripotent stem cells, including the expression of alkaline phosphatase and stemness maker genes, and could give rise to the three germ layer derivatives upon embryoid bodies assay. Microarray analysis confirmed the presence of typical stem cell gene expression profiles in all iPSC clones and did not identify any significant difference among reprogramming methods. In conclusion, the use of different reprogramming methods is equivalent and does not affect gene expression profile of the derived human iPSCs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Cell Transplantation)
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Open AccessArticle
Antithymocyte Globulin Induces a Tolerogenic Phenotype in Human Dendritic Cells
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(12), 2081; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17122081 - 11 Dec 2016
Cited by 5
Abstract
Antithymocyte globulin (ATG) is used in the prevention of graft-versus-host disease during allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. It is generally accepted that ATG mediates its immunosuppressive effect primarily via depletion of T cells. Here, we analyzed the impact of ATG-Fresenius (now Grafalon® [...] Read more.
Antithymocyte globulin (ATG) is used in the prevention of graft-versus-host disease during allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. It is generally accepted that ATG mediates its immunosuppressive effect primarily via depletion of T cells. Here, we analyzed the impact of ATG-Fresenius (now Grafalon®) on human monocyte-derived dendritic cells (DC). ATG induced a semi-mature phenotype in DC with significantly reduced expression of CD14, increased expression of HLA-DR, and intermediate expression of CD54, CD80, CD83, and CD86. ATG-DC showed an increase in IL-10 secretion but no IL-12 production. In line with this tolerogenic phenotype, ATG caused a significant induction of indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase expression and a concomitant increase in levels of tryptophan metabolites in the supernatants of DC. Further, ATG-DC did not induce the proliferation of allogeneic T cells in a mixed lymphocyte reaction but actively suppressed the T cell proliferation induced by mature DC. These data suggest that besides its well-known effect on T cells, ATG modulates the phenotype of DC in a tolerogenic way, which might constitute an essential part of its immunosuppressive action in vivo. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Cell Transplantation)
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Open AccessArticle
Pretransplant Levels of CRP and Interleukin-6 Family Cytokines; Effects on Outcome after Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplantation
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(11), 1823; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17111823 - 01 Nov 2016
Cited by 14
Abstract
Several pretransplant factors, including CRP (C-reactive protein) levels, reflect the risk of complications after allogeneic stem cell transplantation. IL-6 induces CRP increase, and we therefore investigated the effects of pretransplant IL-6, soluble IL-6 receptors, IL-6 family cytokines and CRP serum levels on outcome [...] Read more.
Several pretransplant factors, including CRP (C-reactive protein) levels, reflect the risk of complications after allogeneic stem cell transplantation. IL-6 induces CRP increase, and we therefore investigated the effects of pretransplant IL-6, soluble IL-6 receptors, IL-6 family cytokines and CRP serum levels on outcome for 100 consecutive allotransplant recipients. All patients had related donors, none had active infections and 99 patients were in complete remission before conditioning. The incidence of acute graft versus host disease (aGVHD) requiring treatment was 40%, survival at Day +100 82%, and overall survival 48%. Despite a significant correlation between pretransplant CRP and IL-6 levels, only CRP levels significantly influenced transplant-related mortality (TRM). However, CRP did not influence overall survival (OS). Pretransplant IL-31 influenced late TRM. Finally, there was a significant association between pretransplant IL-6 and early postconditioning weight gain (i.e., fluid retention), and this fluid retention was a risk factor for aGVHD, TRM and OS. To conclude, pretransplant CRP, IL-31 and early posttransplant fluid retention were independent risk factors for TRM and survival after allotransplantation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Cell Transplantation)
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Open AccessArticle
The Activating NKG2C Receptor Is Significantly Reduced in NK Cells after Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplantation in Patients with Severe Graft-versus-Host Disease
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(11), 1797; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17111797 - 27 Oct 2016
Cited by 10
Abstract
Natural killer (NK) cells play a central role in the innate immune system. In allogeneic stem cell transplantation (alloSCT), alloreactive NK cells derived by the graft are discussed to mediate the elimination of leukemic cells and dendritic cells in the patient and thereby [...] Read more.
Natural killer (NK) cells play a central role in the innate immune system. In allogeneic stem cell transplantation (alloSCT), alloreactive NK cells derived by the graft are discussed to mediate the elimination of leukemic cells and dendritic cells in the patient and thereby to reduce the risk for leukemic relapses and graft-versus-host reactions. The alloreactivity of NK cells is determined by various receptors including the activating CD94/NKG2C and the inhibitory CD94/NKG2A receptors, which both recognize the non-classical human leukocyte antigen E (HLA-E). Here we analyze the contribution of these receptors to NK cell alloreactivity in 26 patients over the course of the first year after alloSCT due to acute myeloid leukemia, myelodysplastic syndrome and T cell Non-Hodgkin-Lymphoma. Our results show that NK cells expressing the activating CD94/NKG2C receptor are significantly reduced in patients after alloSCT with severe acute and chronic graft-versus-host disease (GvHD). Moreover, the ratio of CD94/NKG2C to CD94/NKG2A was reduced in patients with severe acute and chronic GvHD after receiving an HLA-mismatched graft. Collectively, these results provide evidence for the first time that CD94/NKG2C is involved in GvHD prevention. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Cell Transplantation)
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Open AccessArticle
MicroRNA-Mediated Down-Regulation of Apoptosis Signal-Regulating Kinase 1 (ASK1) Attenuates the Apoptosis of Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) Transplanted into Infarcted Heart
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(10), 1752; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17101752 - 20 Oct 2016
Cited by 10
Abstract
Stem cell therapy using adult stem cells, such as mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) has produced some promising results in treating the damaged heart. However, the low survival rate of MSCs after transplantation is still one of the crucial factors that limit the therapeutic [...] Read more.
Stem cell therapy using adult stem cells, such as mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) has produced some promising results in treating the damaged heart. However, the low survival rate of MSCs after transplantation is still one of the crucial factors that limit the therapeutic effect of stem cells. In the damaged heart, oxidative stress due to reactive oxygen species (ROS) production can cause the death of transplanted MSCs. Apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 (ASK1) has been implicated in the development of oxidative stress-related pathologic conditions. Thus, we hypothesized that down-regulation of ASK1 in human MSCs (hMSCs) might attenuate the post-transplantation death of MSCs. To test this hypothesis, we screened microRNAs (miRNAs) based on a miRNA-target prediction database and empirical data and investigated the anti-apoptotic effect of selected miRNAs on human adipose-derived stem cells (hASCs) and on rat myocardial infarction (MI) models. Our data indicated that miRNA-301a most significantly suppressed ASK1 expression in hASCs. Apoptosis-related genes were significantly down-regulated in miRNA-301a-enriched hASCs exposed to hypoxic conditions. Taken together, these data show that miRNA-mediated down-regulation of ASK1 protects MSCs during post-transplantation, leading to an increase in the efficacy of MSC-based cell therapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Cell Transplantation)
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Open AccessArticle
Astroglial Activation by an Enriched Environment after Transplantation of Mesenchymal Stem Cells Enhances Angiogenesis after Hypoxic-Ischemic Brain Injury
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(9), 1550; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17091550 - 14 Sep 2016
Cited by 9
Abstract
Transplantation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) has paracrine effects; however, the effects are known to be largely limited. Here we investigated the combination effects of cell transplantation and enriched environment (EE) in a model of hypoxic-ischemic brain injury. Brain damage was induced in [...] Read more.
Transplantation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) has paracrine effects; however, the effects are known to be largely limited. Here we investigated the combination effects of cell transplantation and enriched environment (EE) in a model of hypoxic-ischemic brain injury. Brain damage was induced in seven-day-old mice by unilateral carotid artery ligation and exposure to hypoxia (8% O2 for 90 min). At six weeks of age, the mice were randomly assigned to four groups: phosphate-buffered saline (PBS)-control (CON), PBS-EE, MSC-CON, and MSC-EE. Rotarod and grip strength tests were performed to evaluate neurobehavioral functions. Histologic evaluations were also performed to confirm the extent of astrocyte activation and endogenous angiogenesis. An array-based multiplex ELISA and Western blot were used to identify growth factors in vivo and in vitro. Two weeks after treatment, levels of astrocyte density and angiogenic factors were increased in MSC-EE mice, but glial scarring was not increased. Eight weeks after treatment, angiogenesis was increased, and behavioral outcomes were synergistically improved in the MSC-EE group. Astrocytes co-cultured with MSCs expressed higher levels of angiogenic factors than astrocytes cultured alone. The mechanisms of this synergistic effect included enhanced repair processes, such as increased endogenous angiogenesis and upregulation of angiogenic factors released from activated astrocytes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Cell Transplantation)
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Open AccessArticle
Digital PCR Panel for Sensitive Hematopoietic Chimerism Quantification after Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplantation
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(9), 1515; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17091515 - 09 Sep 2016
Cited by 12
Abstract
Accurate and sensitive determination of hematopoietic chimerism is a crucial diagnostic measure after allogeneic stem cell transplantation to monitor engraftment and potentially residual disease. Short tandem repeat (STR) amplification, the current “gold standard” for chimerism assessment facilitates reliable accuracy, but is hampered by [...] Read more.
Accurate and sensitive determination of hematopoietic chimerism is a crucial diagnostic measure after allogeneic stem cell transplantation to monitor engraftment and potentially residual disease. Short tandem repeat (STR) amplification, the current “gold standard” for chimerism assessment facilitates reliable accuracy, but is hampered by its limited sensitivity (≥1%). Digital PCR (dPCR) has been shown to combine exact quantification and high reproducibility over a very wide measurement range with excellent sensitivity (routinely ≤0.1%) and thus represents a promising alternative to STR analysis. We here aimed at developing a whole panel of digital-PCR based assays for routine diagnostic. To this end, we tested suitability of 52 deletion/insertion polymorphisms (DIPs) for duplex analysis in combination with either a reference gene or a Y-chromosome specific PCR. Twenty-nine DIPs with high power of discrimination and good performance were identified, optimized and technically validated. We tested the newly established assays on retrospective patient samples that were in parallel also measured by STR amplification and found excellent correlation. Finally, a screening plate for initial genotyping with DIP-specific duplex dPCR assays was designed for convenient assay selection. In conclusion, we have established a comprehensive dPCR system for precise and high-sensitivity measurement of hematopoietic chimerism, which should be highly useful for clinical routine diagnostics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Cell Transplantation)
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Open AccessArticle
Anti-Inflammatory Mechanism of Neural Stem Cell Transplantation in Spinal Cord Injury
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(9), 1380; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17091380 - 23 Aug 2016
Cited by 23
Abstract
Neural stem cell (NSC) transplantation has been proposed to promote functional recovery after spinal cord injury. However, a detailed understanding of the mechanisms of how NSCs exert their therapeutic plasticity is lacking. We transplanted mouse NSCs into the injured spinal cord seven days [...] Read more.
Neural stem cell (NSC) transplantation has been proposed to promote functional recovery after spinal cord injury. However, a detailed understanding of the mechanisms of how NSCs exert their therapeutic plasticity is lacking. We transplanted mouse NSCs into the injured spinal cord seven days after SCI, and the Basso Mouse Scale (BMS) score was performed to assess locomotor function. The anti-inflammatory effects of NSC transplantation was analyzed by immunofluorescence staining of neutrophil and macrophages and the detection of mRNA levels of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), interleukin-1β (IL-1β), interleukin-6 (IL-6) and interleukin-12 (IL-12). Furthermore, bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMDMs) were co-cultured with NSCs and followed by analyzing the mRNA levels of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-6 and IL-10 with quantitative real-time PCR. The production of TNF-α and IL-1β by BMDMs was examined using the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Transplanted NSCs had significantly increased BMS scores (p < 0.05). Histological results showed that the grafted NSCs migrated from the injection site toward the injured area. NSCs transplantation significantly reduced the number of neutrophils and iNOS+/Mac-2+ cells at the epicenter of the injured area (p < 0.05). Meanwhile, mRNA levels of TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-6 and IL-12 in the NSCs transplantation group were significantly decreased compared to the control group. Furthermore, NSCs inhibited the iNOS expression of BMDMs and the release of inflammatory factors by macrophages in vitro (p < 0.05). These results suggest that NSC transplantation could modulate SCI-induced inflammatory responses and enhance neurological function after SCI via reducing M1 macrophage activation and infiltrating neutrophils. Thus, this study provides a new insight into the mechanisms responsible for the anti-inflammatory effect of NSC transplantation after SCI. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Cell Transplantation)
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Open AccessArticle
VEGF and FGF2 Improve Revascularization, Survival, and Oocyte Quality of Cryopreserved, Subcutaneously-Transplanted Mouse Ovarian Tissues
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(8), 1237; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17081237 - 30 Jul 2016
Cited by 7
Abstract
This study was conducted to investigate the effect of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2) on revascularization, survival, and oocyte quality of cryopreserved, subcutaneously-transplanted mouse ovarian tissue. Autologous subcutaneous transplantation of vitrified-thawed mouse ovarian tissues treated with [...] Read more.
This study was conducted to investigate the effect of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2) on revascularization, survival, and oocyte quality of cryopreserved, subcutaneously-transplanted mouse ovarian tissue. Autologous subcutaneous transplantation of vitrified-thawed mouse ovarian tissues treated with (experimental group) or without (control group) VEGF and FGF2 was performed. After transplantation to the inguinal region for two or three weeks, graft survival, angiogenesis, follicle development, and oocyte quality were examined after gonadotropin administration. VEGF coupled with FGF2 (VEGF/FGF2) promoted revascularization and significantly increased the survival rate of subcutaneously-transplanted cryopreserved ovarian tissues compared with untreated controls. The two growth factors did not show long-term effects on the ovarian grafts. In contrast to the untreated ovarian grafts, active folliculogenesis was revealed as the number of follicles at various stages and of mature oocytes in antral follicles after gonadotropin administration were remarkably higher in the VEGF/FGF2-treated groups. Although the fertilization rate was similar between the VEGF/FGF2 and control groups, the oocyte quality was much better in the VEGF/FGF2-treated grafts as demonstrated by the higher ratio of blastocyst development. Introducing angiogenic factors, such as VEGF and FGF2, may be a promising strategy to improve revascularization, survival, and oocyte quality of cryopreserved, subcutaneously-transplanted mouse ovarian tissue. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Cell Transplantation)
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Open AccessArticle
Immunomodulation Induced by Stem Cell Mobilization and Harvesting in Healthy Donors: Increased Systemic Osteopontin Levels after Treatment with Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(7), 1158; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17071158 - 19 Jul 2016
Cited by 1
Abstract
Peripheral blood stem cells from healthy donors mobilized by granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) and harvested by leukapheresis are commonly used for allogeneic stem cell transplantation. The frequency of severe graft versus host disease is similar for patients receiving peripheral blood and bone marrow [...] Read more.
Peripheral blood stem cells from healthy donors mobilized by granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) and harvested by leukapheresis are commonly used for allogeneic stem cell transplantation. The frequency of severe graft versus host disease is similar for patients receiving peripheral blood and bone marrow allografts, even though the blood grafts contain more T cells, indicating mobilization-related immunoregulatory effects. The regulatory phosphoprotein osteopontin was quantified in plasma samples from healthy donors before G-CSF treatment, after four days of treatment immediately before and after leukapheresis, and 18–24 h after apheresis. Myeloma patients received chemotherapy, combined with G-CSF, for stem cell mobilization and plasma samples were prepared immediately before, immediately after, and 18–24 h after leukapheresis. G-CSF treatment of healthy stem cell donors increased plasma osteopontin levels, and a further increase was seen immediately after leukapheresis. The pre-apheresis levels were also increased in myeloma patients compared to healthy individuals. Finally, in vivo G-CSF exposure did not alter T cell expression of osteopontin ligand CD44, and in vitro osteopontin exposure induced only small increases in anti-CD3- and anti-CD28-stimulated T cell proliferation. G-CSF treatment, followed by leukapheresis, can increase systemic osteopontin levels, and this effect may contribute to the immunomodulatory effects of G-CSF treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Cell Transplantation)
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Open AccessArticle
Identification of Pathways in Liver Repair Potentially Targeted by Secretory Proteins from Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(7), 1099; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17071099 - 09 Jul 2016
Cited by 10
Abstract
Background: The beneficial impact of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) on both acute and chronic liver diseases has been confirmed, although the molecular mechanisms behind it remain elusive. We aim to identify factors secreted by undifferentiated and hepatocytic differentiated MSC in vitro in order [...] Read more.
Background: The beneficial impact of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) on both acute and chronic liver diseases has been confirmed, although the molecular mechanisms behind it remain elusive. We aim to identify factors secreted by undifferentiated and hepatocytic differentiated MSC in vitro in order to delineate liver repair pathways potentially targeted by MSC. Methods: Secreted factors were determined by protein arrays and related pathways identified by biomathematical analyses. Results: MSC from adipose tissue and bone marrow expressed a similar pattern of surface markers. After hepatocytic differentiation, CD54 (intercellular adhesion molecule 1, ICAM-1) increased and CD166 (activated leukocyte cell adhesion molecule, ALCAM) decreased. MSC secreted different factors before and after differentiation. These comprised cytokines involved in innate immunity and growth factors regulating liver regeneration. Pathway analysis revealed cytokine-cytokine receptor interactions, chemokine signalling pathways, the complement and coagulation cascades as well as the Januskinase-signal transducers and activators of transcription (JAK-STAT) and nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain-like receptor (NOD-like receptor) signalling pathways as relevant networks. Relationships to transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) and hypoxia-inducible factor 1-α (HIF1-α) signalling seemed also relevant. Conclusion: MSC secreted proteins, which differed depending on cell source and degree of differentiation. The factors might address inflammatory and growth factor pathways as well as chemo-attraction and innate immunity. Since these are prone to dysregulation in most liver diseases, MSC release hepatotropic factors, potentially supporting liver regeneration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Cell Transplantation)
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Open AccessArticle
Promotion of Survival and Engraftment of Transplanted Adipose Tissue-Derived Stromal and Vascular Cells by Overexpression of Manganese Superoxide Dismutase
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(7), 1082; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17071082 - 07 Jul 2016
Cited by 9
Abstract
Short-term persistence of transplanted cells during early post-implant period limits clinical efficacy of cell therapy. Poor cell survival is mainly due to the harsh hypoxic microenvironment transplanted cells face at the site of implantation and to anoikis, driven by cell adhesion loss. We [...] Read more.
Short-term persistence of transplanted cells during early post-implant period limits clinical efficacy of cell therapy. Poor cell survival is mainly due to the harsh hypoxic microenvironment transplanted cells face at the site of implantation and to anoikis, driven by cell adhesion loss. We evaluated the hypothesis that viral-mediated expression of a gene conferring hypoxia resistance to cells before transplant could enhance survival of grafted cells in early stages after implant. We used adipose tissue as cell source because it consistently provides high yields of adipose-tissue-derived stromal and vascular cells (ASCs), suitable for regenerative purposes. Luciferase positive cells were transduced with lentiviral vectors expressing either green fluorescent protein as control or human manganese superoxide dismutase (SOD2). Cells were then exposed in vitro to hypoxic conditions, mimicking cell transplantation into an ischemic site. Cells overexpressing SOD2 displayed survival rates significantly greater compared to mock transduced cells. Similar results were also obtained in vivo after implantation into syngeneic mice and assessment of cell engraftment by in vivo bioluminescent imaging. Taken together, these findings suggest that ex vivo gene transfer of SOD2 into ASCs before implantation confers a cytoprotective effect leading to improved survival and engraftment rates, therefore enhancing cell therapy regenerative potential. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Cell Transplantation)
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Open AccessArticle
Bone Marrow Mesenchymal Stem Cells Expressing Baculovirus-Engineered Bone Morphogenetic Protein-7 Enhance Rabbit Posterolateral Fusion
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(7), 1073; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17071073 - 05 Jul 2016
Cited by 5
Abstract
Previous studies have suggested that bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BMDMSCs) genetically modified with baculoviral bone morphogenetic protein-2 (Bac-BMP-2) vectors could achieve successful fusion in a femur defect model or in a spinal fusion model. In this study, BMDMSCs expressing BMP-7 (Bac-BMP-7-BMDMSCs) were [...] Read more.
Previous studies have suggested that bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BMDMSCs) genetically modified with baculoviral bone morphogenetic protein-2 (Bac-BMP-2) vectors could achieve successful fusion in a femur defect model or in a spinal fusion model. In this study, BMDMSCs expressing BMP-7 (Bac-BMP-7-BMDMSCs) were generated. We hypothesized that Bac-BMP-7-BMDMSCs could secrete more BMP-7 than untransduced BMDMSCs in vitro and achieve spinal posterolateral fusion in a rabbit model. Eighteen rabbits underwent posterolateral fusion at L4-5. Group I (n = 6) was implanted with collagen-β-tricalcium phosphate (TCP)-hydroxyapatite (HA), Group II (n = 6) was implanted with collagen-β-TCP-HA plus BMDMSCs, and Group III (n = 6) was implanted with collagen-β-TCP-HA plus Bac-BMP-7-BMDMSCs. In vitro production of BMP-7 was quantified with an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Spinal fusion was examined using computed tomography (CT), manual palpation, and histological analysis. ELISA demonstrated that Bac-BMP-7-BMDMSCs produced four-fold to five-fold more BMP-7 than did BMDMSCs. In the CT results, 6 fused segments were observed in Group I (50%, 6/12), 8 in Group II (67%, 8/12), and 12 in Group III (100%, 12/12). The fusion rate, determined by manual palpation, was 0% (0/6) in Group I, 0% (0/6) in Group II, and 83% (5/6) in Group III. Histology showed that Group III had more new bone and matured marrow formation. In conclusion, BMDMSCs genetically transduced with the Bac-BMP-7 vector could express more BMP-7 than untransduced BMDMSCs. These Bac-BMP-7-BMDMSCs on collagen-β-TCP-HA scaffolds were able to induce successful spinal fusion in rabbits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Cell Transplantation)
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Open AccessArticle
Spatial Geometries of Self-Assembled Chitohexaose Monolayers Regulate Myoblast Fusion
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(5), 686; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17050686 - 06 May 2016
Abstract
Myoblast fusion into functionally-distinct myotubes to form in vitro skeletal muscle constructs under differentiation serum-free conditions still remains a challenge. Herein, we report that our microtopographical carbohydrate substrates composed of bioactive hexa-N-acetyl-d-glucosamine (GlcNAc6) modulated the efficiency of myoblast fusion [...] Read more.
Myoblast fusion into functionally-distinct myotubes to form in vitro skeletal muscle constructs under differentiation serum-free conditions still remains a challenge. Herein, we report that our microtopographical carbohydrate substrates composed of bioactive hexa-N-acetyl-d-glucosamine (GlcNAc6) modulated the efficiency of myoblast fusion without requiring horse serum or any differentiation medium during cell culture. Promotion of the differentiation of dissociated mononucleated skeletal myoblasts (C2C12; a mouse myoblast cell line) into robust myotubes was found only on GlcNAc6 micropatterns, whereas the myoblasts on control, non-patterned GlcNAc6 substrates or GlcNAc6-free patterns exhibited an undifferentiated form. We also examined the possible role of GlcNAc6 micropatterns with various widths in the behavior of C2C12 cells in early and late stages of myogenesis through mRNA expression of myosin heavy chain (MyHC) isoforms. The spontaneous contraction of myotubes was investigated via the regulation of glucose transporter type 4 (GLUT4), which is involved in stimulating glucose uptake during cellular contraction. Narrow patterns demonstrated enhanced glucose uptake rate and generated a fast-twitch muscle fiber type, whereas the slow-twitch muscle fiber type was dominant on wider patterns. Our findings indicated that GlcNAc6-mediated integrin interactions are responsible for guiding myoblast fusion forward along with myotube formation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Cell Transplantation)
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Open AccessArticle
Mesenchymal Stem Cells Increase Neo-Angiogenesis and Albumin Production in a Liver Tissue-Engineered Engraftment
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(3), 374; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17030374 - 12 Mar 2016
Cited by 4
Abstract
The construction of a three-dimensional (3D) liver tissue is limited by many factors; one of them is the lack of vascularization inside the tissue-engineered construct. An engineered liver pocket-scaffold able to increase neo-angiogenesis in vivo could be a solution to overcome these limitations. [...] Read more.
The construction of a three-dimensional (3D) liver tissue is limited by many factors; one of them is the lack of vascularization inside the tissue-engineered construct. An engineered liver pocket-scaffold able to increase neo-angiogenesis in vivo could be a solution to overcome these limitations. In this work, a hyaluronan (HA)-based scaffold enriched with human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) and rat hepatocytes was pre-conditioned in a bioreactor system, then implanted into the liver of rats. Angiogenesis and hepatocyte metabolic functions were monitored. The formation of a de novo vascular network within the HA-based scaffold, as well as an improvement in albumin production by the implanted hepatocytes, were detected. The presence of hMSCs in the HA-scaffold increased the concentration of growth factors promoting angiogenesis inside the graft. This event ensured a high blood vessel density, coupled with a support to metabolic functions of hepatocytes. All together, these results highlight the important role played by stem cells in liver tissue-engineered engraftment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Cell Transplantation)
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Open AccessCommunication
Immune Dysfunction Associated with Abnormal Bone Marrow-Derived Mesenchymal Stroma Cells in Senescence Accelerated Mice
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(2), 183; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17020183 - 29 Jan 2016
Cited by 5
Abstract
Senescence accelerated mice (SAM) are a group of mice that show aging-related diseases, and SAM prone 10 (SAMP10) show spontaneous brain atrophy and defects in learning and memory. Our previous report showed that the thymus and the percentage of T lymphocytes are abnormal [...] Read more.
Senescence accelerated mice (SAM) are a group of mice that show aging-related diseases, and SAM prone 10 (SAMP10) show spontaneous brain atrophy and defects in learning and memory. Our previous report showed that the thymus and the percentage of T lymphocytes are abnormal in the SAMP10, but it was unclear whether the bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stroma cells (BMMSCs) were abnormal, and whether they played an important role in regenerative medicine. We thus compared BMMSCs from SAMP10 and their control, SAM-resistant (SAMR1), in terms of cell cycle, oxidative stress, and the expression of PI3K and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK). Our cell cycle analysis showed that cell cycle arrest occurred in the G0/G1 phase in the SAMP10. We also found increased reactive oxygen stress and decreased PI3K and MAPK on the BMMSCs. These results suggested the BMMSCs were abnormal in SAMP10, and that this might be related to the immune system dysfunction in these mice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Cell Transplantation)
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Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview
Diverging Concepts and Novel Perspectives in Regenerative Medicine
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(5), 1021; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms18051021 - 09 May 2017
Cited by 6
Abstract
Regenerative medicine has rapidly evolved, due to progress in cell and molecular biology allowing the isolation, characterization, expansion, and engineering of cells as therapeutic tools. Despite past limited success in the clinical translation of several promising preclinical results, this novel field is now [...] Read more.
Regenerative medicine has rapidly evolved, due to progress in cell and molecular biology allowing the isolation, characterization, expansion, and engineering of cells as therapeutic tools. Despite past limited success in the clinical translation of several promising preclinical results, this novel field is now entering a phase of renewed confidence and productivity, marked by the commercialization of the first cell therapy products. Ongoing issues in the field include the use of pluripotent vs. somatic and of allogenic vs. autologous stem cells. Moreover, the recognition that several of the observed beneficial effects of cell therapy are not due to integration of the transplanted cells, but rather to paracrine signals released by the exogenous cells, is generating new therapeutic perspectives in the field. Somatic stem cells are outperforming embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells in clinical applications, mainly because of their more favorable safety profile. Presently, both autologous and allogeneic somatic stem cells seem to be equally safe and effective under several different conditions. Recognition that a number of therapeutic effects of transplanted cells are mediated by paracrine signals, and that such signals can be found in extracellular vesicles isolated from culture media, opens novel therapeutic perspectives in the field of regenerative medicine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Cell Transplantation)
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Open AccessReview
Advances in Monitoring Cell-Based Therapies with Magnetic Resonance Imaging: Future Perspectives
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(1), 198; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms18010198 - 19 Jan 2017
Cited by 8
Abstract
Cell-based therapies are currently being developed for applications in both regenerative medicine and in oncology. Preclinical, translational, and clinical research on cell-based therapies will benefit tremendously from novel imaging approaches that enable the effective monitoring of the delivery, survival, migration, biodistribution, and integration [...] Read more.
Cell-based therapies are currently being developed for applications in both regenerative medicine and in oncology. Preclinical, translational, and clinical research on cell-based therapies will benefit tremendously from novel imaging approaches that enable the effective monitoring of the delivery, survival, migration, biodistribution, and integration of transplanted cells. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) offers several advantages over other imaging modalities for elucidating the fate of transplanted cells both preclinically and clinically. These advantages include the ability to image transplanted cells longitudinally at high spatial resolution without exposure to ionizing radiation, and the possibility to co-register anatomical structures with molecular processes and functional changes. However, since cellular MRI is still in its infancy, it currently faces a number of challenges, which provide avenues for future research and development. In this review, we describe the basic principle of cell-tracking with MRI; explain the different approaches currently used to monitor cell-based therapies; describe currently available MRI contrast generation mechanisms and strategies for monitoring transplanted cells; discuss some of the challenges in tracking transplanted cells; and suggest future research directions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Cell Transplantation)
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Open AccessReview
Checkpoints to the Brain: Directing Myeloid Cell Migration to the Central Nervous System
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(12), 2030; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17122030 - 02 Dec 2016
Cited by 8
Abstract
Myeloid cells are a unique subset of leukocytes with a diverse array of functions within the central nervous system during health and disease. Advances in understanding of the unique properties of these cells have inspired interest in their use as delivery vehicles for [...] Read more.
Myeloid cells are a unique subset of leukocytes with a diverse array of functions within the central nervous system during health and disease. Advances in understanding of the unique properties of these cells have inspired interest in their use as delivery vehicles for therapeutic genes, proteins, and drugs, or as “assistants” in the clean-up of aggregated proteins and other molecules when existing drainage systems are no longer adequate. The trafficking of myeloid cells from the periphery to the central nervous system is subject to complex cellular and molecular controls with several ‘checkpoints’ from the blood to their destination in the brain parenchyma. As important components of the neurovascular unit, the functional state changes associated with lineage heterogeneity of myeloid cells are increasingly recognized as important for disease progression. In this review, we discuss some of the cellular elements associated with formation and function of the neurovascular unit, and present an update on the impact of myeloid cells on central nervous system (CNS) diseases in the laboratory and the clinic. We then discuss emerging strategies for harnessing the potential of site-directed myeloid cell homing to the CNS, and identify promising avenues for future research, with particular emphasis on the importance of untangling the functional heterogeneity within existing myeloid subsets. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Cell Transplantation)
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Open AccessReview
T Cell Receptor Excision Circle (TREC) Monitoring after Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplantation; a Predictive Marker for Complications and Clinical Outcome
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(10), 1705; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17101705 - 11 Oct 2016
Cited by 6
Abstract
Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is a well-established treatment modality for a variety of malignant diseases as well as for inborn errors of the metabolism or immune system. Regardless of disease origin, good clinical effects are dependent on proper immune reconstitution. T [...] Read more.
Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is a well-established treatment modality for a variety of malignant diseases as well as for inborn errors of the metabolism or immune system. Regardless of disease origin, good clinical effects are dependent on proper immune reconstitution. T cells are responsible for both the beneficial graft-versus-leukemia (GVL) effect against malignant cells and protection against infections. The immune recovery of T cells relies initially on peripheral expansion of mature cells from the graft and later on the differentiation and maturation from donor-derived hematopoietic stem cells. The formation of new T cells occurs in the thymus and as a byproduct, T cell receptor excision circles (TRECs) are released upon rearrangement of the T cell receptor. Detection of TRECs by PCR is a reliable method for estimating the amount of newly formed T cells in the circulation and, indirectly, for estimating thymic function. Here, we discuss the role of TREC analysis in the prediction of clinical outcome after allogeneic HSCT. Due to the pivotal role of T cell reconstitution we propose that TREC analysis should be included as a key indicator in the post-HSCT follow-up. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Cell Transplantation)
Open AccessReview
New Phase of Growth for Xenogeneic-Based Bioartificial Organs
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(9), 1593; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17091593 - 21 Sep 2016
Cited by 4
Abstract
In this article, we examine the advanced clinical development of bioartificial organs and describe the challenges to implementing such systems into patient care. The case for bioartificial organs is evident: they are meant to reduce patient morbidity and mortality caused by the persistent [...] Read more.
In this article, we examine the advanced clinical development of bioartificial organs and describe the challenges to implementing such systems into patient care. The case for bioartificial organs is evident: they are meant to reduce patient morbidity and mortality caused by the persistent shortage of organs available for allotransplantation. The widespread introduction and adoption of bioengineered organs, incorporating cells and tissues derived from either human or animal sources, would help address this shortage. Despite the decades of development, the variety of organs studied and bioengineered, and continuous progress in the field, only two bioengineered systems are currently commercially available: Apligraf® and Dermagraft® are both approved by the FDA to treat diabetic foot ulcers, and Apligraf® is approved to treat venous leg ulcers. Currently, no products based on xenotransplantation have been approved by the FDA. Risk factors include immunological barriers and the potential infectivity of porcine endogenous retrovirus (PERV), which is unique to xenotransplantation. Recent breakthroughs in gene editing may, however, mitigate risks related to PERV. Because of its primary role in interrupting progress in xenotransplantation, we present a risk assessment for PERV infection, and conclude that the formerly high risk has been reduced to a moderate level. Advances in gene editing, and more broadly in the field, may make it more likely than ever before that bioartificial organs will alleviate the suffering of patients with organ failure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Cell Transplantation)
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