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Creators/Authors contains: "Yuan, Xuegang"

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  1. null (Ed.)
    Human mesenchymal stem or stromal cells (hMSCs) are known for their potential in regenerative medicine due to their differentiation abilities, secretion of trophic factors, and regulation of immune responses in damaged tissues. Due to the limited quantity of hMSCs typically isolated from bone marrow, other tissue sources, such as adipose tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells (hASCs), are considered a promising alternative. However, differences have been observed for hASCs in the context of metabolic characteristics and response to in vitro culture stress compared to bone marrow derived hMSCs (BM-hMSCs). In particular, the relationship between metabolic homeostasis and stem cell functions, especially the immune phenotype and immunomodulation of hASCs, remains unknown. This study thoroughly assessed the changes in metabolism, redox cycles, and immune phenotype of hASCs during in vitro expansion. In contrast to BM-hMSCs, hASCs did not respond to culture stress significantly during expansion as limited cellular senescence was observed. Notably, hASCs exhibited the increased secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines and the decreased secretion of anti-inflammatory cytokines after extended culture expansion. The NAD+/NADH redox cycle and other metabolic characteristics associated with aging were relatively stable, indicating that hASC functional decline may be regulated through an alternative mechanism rather than NAD+/Sirtuin aging pathways as observed in BM-hMSCs. Furthermore, transcriptome analysis by mRNA-sequencing revealed the upregulation of genes for pro-inflammatory cytokines/chemokines and the downregulation of genes for anti-inflammatory cytokines for hASCs at high passage. Proteomics analysis indicated key pathways (e.g., tRNA charging, EIF2 signaling, protein ubiquitination pathway) that may be associated with the immune phenotype shift of hASCs. Together, this study advances our understanding of the metabolism and senescence of hASCs and may offer vital insights for the biomanufacturing of hASCs for clinical use. 
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  2. null (Ed.)
    Abstract Mesenchymal stem cell (MSC)-based therapy has shown great promises in various animal disease models. However, this therapeutic potency has not been well claimed when applied to human clinical trials. This is due to both the availability of MSCs at the time of administration and lack of viable expansion strategies. MSCs are very susceptible to in vitro culture environment and tend to adapt the microenvironment which could lead to cellular senescence and aging. Therefore, extended in vitro expansion induces loss of MSC functionality and its clinical relevance. To combat this effect, this work assessed a novel cyclical aggregation as a means of expanding MSCs to maintain stem cell functionality. The cyclical aggregation consists of an aggregation phase and an expansion phase by replating the dissociated MSC aggregates onto planar tissue culture surfaces. The results indicate that cyclical aggregation maintains proliferative capability, stem cell proteins, and clonogenicity, and prevents the acquisition of senescence. To determine why aggregation was responsible for this phenomenon, the integrated stress response pathway was probed with salubrial and GSK-2606414. Treatment with salubrial had no significant effect, while GSK-2606414 mitigated the effects of aggregation leading to in vitro aging. This method holds the potential to increase the clinical relevance of MSC therapeutic effects from small model systems (such as rats and mice) to humans, and may open the potential of patient-derived MSCs for treatment thereby removing the need for immunosuppression. 
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  3. null (Ed.)
  4. Abstract

    Human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) promote endogenous tissue regeneration and have become a promising candidate for cell therapy. However, in vitro culture expansion of hMSCs induces a rapid decline of stem cell properties through replicative senescence. Here, we characterize metabolic profiles of hMSCs during expansion. We show that alterations of cellular nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD + /NADH) redox balance and activity of the Sirtuin (Sirt) family enzymes regulate cellular senescence of hMSCs. Treatment with NAD + precursor nicotinamide increases the intracellular NAD + level and re-balances the NAD + /NADH ratio, with enhanced Sirt-1 activity in hMSCs at high passage, partially restores mitochondrial fitness and rejuvenates senescent hMSCs. By contrast, human fibroblasts exhibit limited senescence as their cellular NAD + /NADH balance is comparatively stable during expansion. These results indicate a potential metabolic and redox connection to replicative senescence in adult stem cells and identify NAD + as a metabolic regulator that distinguishes stem cells from mature cells. This study also suggests potential strategies to maintain cellular homeostasis of hMSCs in clinical applications.

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  5. Brain spheroids or organoids derived from human pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) are still not capable of completely recapitulating in vivo human brain tissue, and one of the limitations is lack of microglia. To add built-in immune function, coculture of the dorsal forebrain spheroids with isogenic microglia-like cells (D-MG) was performed in our study. The three-dimensional D-MG spheroids were analyzed for their transcriptome and compared with isogenic microglia-like cells (MG). Cortical spheroids containing microglia-like cells displayed different metabolic programming, which may affect the associated phenotype. The expression of genes related to glycolysis and hypoxia signaling was increased in cocultured D-MG spheroids, indicating the metabolic shift to aerobic glycolysis, which is in favor of M1 polarization of microglia-like cells. In addition, the metabolic pathways and the signaling pathways involved in cell proliferation, cell death, PIK3/AKT/mTOR signaling, eukaryotic initiation factor 2 pathway, and Wnt and Notch pathways were analyzed. The results demonstrate the activation of mTOR and p53 signaling, increased expression of Notch ligands, and the repression of NF- κ B and canonical Wnt pathways, as well as the lower expression of cell cycle genes in the cocultured D-MG spheroids. This analysis indicates that physiological 3-D microenvironment may reshape the immunity of in vitro cortical spheroids and better recapitulate in vivo brain tissue function for disease modeling and drug screening. 
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  6. Abstract

    Human cerebral organoids derived from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) provide novel tools for recapitulating the cytoarchitecture of human brain and for studying biological mechanisms of neurological disorders. However, the heterotypic interactions of neurovascular units, composed of neurons, pericytes, astrocytes, and brain microvascular endothelial cells, in brain-like tissues are less investigated. The objective of this study is to investigate the impacts of neural spheroids and vascular spheroids interactions on the regional brain-like tissue patterning in cortical spheroids derived from human iPSCs. Hybrid neurovascular spheroids were constructed by fusion of human iPSC-derived cortical neural progenitor cell (iNPC) spheroids, endothelial cell (iEC) spheroids, and the supporting human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). Single hybrid spheroids were constructed at different iNPC: iEC: MSC ratios of 4:2:0, 3:2:1 2:2:2, and 1:2:3 in low-attachment 96-well plates. The incorporation of MSCs upregulated the secretion levels of cytokines VEGF-A, PGE2, and TGF-β1 in hybrid spheroid system. In addition, tri-cultured spheroids had high levels of TBR1 (deep cortical layer VI) and Nkx2.1 (ventral cells), and matrix remodeling genes, MMP2 and MMP3, as well as Notch-1, indicating the crucial role of matrix remodeling and cell-cell communications on cortical spheroid and organoid patterning. Moreover, tri-culture system elevated blood-brain barrier gene expression (e.g., GLUT-1), CD31, and tight junction protein ZO1 expression. Treatment with AMD3100, a CXCR4 antagonist, showed the immobilization of MSCs during spheroid fusion, indicating a CXCR4-dependent manner of hMSC migration and homing. This forebrain-like model has potential applications in understanding heterotypic cell-cell interactions and novel drug screening in diseased human brain.

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