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Special Issue "Pluripotent Stem Cell Technology for Disease Modeling, Drug Discovery and Regenerative Medicine"

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 (29 February 2016).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Wenbin Deng
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, Institute for Pediatric Regenerative Medicine, School of Medicine, University of California at Davis, Sacramento, CA 95817, USA
Interests: stem cell biology; regenerative medicine; neuroscience; glia; oligodendrocyte; astrocyte; microglia
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Stem cell technology represents a powerful tool for regenerative medicine. The most remarkable breakthrough in stem cell research is the success of generating induced pluripotent cells by reprogramming of somatic cells to a pluripotent state via defined factors. Stem cell research is advancing the understanding of the development of organisms from single cells, fundamental properties and characteristics of pluripotent cells, analysis of differentiation pathways induced in stem cells by endogenous and exogenous factors, conversion and induction of differentiated cells to become pluripotent cells, trans-differentiation by direct lineage reprogramming, and therapeutic applications of stem cells to regenerate or replace damaged cells. Stem cell research provides hope for the prevention and treatment of many debilitating and currently untreatable diseases. In addition, stem cells can be used for diagnostics, toxicological and pharmaceutical testing, understanding fundamental disease processes, drug development and delivery, and tissue engineering. This Special Issue will feature a collection of interdisciplinary work at the interface of stem cell technology, tissue engineering, drug discovery, and regenerative medicine. We welcome contributions from a dynamic multidisciplinary group of investigators, including chemists, biologists, engineers, and physicians, addressing basic and translational issues in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, and using stem cells to study and treat a broad variety of diseases. Topics may include: stem cell-based approaches and technology platforms for drug discovery, tissue engineering, and regeneration, modeling of development and aging, pluripotent stem cells for disease modeling and drug discovery, tissue engineering, biotechnology, and stem cell pharmacology/toxicology. The mission is to advance the fundamental knowledge of stem cells and their differentiation pathways, understand how stem cells interact with tissues and organ systems of the body, and develop stem cell-based therapies to treat human diseases and injuries.

Prof. Dr. Wenbin Deng
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • stem cell technology
  • gene and cell therapy
  • drug discovery and delivery
  • microRNA
  • epigenetics
  • transcriptional and mitochondrial regulation of cell fate
  • cellular plasticity; direct cell lineage/fate reprogramming
  • stem cell differentiation
  • regenerative medicine

Published Papers (20 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Electric Signals Regulate the Directional Migration of Oligodendrocyte Progenitor Cells (OPCs) via β1 Integrin
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(11), 1948; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17111948 - 22 Nov 2016
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2409
Abstract
The guided migration of neural cells is essential for repair in the central nervous system (CNS). Oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) will normally migrate towards an injury site to re-sheath demyelinated axons; however the mechanisms underlying this process are not well understood. Endogenous electric [...] Read more.
The guided migration of neural cells is essential for repair in the central nervous system (CNS). Oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) will normally migrate towards an injury site to re-sheath demyelinated axons; however the mechanisms underlying this process are not well understood. Endogenous electric fields (EFs) are known to influence cell migration in vivo, and have been utilised in this study to direct the migration of OPCs isolated from neonatal Sprague-Dawley rats. The OPCs were exposed to physiological levels of electrical stimulation, and displayed a marked electrotactic response that was dependent on β1 integrin, one of the key subunits of integrin receptors. We also observed that F-actin, an important component of the cytoskeleton, was re-distributed towards the leading edge of the migrating cells, and that this asymmetric rearrangement was associated with β1 integrin function. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Cardiac Stem Cell Secretome Protects Cardiomyocytes from Hypoxic Injury Partly via Monocyte Chemotactic Protein-1-Dependent Mechanism
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(6), 800; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17060800 - 24 May 2016
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3067
Abstract
Cardiac stem cells (CSCs) were known to secrete diverse paracrine factors leading to functional improvement and beneficial left ventricular remodeling via activation of the endogenous pro-survival signaling pathway. However, little is known about the paracrine factors secreted by CSCs and their roles in [...] Read more.
Cardiac stem cells (CSCs) were known to secrete diverse paracrine factors leading to functional improvement and beneficial left ventricular remodeling via activation of the endogenous pro-survival signaling pathway. However, little is known about the paracrine factors secreted by CSCs and their roles in cardiomyocyte survival during hypoxic condition mimicking the post-myocardial infarction environment. We established Sca-1+/CD31− human telomerase reverse transcriptase-immortalized CSCs (Sca-1+/CD31− CSCshTERT), evaluated their stem cell properties, and paracrine potential in cardiomyocyte survival during hypoxia-induced injury. Sca-1+/CD31− CSCshTERT sustained proliferation ability even after long-term culture exceeding 100 population doublings, and represented multi-differentiation potential into cardiomyogenic, endothelial, adipogenic, and osteogenic lineages. Dominant factors secreted from Sca-1+/CD31− CSCshTERT were EGF, TGF-β1, IGF-1, IGF-2, MCP-1, HGF R, and IL-6. Among these, MCP-1 was the most predominant factor in Sca-1+/CD31− CSCshTERT conditioned medium (CM). Sca-1+/CD31− CSCshTERT CM increased survival and reduced apoptosis of HL-1 cardiomyocytes during hypoxic injury. MCP-1 silencing in Sca-1+/CD31− CSCshTERT CM resulted in a significant reduction in cardiomyocyte apoptosis. We demonstrated that Sca-1+/CD31− CSCshTERT exhibited long-term proliferation capacity and multi-differentiation potential. Sca-1+/CD31− CSCshTERT CM protected cardiomyocytes from hypoxic injury partly via MCP-1-dependent mechanism. Thus, they are valuable sources for in vitro and in vivo studies in the cardiovascular field. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Epigenetic Modulation of Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Differentiation to Oligodendrocytes
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(4), 614; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17040614 - 22 Apr 2016
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 3816
Abstract
Pluripotent stem cells provide an invaluable tool for generating human, disease-relevant cells. Multiple sclerosis is an inflammatory demyelinating disease of the central nervous system, characterized by myelin damage. Oligodendrocytes are the myelinating cells of the central nervous system (CNS); they differentiate from progenitor [...] Read more.
Pluripotent stem cells provide an invaluable tool for generating human, disease-relevant cells. Multiple sclerosis is an inflammatory demyelinating disease of the central nervous system, characterized by myelin damage. Oligodendrocytes are the myelinating cells of the central nervous system (CNS); they differentiate from progenitor cells, and their membranes ensheath axons, providing trophic support and allowing fast conduction velocity. The current understanding of oligodendrocyte biology was founded by rodent studies, where the establishment of repressive epigenetic marks on histone proteins, followed by activation of myelin genes, leads to lineage progression. To assess whether this epigenetic regulation is conserved across species, we differentiated human embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells to oligodendrocytes and asked whether similar histone marks and relative enzymatic activities could be detected. The transcriptional levels of enzymes responsible for methylation and acetylation of histone marks were analyzed during oligodendrocyte differentiation, and the post-translational modifications on histones were detected using immunofluorescence. These studies showed that also in human cells, differentiation along the oligodendrocyte lineage is characterized by the acquisition of multiple repressive histone marks, including deacetylation of lysine residues on histone H3 and trimethylation of residues K9 and K27. These data suggest that the epigenetic modulation of oligodendrocyte identity is highly conserved across species. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Wnt16 Signaling Is Required for IL-1β-Induced Matrix Metalloproteinase-13-Regulated Proliferation of Human Stem Cell-Derived Osteoblastic Cells
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(2), 221; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17020221 - 06 Feb 2016
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2946
Abstract
We established a differentiation method for homogeneous α7 integrin-positive human skeletal muscle stem cell (α7+hSMSC)-derived osteoblast-like (α7+hSMSC-OB) cells, and found that interleukin (IL)-1β induces matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-13-regulated proliferation of these cells. These data suggest that MMP-13 plays a potentially [...] Read more.
We established a differentiation method for homogeneous α7 integrin-positive human skeletal muscle stem cell (α7+hSMSC)-derived osteoblast-like (α7+hSMSC-OB) cells, and found that interleukin (IL)-1β induces matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-13-regulated proliferation of these cells. These data suggest that MMP-13 plays a potentially unique physiological role in the regeneration of osteoblast-like cells. Here, we examined whether up-regulation of MMP-13 activity by IL-1β was mediated by Wingless/int1 (Wnt) signaling and increased the proliferation of osteoblast-like cells. IL-1β increased the mRNA and protein levels of Wnt16 and the Wnt receptor Lrp5/Fzd2. Exogenous Wnt16 was found to increase MMP-13 mRNA, protein and activity, and interestingly, the proliferation rate of these cells. Treatment with small interfering RNAs against Wnt16 and Lrp5 suppressed the IL-1β-induced increase in cell proliferation. We revealed that a unique signaling cascade IL-1β→Wnt16→Lrp5→MMP-13, was intimately involved in the proliferation of osteoblast-like cells, and suggest that IL-1β-induced MMP-13 expression and changes in cell proliferation are regulated by Wnt16. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Osteogenesis Effect and Underlying Mechanisms of Local Delivery of gAPN in Extraction Sockets of Beagle Dogs
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16(10), 24946-24964; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms161024946 - 20 Oct 2015
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 3132
Abstract
A plastic and biodegradable bone substitute consists of poly (l-lactic-co-glycolic) acid and 30 wt % β-tricalcium phosphate has been previously fabricated, but its osteogenic capability required further improvement. We investigated the use of globular adiponectin (gAPN) as an anabolic agent for [...] Read more.
A plastic and biodegradable bone substitute consists of poly (l-lactic-co-glycolic) acid and 30 wt % β-tricalcium phosphate has been previously fabricated, but its osteogenic capability required further improvement. We investigated the use of globular adiponectin (gAPN) as an anabolic agent for tissue-engineered bone using this scaffold. A qualitative analysis of the bone regeneration process was carried out using μCT and histological analysis 12 weeks after implantation. CBCT (Cone Beam Computed Tomography) superimposition was used to characterise the effect of the different treatments on bone formation. In this study, we also explored adiponectin’s (APN) influence on primary cultured human jaw bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells gene expressions involved in the osteogenesis. We found that composite scaffolds loaded with gAPN or bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP2) exhibited significantly increased bone formation and mineralisation following 12 weeks in the extraction sockets of beagle dogs, as well as enhanced expression of osteogenic markers. In vitro investigation revealed that APN also promoted osteoblast differentiation of primary cultured human jaw bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (h-JBMMSCs), accompanied by increased activity of alkaline phosphatase, greater mineralisation, and production of the osteoblast-differentiated genes osteocalcin, bone sialoprotein and collagen type I, which was reversed by APPL1 siRNA. Therefore, the composite scaffold loaded with APN exhibited superior activity for guided bone regeneration compared with blank control or Bio-Oss® (a commercially available product). The composite scaffold with APN has significant potential for clinical applications in bone tissue engineering. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Potential Effect of CD271 on Human Mesenchymal Stromal Cell Proliferation and Differentiation
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16(7), 15609-15624; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms160715609 - 09 Jul 2015
Cited by 38 | Viewed by 4201
Abstract
The Low-Affinity Nerve Growth Factor Receptor (LNGFR), also known as CD271, is a member of the tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily. The CD271 cell surface marker defines a subset of multipotential mesenchymal stromal cells and may be used to isolate and enrich cells [...] Read more.
The Low-Affinity Nerve Growth Factor Receptor (LNGFR), also known as CD271, is a member of the tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily. The CD271 cell surface marker defines a subset of multipotential mesenchymal stromal cells and may be used to isolate and enrich cells derived from bone marrow aspirate. In this study, we compare the proliferative and differentiation potentials of CD271+ and CD271 mesenchymal stromal cells. Mesenchymal stromal cells were isolated from bone marrow aspirate and adipose tissue by plastic adherence and positive selection. The proliferation and differentiation potentials of CD271+ and CD271 mesenchymal stromal cells were assessed by inducing osteogenic, adipogenic and chondrogenic in vitro differentiation. Compared to CD271+, CD271 mesenchymal stromal cells showed a lower proliferation rate and a decreased ability to give rise to osteocytes, adipocytes and chondrocytes. Furthermore, we observed that CD271+ mesenchymal stromal cells isolated from adipose tissue displayed a higher efficiency of proliferation and trilineage differentiation compared to CD271+ mesenchymal stromal cells isolated from bone marrow samples, although the CD271 expression levels were comparable. In conclusion, these data show that both the presence of CD271 antigen and the source of mesenchymal stromal cells represent important factors in determining the ability of the cells to proliferate and differentiate. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Strategies to Optimize Adult Stem Cell Therapy for Tissue Regeneration
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(6), 982; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17060982 - 21 Jun 2016
Cited by 70 | Viewed by 4712
Abstract
Stem cell therapy aims to replace damaged or aged cells with healthy functioning cells in congenital defects, tissue injuries, autoimmune disorders, and neurogenic degenerative diseases. Among various types of stem cells, adult stem cells (i.e., tissue-specific stem cells) commit to becoming [...] Read more.
Stem cell therapy aims to replace damaged or aged cells with healthy functioning cells in congenital defects, tissue injuries, autoimmune disorders, and neurogenic degenerative diseases. Among various types of stem cells, adult stem cells (i.e., tissue-specific stem cells) commit to becoming the functional cells from their tissue of origin. These cells are the most commonly used in cell-based therapy since they do not confer risk of teratomas, do not require fetal stem cell maneuvers and thus are free of ethical concerns, and they confer low immunogenicity (even if allogenous). The goal of this review is to summarize the current state of the art and advances in using stem cell therapy for tissue repair in solid organs. Here we address key factors in cell preparation, such as the source of adult stem cells, optimal cell types for implantation (universal mesenchymal stem cells vs. tissue-specific stem cells, or induced vs. non-induced stem cells), early or late passages of stem cells, stem cells with endogenous or exogenous growth factors, preconditioning of stem cells (hypoxia, growth factors, or conditioned medium), using various controlled release systems to deliver growth factors with hydrogels or microspheres to provide apposite interactions of stem cells and their niche. We also review several approaches of cell delivery that affect the outcomes of cell therapy, including the appropriate routes of cell administration (systemic, intravenous, or intraperitoneal vs. local administration), timing for cell therapy (immediate vs. a few days after injury), single injection of a large number of cells vs. multiple smaller injections, a single site for injection vs. multiple sites and use of rodents vs. larger animal models. Future directions of stem cell-based therapies are also discussed to guide potential clinical applications. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Cancer Stem Cells: The Potential Targets of Chinese Medicines and Their Active Compounds
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(6), 893; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17060893 - 07 Jun 2016
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 2987
Abstract
The pivotal role of cancer stem cells (CSCs) in the initiation and progression of malignancies has been rigorously validated, and the specific methods for identifying and isolating the CSCs from the parental cancer population have also been rapidly developed in recent years. This [...] Read more.
The pivotal role of cancer stem cells (CSCs) in the initiation and progression of malignancies has been rigorously validated, and the specific methods for identifying and isolating the CSCs from the parental cancer population have also been rapidly developed in recent years. This review aims to provide an overview of recent research progress of Chinese medicines (CMs) and their active compounds in inhibiting tumor progression by targeting CSCs. A great deal of CMs and their active compounds, such as Antrodia camphorate, berberine, resveratrol, and curcumin have been shown to regress CSCs, in terms of reversing drug resistance, inducing cell death and inhibiting cell proliferation as well as metastasis. Furthermore, one of the active compounds in coptis, berbamine may inhibit tumor progression by modulating microRNAs to regulate CSCs. The underlying molecular mechanisms and related signaling pathways involved in these processes were also discussed and concluded in this paper. Overall, the use of CMs and their active compounds may be a promising therapeutic strategy to eradicate cancer by targeting CSCs. However, further studies are needed to clarify the potential of clinical application of CMs and their active compounds as complementary and alternative therapy in this field. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Amniotic Fluid Stem Cells: A Novel Source for Modeling of Human Genetic Diseases
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(4), 607; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17040607 - 22 Apr 2016
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 4045
Abstract
In recent years, great interest has been devoted to the use of Induced Pluripotent Stem cells (iPS) for modeling of human genetic diseases, due to the possibility of reprogramming somatic cells of affected patients into pluripotent cells, enabling differentiation into several cell types, [...] Read more.
In recent years, great interest has been devoted to the use of Induced Pluripotent Stem cells (iPS) for modeling of human genetic diseases, due to the possibility of reprogramming somatic cells of affected patients into pluripotent cells, enabling differentiation into several cell types, and allowing investigations into the molecular mechanisms of the disease. However, the protocol of iPS generation still suffers from technical limitations, showing low efficiency, being expensive and time consuming. Amniotic Fluid Stem cells (AFS) represent a potential alternative novel source of stem cells for modeling of human genetic diseases. In fact, by means of prenatal diagnosis, a number of fetuses affected by chromosomal or Mendelian diseases can be identified, and the amniotic fluid collected for genetic testing can be used, after diagnosis, for the isolation, culture and differentiation of AFS cells. This can provide a useful stem cell model for the investigation of the molecular basis of the diagnosed disease without the necessity of producing iPS, since AFS cells show some features of pluripotency and are able to differentiate in cells derived from all three germ layers “in vitro”. In this article, we describe the potential benefits provided by using AFS cells in the modeling of human genetic diseases. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Rationale and Methodology of Reprogramming for Generation of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells and Induced Neural Progenitor Cells
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(4), 594; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17040594 - 20 Apr 2016
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3942
Abstract
Great progress has been made regarding the capabilities to modify somatic cell fate ever since the technology for generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) was discovered in 2006. Later, induced neural progenitor cells (iNPCs) were generated from mouse and human cells, bypassing [...] Read more.
Great progress has been made regarding the capabilities to modify somatic cell fate ever since the technology for generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) was discovered in 2006. Later, induced neural progenitor cells (iNPCs) were generated from mouse and human cells, bypassing some of the concerns and risks of using iPSCs in neuroscience applications. To overcome the limitation of viral vector induced reprogramming, bioactive small molecules (SM) have been explored to enhance the efficiency of reprogramming or even replace transcription factors (TFs), making the reprogrammed cells more amenable to clinical application. The chemical induced reprogramming process is a simple process from a technical perspective, but the choice of SM at each step is vital during the procedure. The mechanisms underlying cell transdifferentiation are still poorly understood, although, several experimental data and insights have indicated the rationale of cell reprogramming. The process begins with the forced expression of specific TFs or activation/inhibition of cell signaling pathways by bioactive chemicals in defined culture condition, which initiates the further reactivation of endogenous gene program and an optimal stoichiometric expression of the endogenous pluri- or multi-potency genes, and finally leads to the birth of reprogrammed cells such as iPSCs and iNPCs. In this review, we first outline the rationale and discuss the methodology of iPSCs and iNPCs in a stepwise manner; and then we also discuss the chemical-based reprogramming of iPSCs and iNPCs. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Therapies for Cervical Spinal Cord Injury
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(4), 530; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17040530 - 09 Apr 2016
Cited by 25 | Viewed by 7675
Abstract
Cervical-level injuries account for the majority of presented spinal cord injuries (SCIs) to date. Despite the increase in survival rates due to emergency medicine improvements, overall quality of life remains poor, with patients facing variable deficits in respiratory and motor function. Therapies aiming [...] Read more.
Cervical-level injuries account for the majority of presented spinal cord injuries (SCIs) to date. Despite the increase in survival rates due to emergency medicine improvements, overall quality of life remains poor, with patients facing variable deficits in respiratory and motor function. Therapies aiming to ameliorate symptoms and restore function, even partially, are urgently needed. Current therapeutic avenues in SCI seek to increase regenerative capacities through trophic and immunomodulatory factors, provide scaffolding to bridge the lesion site and promote regeneration of native axons, and to replace SCI-lost neurons and glia via intraspinal transplantation. Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are a clinically viable means to accomplish this; they have no major ethical barriers, sources can be patient-matched and collected using non-invasive methods. In addition, the patient’s own cells can be used to establish a starter population capable of producing multiple cell types. To date, there is only a limited pool of research examining iPSC-derived transplants in SCI—even less research that is specific to cervical injury. The purpose of the review herein is to explore both preclinical and clinical recent advances in iPSC therapies with a detailed focus on cervical spinal cord injury. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Recent Advances in Disease Modeling and Drug Discovery for Diabetes Mellitus Using Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(2), 256; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17020256 - 19 Feb 2016
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 4543
Abstract
Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a widespread metabolic disease with a progressive incidence of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Despite extensive research, treatment options for diabetic patients remains limited. Although significant challenges remain, induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) have the capacity to differentiate into any [...] Read more.
Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a widespread metabolic disease with a progressive incidence of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Despite extensive research, treatment options for diabetic patients remains limited. Although significant challenges remain, induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) have the capacity to differentiate into any cell type, including insulin-secreting pancreatic β cells, highlighting its potential as a treatment option for DM. Several iPSC lines have recently been derived from both diabetic and healthy donors. Using different reprogramming techniques, iPSCs were differentiated into insulin-secreting pancreatic βcells. Furthermore, diabetes patient-derived iPSCs (DiPSCs) are increasingly being used as a platform to perform cell-based drug screening in order to develop DiPSC-based cell therapies against DM. Toxicity and teratogenicity assays based on iPSC-derived cells can also provide additional information on safety before advancing drugs to clinical trials. In this review, we summarize recent advances in the development of techniques for differentiation of iPSCs or DiPSCs into insulin-secreting pancreatic β cells, their applications in drug screening, and their role in complementing and replacing animal testing in clinical use. Advances in iPSC technologies will provide new knowledge needed to develop patient-specific iPSC-based diabetic therapies. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Chemically Induced Reprogramming of Somatic Cells to Pluripotent Stem Cells and Neural Cells
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(2), 226; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17020226 - 06 Feb 2016
Cited by 23 | Viewed by 4811
Abstract
The ability to generate transplantable neural cells in a large quantity in the laboratory is a critical step in the field of developing stem cell regenerative medicine for neural repair. During the last few years, groundbreaking studies have shown that cell fate of [...] Read more.
The ability to generate transplantable neural cells in a large quantity in the laboratory is a critical step in the field of developing stem cell regenerative medicine for neural repair. During the last few years, groundbreaking studies have shown that cell fate of adult somatic cells can be reprogrammed through lineage specific expression of transcription factors (TFs)-and defined culture conditions. This key concept has been used to identify a number of potent small molecules that could enhance the efficiency of reprogramming with TFs. Recently, a growing number of studies have shown that small molecules targeting specific epigenetic and signaling pathways can replace all of the reprogramming TFs. Here, we provide a detailed review of the studies reporting the generation of chemically induced pluripotent stem cells (ciPSCs), neural stem cells (ciNSCs), and neurons (ciN). We also discuss the main mechanisms of actions and the pathways that the small molecules regulate during chemical reprogramming. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Argonaute and Argonaute-Bound Small RNAs in Stem Cells
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(2), 208; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17020208 - 04 Feb 2016
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3155
Abstract
Small RNAs are essential for a variety of cellular functions. Argonaute (AGO) proteins are associated with all of the different classes of small RNAs, and are indispensable in small RNA-mediated regulatory pathways. AGO proteins have been identified in various types of stem cells [...] Read more.
Small RNAs are essential for a variety of cellular functions. Argonaute (AGO) proteins are associated with all of the different classes of small RNAs, and are indispensable in small RNA-mediated regulatory pathways. AGO proteins have been identified in various types of stem cells in diverse species from plants and animals. This review article highlights recent progress on how AGO proteins and AGO-bound small RNAs regulate the self-renewal and differentiation of distinct stem cell types, including pluripotent, germline, somatic, and cancer stem cells. Full article
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Open AccessReview
An Overview of Direct Somatic Reprogramming: The Ins and Outs of iPSCs
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(1), 141; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17010141 - 21 Jan 2016
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 5313
Abstract
Stem cells are classified into embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells. An evolving alternative to conventional stem cell therapies is induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), which have a multi-lineage potential comparable to conventionally acquired embryonic stem cells with the additional benefits of [...] Read more.
Stem cells are classified into embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells. An evolving alternative to conventional stem cell therapies is induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), which have a multi-lineage potential comparable to conventionally acquired embryonic stem cells with the additional benefits of being less immunoreactive and avoiding many of the ethical concerns raised with the use of embryonic material. The ability to generate iPSCs from somatic cells provides tremendous promise for regenerative medicine. The breakthrough of iPSCs has raised the possibility that patient-specific iPSCs can provide autologous cells for cell therapy without the concern for immune rejection. iPSCs are also relevant tools for modeling human diseases and drugs screening. However, there are still several hurdles to overcome before iPSCs can be used for translational purposes. Here, we review the recent advances in somatic reprogramming and the challenges that must be overcome to move this strategy closer to clinical application. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Pluripotency Genes and Their Functions in the Normal and Aberrant Breast and Brain
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16(11), 27288-27301; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms161126024 - 13 Nov 2015
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 3906
Abstract
Pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) attracted considerable interest with the successful isolation of embryonic stem cells (ESCs) from the inner cell mass of murine, primate and human embryos. Whilst it was initially thought that the only PSCs were ESCs, in more recent years cells [...] Read more.
Pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) attracted considerable interest with the successful isolation of embryonic stem cells (ESCs) from the inner cell mass of murine, primate and human embryos. Whilst it was initially thought that the only PSCs were ESCs, in more recent years cells with similar properties have been isolated from organs of the adult, including the breast and brain. Adult PSCs in these organs have been suggested to be remnants of embryonic development that facilitate normal tissue homeostasis during repair and regeneration. They share certain characteristics with ESCs, such as an inherent capacity to self-renew and differentiate into cells of the three germ layers, properties that are regulated by master pluripotency transcription factors (TFs) OCT4 (octamer-binding transcription factor 4), SOX2 (sex determining region Y-box 2), and homeobox protein NANOG. Aberrant expression of these TFs can be oncogenic resulting in heterogeneous tumours fueled by cancer stem cells (CSC), which are resistant to conventional treatments and are associated with tumour recurrence post-treatment. Further to enriching our understanding of the role of pluripotency TFs in normal tissue function, research now aims to develop optimized isolation and propagation methods for normal adult PSCs and CSCs for the purposes of regenerative medicine, developmental biology, and disease modeling aimed at targeted personalised cancer therapies. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Two Effective Routes for Removing Lineage Restriction Roadblocks: From Somatic Cells to Hepatocytes
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16(9), 20873-20895; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms160920873 - 01 Sep 2015
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2785
Abstract
The conversion of somatic cells to hepatocytes has fundamentally re-shaped traditional concepts regarding the limited resources for hepatocyte therapy. With the various induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) generation routes, most somatic cells can be effectively directed to functional stem cells, and this strategy [...] Read more.
The conversion of somatic cells to hepatocytes has fundamentally re-shaped traditional concepts regarding the limited resources for hepatocyte therapy. With the various induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) generation routes, most somatic cells can be effectively directed to functional stem cells, and this strategy will supply enough pluripotent material to generate promising functional hepatocytes. However, the major challenges and potential applications of reprogrammed hepatocytes remain under investigation. In this review, we provide a summary of two effective routes including direct reprogramming and indirect reprogramming from somatic cells to hepatocytes and the general potential applications of the resulting hepatocytes. Through these approaches, we are striving toward the goal of achieving a robust, mature source of clinically relevant lineages. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Cardiovascular Disease Modeling Using Patient-Specific Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16(8), 18894-18922; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms160818894 - 12 Aug 2015
Cited by 24 | Viewed by 5452
Abstract
The generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) has opened up a new scientific frontier in medicine. This technology has made it possible to obtain pluripotent stem cells from individuals with genetic disorders. Because iPSCs carry the identical genetic anomalies related to those [...] Read more.
The generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) has opened up a new scientific frontier in medicine. This technology has made it possible to obtain pluripotent stem cells from individuals with genetic disorders. Because iPSCs carry the identical genetic anomalies related to those disorders, iPSCs are an ideal platform for medical research. The pathophysiological cellular phenotypes of genetically heritable heart diseases such as arrhythmias and cardiomyopathies, have been modeled on cell culture dishes using disease-specific iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes. These model systems can potentially provide new insights into disease mechanisms and drug discoveries. This review focuses on recent progress in cardiovascular disease modeling using iPSCs, and discusses problems and future perspectives concerning their use. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Poly(ADP-Ribose) Polymerase 1: Cellular Pluripotency, Reprogramming, and Tumorogenesis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16(7), 15531-15545; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms160715531 - 09 Jul 2015
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 6483
Abstract
Poly(ADP-ribos)ylation (PARylation) is the catalytic function of the Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerases (Parps) family for post-translational modification in cellular process. Being a major member of Parps, Parp1 is a crucial nuclear factor with biological significance in modulating DNA repair, DNA replication, transcription, DNA methylation and [...] Read more.
Poly(ADP-ribos)ylation (PARylation) is the catalytic function of the Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerases (Parps) family for post-translational modification in cellular process. Being a major member of Parps, Parp1 is a crucial nuclear factor with biological significance in modulating DNA repair, DNA replication, transcription, DNA methylation and chromatin remodeling through PARylation of downstream proteins. In addition, high expression level and activity of Parp1 are correlated with pluripotent status, reprogramming, and cancer. Furthermore, epigenetic modulation of Parp1 is explored for regulating wide variety of gene expression. Genetic and pharmaceutical disruption of Parp1 further confirmed the importance of Parp1 in cell growth, DNA repair, and reprogramming efficiency. Taken together, the proximity toward the understanding of the modulation of Parp1 including interaction and modification in different fields will provide new insight for future studies. In this review, the biological significance of Parp1 in transcription and the epigenetic modulation of Parp1 in pluripotent status, reprogramming process and cancer will be summarized. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Mesenchymal Stem Cells and Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells as Therapies for Multiple Sclerosis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16(5), 9283-9302; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms16059283 - 24 Apr 2015
Cited by 33 | Viewed by 6681
Abstract
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, autoimmune, inflammatory demyelinating disorder of the central nervous system that leads to permanent neurological deficits. Current MS treatment regimens are insufficient to treat the irreversible neurological disabilities. Tremendous progress in the experimental and clinical applications of cell-based [...] Read more.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, autoimmune, inflammatory demyelinating disorder of the central nervous system that leads to permanent neurological deficits. Current MS treatment regimens are insufficient to treat the irreversible neurological disabilities. Tremendous progress in the experimental and clinical applications of cell-based therapies has recognized stem cells as potential candidates for regenerative therapy for many neurodegenerative disorders including MS. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) and induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSCs) derived precursor cells can modulate the autoimmune response in the central nervous system (CNS) and promote endogenous remyelination and repair process in animal models. This review highlights studies involving the immunomodulatory and regenerative effects of mesenchymal stem cells and iPSCs derived cells in animal models, and their translation into immunomodulatory and neuroregenerative treatment strategies for MS. Full article
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