Article of the Year 2022
Human Umbilical Cord Mesenchymal Stem Cell-Derived Extracellular Vesicles Carrying MicroRNA-181c-5p Promote BMP2-Induced Repair of Cartilage Injury through Inhibition of SMAD7 ExpressionRead the full article
Stem Cells International publishes papers in all areas of stem cell biology and applications. The journal publishes basic, translational, and clinical research, including animal models and clinical trials.
Chief Editor Professor Li has a background in cardiac stem cell transplantation, using young stem cells to promote tissue repair following injury to rejuvenate the aged individual, and the development of biomaterials that can easily integrate into damaged heart tissue.
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Production of Highly Uniform Midbrain Organoids from Human Pluripotent Stem Cells
Brain organoids have been considered as an advanced platform for in vitro disease modeling and drug screening, but numerous roadblocks exist, such as lack of large-scale production technology and lengthy protocols with multiple manipulation steps, impeding the industrial translation of brain organoid technology. Here, we describe the high-speed and large-scale production of midbrain organoids using a high-throughput screening-compatible platform within 30 days. Micro midbrain organoids (µMOs) exhibit a highly uniform morphology and gene expression pattern with minimal variability. Notably, µMOs show dramatically accelerated maturation, resulting in the generation of functional µMOs within only 30 days of differentiation. Furthermore, individual µMOs display highly consistent responsiveness to neurotoxin, suggesting their usefulness as an in vitro high-throughput drug toxicity screening platform. Collectively, our data indicate that µMO technology could represent an advanced and robust platform for in vitro disease modeling and drug screening for human neuronal diseases.
Adipose-Derived Stem Cell Exosomes Antagonize the Inhibitory Effect of Dihydrotestosterone on Hair Follicle Growth by Activating Wnt/β-Catenin Pathway
The most prevalent type of alopecia is androgenetic alopecia (AGA), which has a high prevalence but no effective treatment. Elevated dihydrotestosterone (DHT) level in the balding area was usually thought to be critical in the pathophysiology of AGA. The canonical Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway plays a key role in promoting hair follicle development and sustaining the hair follicle cycle. Adipose-derived stem cell exosomes (ADSC-Exos) are widely used in the field of regenerative medicine due to the advantages of being cell free and immune privileged. Still, few studies have reported the therapeutic effect on hair disorders. As a result, we sought to understand how ADSC-Exos affected hair growth and explore the possibility that ADSC-Exos could counteract the hair-growth-inhibiting effects of DHT. This research using human hair follicle organs, in vitro dermal papilla cells, and in vivo animal models showed that ADSC-Exos not only encouraged healthy hair growth but also counteracted the inhibitory effects of DHT on hair growth. Additionally, we discovered that ADSC-Exos increased Ser9 phosphorylated glycogen synthase kinase-3β levels and facilitated nuclear translocation of β-catenin, which may have been blocked by the specific Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway inhibitor dickkopf-related protein 1. Our findings suggested that ADSC-Exos are essential for hair regeneration, which is anticipated to open up new therapeutic possibilities for clinical alopecia, particularly for the treatment of AGA.
Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells-Derived Exosome Mimetic Vesicles Regulation of the MAPK Pathway and ROS Levels Inhibits Glucocorticoid-Induced Apoptosis in Osteoblasts
Background. Long-term extensive use of glucocorticoids will lead to hormonal necrosis of the femoral head, and osteoblasts play an important role in the prevention of osteonecrosis. However, there is no complete cure for necrosis of the femoral head. Mesenchymal stem cell- (MSCs-) derived exosomes are widely used for the repair of various tissue lesions. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the mechanism of dexamethasone- (DEX-) induced osteoblast apoptosis and the therapeutic effect of human umbilical cord MSC- (hucMSC-) derived exosome mimetic vesicles (EMVs) on osteoblast-induced apoptosis by DEX. Methods. The viability and apoptosis of primary MC3T3-E1 cells were determined by the Cell Counting Kit-8 (CCK-8), FITC-Annexin V/PI staining and immunoblot. The intracellular levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) after DEX treatment were measured by 2′, 7′ -dichlorodihydrofluorescein diacetate (DCFH-DA) staining. In this study, hucMSC-EMVs and N-acetyl-l-cysteine (NAC) were used as therapeutic measures. The expression of B-cell lymphoma 2-associated X, Bcl 2, HO-1, and nuclear factor erythroid-derived 2-like 2 and MAPK- signaling pathway in osteogenic cell MC3T3-E1 cells treated with Dex was analyzed by the immunoblotting. Results. DEX significantly induced osteoblasts MC3T3-E1 apoptosis and ROS accumulation. MAPK-signaling pathway was activated in MC3T3-E1 after DEX treatment. hucMSC-EMVs intervention significantly downregulated DEX-induced MAPK-signaling pathway activation and ROS accumulation. In addition, hucMSC-EMVs can reduce the apoptosis levels in osteoblast MC3T3-E1 cells induced by DEX. Conclusions. Our study confirmed that hucMSC-EMVs regulates MAPK-signaling pathway and ROS levels to inhibit DEX-induced osteoblast apoptosis.
Promising Markers in the Context of Mesenchymal Stem/Stromal Cells Subpopulations with Unique Properties
The heterogeneity of the mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs) population poses a challenge to researchers and clinicians, especially those observed at the population level. What is more, the lack of precise evidences regarding MSCs developmental origin even further complicate this issue. As the available evidences indicate several possible pathways of MSCs formation, this diverse origin may be reflected in the unique subsets of cells found within the MSCs population. Such populations differ in specialization degree, proliferation, and immunomodulatory properties or exhibit other additional properties such as increased angiogenesis capacity. In this review article, we attempted to identify such outstanding populations according to the specific surface antigens or intracellular markers. Described groups were characterized depending on their specialization and potential therapeutic application. The reports presented here cover a wide variety of properties found in the recent literature, which is quite scarce for many candidates mentioned in this article. Even though the collected information would allow for better targeting of specific subpopulations in regenerative medicine to increase the effectiveness of MSC-based therapies.
The Functions and Mechanisms of Tendon Stem/Progenitor Cells in Tendon Healing
Tendon injury is one of the prevalent disorders of the musculoskeletal system in orthopedics and is characterized by pain and limitation of joint function. Due to the difficulty of spontaneous tendon healing, and the scar tissue and low mechanical properties that usually develops after healing. Therefore, the healing of tendon injury remains a clinical challenge. Although there are a multitude of approaches to treating tendon injury, the therapeutic effects have not been satisfactory to date. Recent studies have shown that stem cell therapy has a facilitative effect on tendon healing. In particular, tendon stem/progenitor cells (TSPCs), a type of stem cell from tendon tissue, play an important role not only in tendon development and tendon homeostasis, but also in tendon healing. Compared to other stem cells, TSPCs have the potential to spontaneously differentiate into tenocytes and express higher levels of tendon-related genes. TSPCs promote tendon healing by three mechanisms: modulating the inflammatory response, promoting tenocyte proliferation, and accelerating collagen production and balancing extracellular matrix remodeling. However, current investigations have shown that TSPCs also have a negative effect on tendon healing. For example, misdifferentiation of TSPCs leads to a “failed healing response,” which in turn leads to the development of chronic tendon injury (tendinopathy). The focus of this paper is to describe the characteristics of TSPCs and tenocytes, to demonstrate the roles of TSPCs in tendon healing, while discussing the approaches used to culture and differentiate TSPCs. In addition, the limitations of TSPCs in clinical application and their potential therapeutic strategies are elucidated.
Intravenous Administration of Human Umbilical Cord Mesenchymal Stromal Cells Leads to an Inflammatory Response in the Lung
Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) administered intravenously (IV) have shown efficacy in preclinical models of various diseases. This is despite the cells not reaching the site of injury due to entrapment in the lungs. The immunomodulatory properties of MSCs are thought to underlie their therapeutic effects, irrespective of whether they are sourced from bone marrow, adipose tissue, or umbilical cord. To better understand how MSCs affect innate immune cell populations in the lung, we evaluated the distribution and phenotype of neutrophils, monocytes, and macrophages by flow cytometry and histological analyses after delivering human umbilical cord-derived MSCs (hUC-MSCs) IV into immunocompetent mice. After 2 hr, we observed a significant increase in neutrophils, and proinflammatory monocytes and macrophages. Moreover, these immune cells localized in close proximity to the MSCs, suggesting an active role in their clearance. By 24 hr, we detected an increase in anti-inflammatory monocytes and macrophages. These results suggest that the IV injection of hUC-MSCs leads to an initial inflammatory phase in the lung shortly after injection, followed by a resolution phase 24 hr later.