Han et al., Cell Transplant, 2016

Recent evidence has suggested that diabetic neuropathy (DN) is pathophysiologically related to both impaired angiogenesis and a deficiency of neurotrophic factors in the nerves. It is widely known that vascular and neural growths are intimately associated. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) promote angiogenesis in ischemic diseases and have neuroprotective effects, particularly on Schwann cells. Accordingly, we investigated whether DN could be improved by local transplantation of MSCs by augmenting angiogenesis and neural regeneration such as remyelination. In sciatic nerves of streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic rats, motor and sensory nerve conduction velocities (NCVs) and capillary density were reduced, and axonal atrophy and demyelination were observed. After injection of bone marrow-derived MSCs (BM-MSCs) into hindlimb muscles, NCVs were restored to near-normal levels. Histological examination demonstrated that injected MSCs were preferentially and durably engrafted in the sciatic nerves, and a portion of the engrafted MSCs were distinctively localized close to vasa nervora of sciatic nerves. Furthermore, vasa nervora increased in density, and the ultrastructure of myelinated fibers in nerves was observed to be restored. Real-time RT-PCR experiments showed that gene expression of multiple factors involved in angiogenesis, neural function, and myelination were increased in the MSC-injected nerves. These findings suggest that MSC transplantation improved DN through direct peripheral nerve angiogenesis, neurotrophic effects, and restoration of myelination.

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Alexander et al., ACS Appl Mater Interfaces

Inflammatory responses play a critical role in tissue-implant interactions, often limiting current implant utility. This is particularly true for cardiovascular devices. Existing stent technology does little to avoid or mitigate inflammation or to influence the vasomotion of the artery after implantation. We have developed a novel endothelium-mimicking nanomatrix composed of peptide amphiphiles that enhances endothelialization while decreasing both smooth muscle cell proliferation and platelet adhesion. Here, we evaluated whether the nanomatrix could prevent inflammatory responses under static and physiological flow conditions. We found that the nanomatrix reduced monocyte adhesion to endothelial cells and expression of monocyte inflammatory genes (TNF-α, MCP-1, IL-1β, and IL-6). Furthermore, the nitric-oxide releasing nanomatrix dramatically attenuated TNF-α-stimulated inflammatory responses as demonstrated by significantly reduced monocyte adhesion and inflammatory gene expression in both static and physiological flow conditions. These effects were abolished by addition of a nitric oxide scavenger. Finally, the nanomatrix stimulated vasodilation in intact rat mesenteric arterioles after constriction with phenylephrine, demonstrating the bioavailability and bioactivity of the nanomatrix, as well as exhibiting highly desired release kinetics. These results demonstrate the clinical potential of this nanomatrix by both preventing inflammatory responses and promoting vasodilation, critical improvements in stent and cardiovascular device technology.

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Kim et al., Int J Cardiol, 2016

This study sought to systematically investigate the derivation of late outgrowth endothelial progenitor cells (late EPC) and mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) from umbilical cord blood (UCB) and to examine their therapeutic effects on myocardial infarction (MI). The expression of angiogenic genes was determined by qRT-PCR. Myocardial infarction (MI) was induced in rats, and cells were directly transplanted into the border regions of ischemic heart tissue. Culture of UCB mononuclear cells yielded two distinct types of cells by morphology after 2 weeks in the same culture conditions. These cells were identified as late EPC and MSC, and each was intramyocardially injected into rat hearts after induction of MI. Echocardiography and histologic analyses demonstrated that both EPC and MSC improved cardiac function and enhanced vascularization, although fibrosis was reduced only in the EPC transplanted hearts. Different paracrine factors were enriched in EPC and MSC. However, once injected into the hearts, they induced similar types of paracrine factors in the heart. Transplanted EPC or MSC were mostly localized at the perivascular areas. This study demonstrated that EPC and MSC can be simultaneously derived from UCB under the same initial culture conditions, and that common paracrine factors are involved in the repair of MI. Late EPC and MSC are effective for infarct repair, apparently mediated through common humoral mechanisms.

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Ban et al., Stem Cell Reports, 2015

Isolation of ventricular cardiomyocytes (vCMs) has been challenging due to the lack of specific surface markers. Here we show that vCMs can be purified from differentiating mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs) using molecular beacons (MBs) targeting specific intracellular mRNAs. We designed MBs (IRX4 MBs) to target mRNA encoding Iroquois homeobox protein 4 (Irx4), a transcription factor specific for vCMs. To purify mESC vCMs, IRX4 MBs were delivered into cardiomyogenically differentiating mESCs, and IRX4 MBs-positive cells were FACS-sorted. We found that, of the cells isolated, ~98% displayed vCM-like action potentials by electrophysiological analyses. These MB-purified vCMs continuously maintained their CM characteristics as verified by spontaneous beating, Ca(2+) transient, and expression of vCM-specific proteins. Our study shows the feasibility of isolating pure vCMs via cell sorting without modifying host genes. The homogeneous and functional ventricular CMs generated via the MB-based method can be useful for disease investigation, drug discovery, and cell-based therapies.

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Lee et al., Sci Rep, 2015

Human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) have emerged as an important source for cell therapy. However, to date, no studies demonstrated generation of purified hPSC-derived lymphatic endothelial cells (LECs) and tested their therapeutic potential in disease models. Here we sought to differentiate hPSCs into the LEC lineage, purify them with LEC markers, and evaluate their therapeutic effects. We found that an OP9-assisted culture system reinforced by addition of VEGF-A, VEGF-C, and EGF most efficiently generated LECs, which were then isolated via FACS-sorting with LYVE-1 and PODOPLANIN. These hPSC-derived LYVE-1(+)PODOPLANIN(+)cells showed a pure committed LEC phenotype, formed new lymphatic vessels, and expressed lymphangiogenic factors at high levels. These hPSC-derived LECs enhanced wound healing through lymphangiogenesis and lymphvasculogenesis. Here we report, for the first time, that LECs can be selectively isolated from differentiating hPSCs, and that these cells are potent for lymphatic vessel formation in vivo and wound healing. This system and the purified hPSC-derived LECs can serve as a new platform for studying LEC development as well as for cell therapy.

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Lee et al., Biomaterials, 2015

Various stem cells and their progeny have been used therapeutically for vascular regeneration. One of the major hurdles for cell-based therapy is low cell retention in vivo, and to improve cell survival several biomaterials have been used to encapsulate cells before transplantation. Vascular regeneration involves new blood vessel formation which consists of two processes, vasculogenesis and angiogenesis. While embryonic stem cell (ESC)-derived endothelial cells (ESC-ECs) have clearer vasculogenic potency, adult cells exert their effects mainly through paracrine angiogenic activities. While these two cells have seemingly complementary advantages, there have not been any studies to date combining these two cell types for vascular regeneration.

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