ASCI - Stem Cell Rejuvenation

Autism Stem Cell Treatment

Autism Stem Cell Treatment

 

 

 

Autism Case Study - STEM CELL AUTISM TREATMENT

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Autism treatment studies and stem cell protocols:

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Autism Stem Cell Treatment
Related Articles Embryological origin for autism: developmental anomalies of the cranial nerve motor nuclei. J Comp Neurol. 1996 Jun 24;370(2):247-61 Authors: Rodier PM, Ingram JL, Tisdale B, Nelson S, Romano J Abstract The underlying brain injury that leads to autism has been difficult to identify. The diagnostic criteria of the disease are not readily associated with any brain region or system, nor are they mimicked by vascular accidents, tumors, or degenerative neurological diseases occurring in adults. Fortuitously, a recent report of autism induced by thalidomide exposure provides evidence that the disease originates by an injury at the time of closure of the neural tube. The human data suggest that the initiating lesion includes the motor cranial nerve nuclei. To test this hypothesis, we first examined motor nuclei in the brainstem of a human autistic case. The autopsy brain exhibited near-complete absence of the facial nucleus and superior olive along with shortening of the brainstem between the trapezoid body and the inferior olive. A similar deficit has been reported in Hoxa-1 gene knockout mice in which pattern formation of the hindbrain is disrupted during neurulation. Alternatively, exposure to antimitotic agents just after neural tube closure could produce the observed pattern of deficits. Thus, the lesions observed in the autopsy case appear to match those predicted by the thalidomide cases in both time of origin and central nervous system (CNS) location. To produce similar brain lesions experimentally, we exposed rat embryos to valproic acid, a second teratogen newly linked to autism. Dams received 350 mg/kg of valproic acid (VPA) on day 11.5 (the day of neural tube closure), day 12, or day 12.5 gestation. Each treatment significantly reduced the number of motor neurons counted in matched sections of the earliest-forming motor nuclei (V, XII), and progressively later exposures affected the VIth and IIIrd cranial nerve nuclei. All treatments spared the facial nucleus, which forms still later. Counts from the mesencephalic nucleus of trigeminal, the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus, and the locus ceruleus were not affected by exposure to VPA, even though these nuclei form during the period when exposure occurred. Despite its effects on the motor nuclei, valproic acid exposure did not alter the further development of the brain in any obvious way. Treated animals were robust and had no external malformations. The autopsy data and experimental data from rats confirm that CNS injuries occurring during or just after neural tube closure can lead to a selective loss of neurons derived from the basal plate of the rhombencephalon. The results add two new lines of evidence that place the initiating injury for autism around the time of neural tube closure. PMID: 8808733 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Tsc2 null murine neuroepithelial cells are a model for human tuber giant cells, and show activation of an mTOR pathway. Mol Cell Neurosci. 2002 Dec;21(4):561-74 Authors: Onda H, Crino PB, Zhang H, Murphey RD, Rastelli L, Gould Rothberg BE, Kwiatkowski DJ Abstract Cortical tubers are developmental brain malformations in the tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) that cause epilepsy and autism in TSC patients whose pathogenesis is uncertain. Tsc2 null murine neuroepithelial progenitor (NEP) cells display persistent growth when growth factors are withdrawn, express GFAP at high levels, and have reduced expression of a set of early neuronal lineage markers. Tsc2 null NEP cells exhibit aberrant differentiation into giant cells that express both beta III-tubulin and GFAP and that are morphologically similar to giant cells in human tubers. Tsc2 null giant cells and tuber giant cells have similar transcriptional profiles. Tsc2 null NEP cells express high levels of phosphorylated S6kinase, S6, Stat3, and 4E-BP-1, which is reversed by treatment with rapamycin, an inhibitor of mTOR. We conclude that giant cells in human tubers likely result from a complete loss of TSC2 expression and activation of an mTOR pathway during cortical development. PMID: 12504590 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles An evaluation of serious neurological disorders following immunization: a comparison of whole-cell pertussis and acellular pertussis vaccines. Brain Dev. 2004 Aug;26(5):296-300 Authors: Geier DA, Geier MR Abstract Serious neurological disorders reported following whole-cell pertussis in comparison to acellular pertussis vaccines were evaluated. The Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) was analyzed for Emergency Department (ED) visits, life-threatening reactions, hospitalizations, disabilities, deaths, seizures, infantile spasms, encephalitis/encephalopathy, autism, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and speech disorders reported with an initial onset of symptoms within 3 days following whole-cell pertussis and acellular pertussis vaccines among those residing in the US from 1997 to 1999. Controls were employed to evaluate potential biases in VAERS. Evaluations as to whether whole-cell and acellular vaccines were administered to populations of similar age and sex were undertaken because these factors might influence the study's results. Statistical increases were observed for all events examined following whole-cell pertussis vaccination in comparison to acellular pertussis vaccination, excepting cerebellar ataxia. Reporting biases were minimal in VAERS, and whole-cell and acellular pertussis vaccines were administered to populations of similar age and sex. Biologic mechanisms for the increased reactogenicity of whole-cell pertussis vaccines may stem from the fact that whole-cell pertussis vaccines contain 3,000 different proteins, whereas DTaP contains two to five proteins. Whole-cell pertussis vaccine contains known neurotoxins including: endotoxin, pertussis toxin and adenylate cyclase. Our results, and conclusions by the US Institute of Medicine, suggest an association between serious neurological disorders and whole-cell pertussis immunization. In light of the presence of a safer and at least equally efficacious acellular pertussis vaccine alternative, the Japanese and US switch to using acellular pertussis vaccine seems well justified. Other countries using whole-cell pertussis-containing vaccines should consider following suite in the near future. PMID: 15165669 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Hyperbaric oxygen therapy may improve symptoms in autistic children. Med Hypotheses. 2006;67(2):216-28 Authors: Rossignol DA, Rossignol LW Abstract Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that currently affects as many as 1 out of 166 children in the United States. Recent research has discovered that some autistic individuals have decreased cerebral perfusion, evidence of neuroinflammation, and increased markers of oxidative stress. Multiple independent single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and positron emission tomography (PET) research studies have revealed hypoperfusion to several areas of the autistic brain, most notably the temporal regions and areas specifically related to language comprehension and auditory processing. Several studies show that diminished blood flow to these areas correlates with many of the clinical features associated with autism including repetitive, self-stimulatory and stereotypical behaviors, and impairments in communication, sensory perception, and social interaction. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) has been used with clinical success in several cerebral hypoperfusion syndromes including cerebral palsy, fetal alcohol syndrome, closed head injury, and stroke. HBOT can compensate for decreased blood flow by increasing the oxygen content of plasma and body tissues and can even normalize oxygen levels in ischemic tissue. In addition, animal studies have shown that HBOT has potent anti-inflammatory effects and reduces oxidative stress. Furthermore, recent evidence demonstrates that HBOT mobilizes stem cells from human bone marrow, which may aid recovery in neurodegenerative diseases. Based upon these findings, it is hypothesized that HBOT will improve symptoms in autistic individuals. A retrospective case series is presented that supports this hypothesis. PMID: 16554123 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Hyperbaric oxygen therapy might improve certain pathophysiological findings in autism. Med Hypotheses. 2007;68(6):1208-27 Authors: Rossignol DA Abstract Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder currently affecting as many as 1 out of 166 children in the United States. Numerous studies of autistic individuals have revealed evidence of cerebral hypoperfusion, neuroinflammation and gastrointestinal inflammation, immune dysregulation, oxidative stress, relative mitochondrial dysfunction, neurotransmitter abnormalities, impaired detoxification of toxins, dysbiosis, and impaired production of porphyrins. Many of these findings have been correlated with core autistic symptoms. For example, cerebral hypoperfusion in autistic children has been correlated with repetitive, self-stimulatory and stereotypical behaviors, and impairments in communication, sensory perception, and social interaction. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) might be able to improve each of these problems in autistic individuals. Specifically, HBOT has been used with clinical success in several cerebral hypoperfusion conditions and can compensate for decreased blood flow by increasing the oxygen content of plasma and body tissues. HBOT has been reported to possess strong anti-inflammatory properties and has been shown to improve immune function. There is evidence that oxidative stress can be reduced with HBOT through the upregulation of antioxidant enzymes. HBOT can also increase the function and production of mitochondria and improve neurotransmitter abnormalities. In addition, HBOT upregulates enzymes that can help with detoxification problems specifically found in autistic children. Dysbiosis is common in autistic children and HBOT can improve this. Impaired production of porphyrins in autistic children might affect the production of heme, and HBOT might help overcome the effects of this problem. Finally, HBOT has been shown to mobilize stem cells from the bone marrow to the systemic circulation. Recent studies in humans have shown that stem cells can enter the brain and form new neurons, astrocytes, and microglia. It is expected that amelioration of these underlying pathophysiological problems through the use of HBOT will lead to improvements in autistic symptoms. Several studies on the use of HBOT in autistic children are currently underway and early results are promising. PMID: 17141962 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Stem cell therapy for autism. J Transl Med. 2007;5:30 Authors: Ichim TE, Solano F, Glenn E, Morales F, Smith L, Zabrecky G, Riordan NH Abstract Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are a group of neurodevelopmental conditions whose incidence is reaching epidemic proportions, afflicting approximately 1 in 166 children. Autistic disorder, or autism is the most common form of ASD. Although several neurophysiological alterations have been associated with autism, immune abnormalities and neural hypoperfusion appear to be broadly consistent. These appear to be causative since correlation of altered inflammatory responses, and hypoperfusion with symptology is reported. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) are in late phases of clinical development for treatment of graft versus host disease and Crohn's Disease, two conditions of immune dysregulation. Cord blood CD34+ cells are known to be potent angiogenic stimulators, having demonstrated positive effects in not only peripheral ischemia, but also in models of cerebral ischemia. Additionally, anecdotal clinical cases have reported responses in autistic children receiving cord blood CD34+ cells. We propose the combined use of MSC and cord blood CD34+cells may be useful in the treatment of autism. PMID: 17597540 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Stem cells as in vitro models of disease. Curr Stem Cell Res Ther. 2007 Dec;2(4):280-92 Authors: Ruiz-Lozano P, Rajan P Abstract Although the use of stem cells in cell-replacement therapies by transplantation is obvious, another equally important and interesting application of stem cells is to use them in disease modeling. Disease models serve as a platform to dissect the biochemical mechanisms of normal phenotypes and the processes which go awry during disease conditions. Particularly in complex, multigenic diseases, molecular studies lead to a greater understanding of the disease, and perhaps more targeted approaches for therapies. Stem cells provide an ideal in vitro system in which to study events related to development at the molecular and cellular level. Neural stem cells have been used as excellent models to study the mechanisms of differentiation of cells of the central nervous system. These studies may be particularly relevant to diseases of complex etiology such as psychiatric illnesses, neurodegenerative diseases and brain tumors. Stem cell-derived systems are also being developed to create models of cardiovascular disease. The application of stem cells to the study of cardiovascular illnesses, and vertebrate heart development, is discussed. PMID: 18220912 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Hoxa1 is required for the retinoic acid-induced differentiation of embryonic stem cells into neurons. J Neurosci Res. 2008 Oct;86(13):2809-19 Authors: Martinez-Ceballos E, Gudas LJ Abstract The ability of embryonic stem (ES) cells to differentiate into different cell fates has been extensively evaluated, and several protocols exist for the generation of various types of cells from mouse and human ES cells. We used a differentiation protocol that involves embryoid body formation and all-trans-retinoic acid (RA, 5 microM) treatment (EB/5 microM RA) to test the ability of Hoxa1 null ES cells to adopt a neuronal fate. Hoxa1(-/-) ES cells, when treated in this EB/5 microM RA protocol, failed to differentiate along a neural lineage; Hoxa1(-/-) ES cells express severalfold lower levels of many neuronal differentiation markers, including nestin, beta-tubulin III, and MAP2, and conversely, higher levels of endodermal differentiation markers (i.e., Sox17, Col4a1) than wild type (Wt) cells. Reintroduction of exogenous Hoxa1, under the control of the metallothionein I promoter, into Hoxa1(-/-) ES cells restored their capacity to generate neurons. Moreover, overexpression of Sox17, a gene that regulates endodermal differentiation, in Wt ES cells resulted in endodermal differentiation and in a complete abolition of beta-tubulin III expression. Thus, Hoxa1 activity is essential for the neuronal differentiation of ES cells in the presence of all-trans-RA, and Hoxa1 may promote neural differentiation by inhibiting Sox17 expression. Pharmacological manipulation of Hoxa1 levels may provide a method for promoting neuronal differentiation for therapeutic uses. Furthermore, because mutations in the Hoxa1 gene can cause autism spectrum disorder in humans, these data also provide important mechanistic insights into the early developmental processes that may result in this disorder. PMID: 18512762 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Epigenetic regulation of the stem cell mitogen Fgf-2 by Mbd1 in adult neural stem/progenitor cells. J Biol Chem. 2008 Oct 10;283(41):27644-52 Authors: Li X, Barkho BZ, Luo Y, Smrt RD, Santistevan NJ, Liu C, Kuwabara T, Gage FH, Zhao X Abstract Whether and how mechanisms intrinsic to stem cells modulate their proliferation and differentiation are two central questions in stem cell biology. Although exogenous basic fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF-2/Fgf-2) is commonly used to expand adult neural stem/progenitor cells (NSPCs) in vitro, we do not yet understand the functional significance or the molecular regulation of Fgf-2 expressed endogenously by adult NSPCs. We previously demonstrated that methylated CpG binding protein 1 (MBD1/Mbd1) is a transcriptional repressor of Fgf-2 and is enriched in adult brains. Mbd1 deficiency in mice selectively affected adult neurogenesis and the differentiation of NSPCs. Here we show that an Mbd1 and DNA methylation-mediated epigenetic mechanism regulated the expression of stem cell mitogen Fgf-2 in adult NSPCs. Mbd1 bound to the Fgf-2 promoter and regulates its expression in adult NSPCs. In the absence of functional Mbd1, the Fgf-2 promoter was hypomethylated, and treatment with a DNA methylation inhibitor resulted in increased Fgf-2 expression in adult NSPCs. We further demonstrated that both acute knockdown of Mbd1 or overexpression of Fgf-2 in adult NSPCs inhibited their neuronal differentiation, which could be responsible for the neurogenic deficits observed in Mbd1-deficient mice. These data indicate that intrinsic epigenetic mechanisms play critical roles in the regulation of adult NSPC functions. PMID: 18689796 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles [Value of the experiment for developmental neurology]. Przegl Lek. 2009;66(11):958-62 Authors: Budziszewska B, Lasoń W, Steczkowska M, Gergont A Abstract Some neurological diseases cannot be at present efficiently treated, because of their unknown pathogenesis and the lack of appropriate drugs. The etiology of autism is not known and there is no drug for ameliorating basal symptoms of this disease. Some research was conducted to obtain an adequate rodent model of autism in which potential drugs can be studied. Therapeutic action of psychostimulant drugs in the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are known for years, but because of their addictive properties, decision about their clinical use in a child is not easy. The precise recognition of their mechanism of action and determination of the maximal but safe doses should facilitate making the correct decision. Only about 70% children suffering from epilepsy are efficiently treated with one drug, while in the remaining the use of two or more drugs is necessary, which increases the the risk of side effects. Clinically more effective classical antiepileptic drugs can disturb cognitive functions in the child, therefore, on the basis of the present knowledge the experiments are under way with the aim of receiving drugs with strong anticonvulsant properties but without serious side effects. The introduction of efficient neuroprotective drugs, which may ameliorate secondary neuronal cell damage in various brain regions to the therapy is the main aim of numerous experimental works. At present it seems that neurotrophic factors can be useful but they must be administered centrally. Transplantations of transfected cells capable of producing neurotrophic factors or stem cells to the brain may be in the future an efficient method for improving brain function. PMID: 20297638 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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[2008 Scientific descoveries selection]. Rev Med Chir Soc Med Nat Iasi. 2009 Jan-Mar;113(1):9-12 Authors: Rusu V PMID: 21495290 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles There is no evidence that . . . Arch Ophthalmol. 2009 Jan;127(1):94-6 Authors: Kushner BJ PMID: 19139347 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles MECP2 isoform-specific vectors with regulated expression for Rett syndrome gene therapy. PLoS One. 2009;4(8):e6810 Authors: Rastegar M, Hotta A, Pasceri P, Makarem M, Cheung AY, Elliott S, Park KJ, Adachi M, Jones FS, Clarke ID, Dirks P, Ellis J Abstract BACKGROUND: Rett Syndrome (RTT) is an Autism Spectrum Disorder and the leading cause of mental retardation in females. RTT is caused by mutations in the Methyl CpG-Binding Protein-2 (MECP2) gene and has no treatment. Our objective is to develop viral vectors for MECP2 gene transfer into Neural Stem Cells (NSC) and neurons suitable for gene therapy of Rett Syndrome. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We generated self-inactivating (SIN) retroviral vectors with the ubiquitous EF1alpha promoter avoiding known silencer elements to escape stem-cell-specific viral silencing. High efficiency NSC infection resulted in long-term EGFP expression in transduced NSC and after differentiation into neurons. Infection with Myc-tagged MECP2-isoform-specific (E1 and E2) vectors directed MeCP2 to heterochromatin of transduced NSC and neurons. In contrast, vectors with an internal mouse Mecp2 promoter (MeP) directed restricted expression only in neurons and glia and not NSC, recapitulating the endogenous expression pattern required to avoid detrimental consequences of MECP2 ectopic expression. In differentiated NSC from adult heterozygous Mecp2(tm1.1Bird)+/- female mice, 48% of neurons expressed endogenous MeCP2 due to random inactivation of the X-linked Mecp2 gene. Retroviral MECP2 transduction with EF1alpha and MeP vectors rescued expression in 95-100% of neurons resulting in increased dendrite branching function in vitro. Insulated MECP2 isoform-specific lentiviral vectors show long-term expression in NSC and their differentiated neuronal progeny, and directly infect dissociated murine cortical neurons with high efficiency. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: MeP vectors recapitulate the endogenous expression pattern of MeCP2 in neurons and glia. They have utility to study MeCP2 isoform-specific functions in vitro, and are effective gene therapy vectors for rescuing dendritic maturation of neurons in an ex vivo model of RTT. PMID: 19710912 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Slc25a12 disruption alters myelination and neurofilaments: a model for a hypomyelination syndrome and childhood neurodevelopmental disorders. Biol Psychiatry. 2010 May 1;67(9):887-94 Authors: Sakurai T, Ramoz N, Barreto M, Gazdoiu M, Takahashi N, Gertner M, Dorr N, Gama Sosa MA, De Gasperi R, Perez G, Schmeidler J, Mitropoulou V, Le HC, Lupu M, Hof PR, Elder GA, Buxbaum JD Abstract BACKGROUND: SLC25A12, a susceptibility gene for autism spectrum disorders that is mutated in a neurodevelopmental syndrome, encodes a mitochondrial aspartate-glutamate carrier (aspartate-glutamate carrier isoform 1 [AGC1]). AGC1 is an important component of the malate/aspartate shuttle, a crucial system supporting oxidative phosphorylation and adenosine triphosphate production. METHODS: We characterized mice with a disruption of the Slc25a12 gene, followed by confirmatory in vitro studies. RESULTS: Slc25a12-knockout mice, which showed no AGC1 by immunoblotting, were born normally but displayed delayed development and died around 3 weeks after birth. In postnatal day 13 to 14 knockout brains, the brains were smaller with no obvious alteration in gross structure. However, we found a reduction in myelin basic protein (MBP)-positive fibers, consistent with a previous report. Furthermore, the neocortex of knockout mice contained abnormal neurofilamentous accumulations in neurons, suggesting defective axonal transport and/or neurodegeneration. Slice cultures prepared from knockout mice also showed a myelination defect, and reduction of Slc25a12 in rat primary oligodendrocytes led to a cell-autonomous reduction in MBP expression. Myelin deficits in slice cultures from knockout mice could be reversed by administration of pyruvate, indicating that reduction in AGC1 activity leads to reduced production of aspartate/N-acetylaspartate and/or alterations in the dihydronicotinamide adenine dinucleotide/nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide(+) ratio, resulting in myelin defects. CONCLUSIONS: Our data implicate AGC1 activity in myelination and in neuronal structure and indicate that while loss of AGC1 leads to hypomyelination and neuronal changes, subtle alterations in AGC1 expression could affect brain development, contributing to increased autism susceptibility. PMID: 20015484 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles A model for neural development and treatment of Rett syndrome using human induced pluripotent stem cells. Cell. 2010 Nov 12;143(4):527-39 Authors: Marchetto MC, Carromeu C, Acab A, Yu D, Yeo GW, Mu Y, Chen G, Gage FH, Muotri AR Abstract Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are complex neurodevelopmental diseases in which different combinations of genetic mutations may contribute to the phenotype. Using Rett syndrome (RTT) as an ASD genetic model, we developed a culture system using induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from RTT patients' fibroblasts. RTT patients' iPSCs are able to undergo X-inactivation and generate functional neurons. Neurons derived from RTT-iPSCs had fewer synapses, reduced spine density, smaller soma size, altered calcium signaling and electrophysiological defects when compared to controls. Our data uncovered early alterations in developing human RTT neurons. Finally, we used RTT neurons to test the effects of drugs in rescuing synaptic defects. Our data provide evidence of an unexplored developmental window, before disease onset, in RTT syndrome where potential therapies could be successfully employed. Our model recapitulates early stages of a human neurodevelopmental disease and represents a promising cellular tool for drug screening, diagnosis and personalized treatment. PMID: 21074045 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Evaluation of Pax6 mutant rat as a model for autism. PLoS One. 2010;5(12):e15500 Authors: Umeda T, Takashima N, Nakagawa R, Maekawa M, Ikegami S, Yoshikawa T, Kobayashi K, Okanoya K, Inokuchi K, Osumi N Abstract Autism is a highly variable brain developmental disorder and has a strong genetic basis. Pax6 is a pivotal player in brain development and maintenance. It is expressed in embryonic and adult neural stem cells, in astrocytes in the entire central nervous system, and in neurons in the olfactory bulb, amygdala, thalamus, and cerebellum, functioning in highly context-dependent manners. We have recently reported that Pax6 heterozygous mutant (rSey(2)/+) rats with a spontaneous mutation in the Pax6 gene, show impaired prepulse inhibition (PPI). In the present study, we further examined behaviors of rSey(2)/+ rats and revealed that they exhibited abnormality in social interaction (more aggression and withdrawal) in addition to impairment in rearing activity and in fear-conditioned memory. Ultrasonic vocalization (USV) in rSey(2)+ rat pups was normal in male but abnormal in female. Moreover, treatment with clozapine successfully recovered the defects in sensorimotor gating function, but not in fear-conditioned memory. Taken together with our prior human genetic data and results in other literatures, rSey(2)/+ rats likely have some phenotypic components of autism. PMID: 21203536 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Annual Research Review: The promise of stem cell research for neuropsychiatric disorders. J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2011 Apr;52(4):504-16 Authors: Vaccarino FM, Urban AE, Stevens HE, Szekely A, Abyzov A, Grigorenko EL, Gerstein M, Weissman S Abstract The study of the developing brain has begun to shed light on the underpinnings of both early and adult onset neuropsychiatric disorders. Neuroimaging of the human brain across developmental time points and the use of model animal systems have combined to reveal brain systems and gene products that may play a role in autism spectrum disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and many other neurodevelopmental conditions. However, precisely how genes may function in human brain development and how they interact with each other leading to psychiatric disorders is unknown. Because of an increasing understanding of neural stem cells and how the nervous system subsequently develops from these cells, we have now the ability to study disorders of the nervous system in a new way - by rewinding and reviewing the development of human neural cells. Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), developed from mature somatic cells, have allowed the development of specific cells in patients to be observed in real time. Moreover, they have allowed some neuronal-specific abnormalities to be corrected with pharmacological intervention in tissue culture. These exciting advances based on the use of iPSCs hold great promise for understanding, diagnosing and, possibly, treating psychiatric disorders. Specifically, examination of iPSCs from typically developing individuals will reveal how basic cellular processes and genetic differences contribute to individually unique nervous systems. Moreover, by comparing iPSCs from typically developing individuals and patients, differences at stem cell stages, through neural differentiation, and into the development of functional neurons may be identified that will reveal opportunities for intervention. The application of such techniques to early onset neuropsychiatric disorders is still on the horizon but has become a reality of current research efforts as a consequence of the revelations of many years of basic developmental neurobiological science. PMID: 21204834 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles c-Kit+ cells transplantation as a new treatment for autism, a novel hypothesis with important research and clinical implication. J Autism Dev Disord. 2011 Nov;41(11):1591-2 Authors: Ghanizadeh A PMID: 21225454 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Induced pluripotent stem cells: a new tool to confront the challenge of neuropsychiatric disorders. Neuropharmacology. 2011 Jun;60(7-8):1355-63 Authors: Vaccarino FM, Stevens HE, Kocabas A, Palejev D, Szekely A, Grigorenko EL, Weissman S Abstract Studies in the area of human brain development are critical as research on neurological and psychiatric disorders has advanced, revealing the origins of pathophysiology to be in the earliest developmental stages. Only with a more precise understanding of the genes and environments that influence the brain in these early stages can we address questions about the pathology, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders of developmental origin, like autism, schizophrenia, and Tourette syndrome. A new approach for studying early developmental events is the use of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). These are cells with wide potential, similar to that of embryonic stem cells, derived from mature somatic cells. We review the protocols used to create iPSCs, including the most efficient and reliable reprogramming strategies available to date for generating iPSCs. In addition, we discuss how this new tool can be applied to neuropsychiatric research. The use of iPSCs can advance our understanding of how genes and gene products are dynamically involved in the formation of unique features of the human brain, and how aberrant genetic variation may interfere with its typical formation. The iPSC technology, if properly applied, can also address basic questions about neural differentiation such as how stem cells can be guided into general and specific neurodevelopmental pathways. Current work in neuropsychiatry with iPSCs derived from patients has focused on disorders with specific genetics deficits and those with less-defined origins; it has revealed previously unknown aspects of pathology and potential pharmacological interventions. These exciting advances based on the use of iPSCs hold promise for improving early diagnosis and, possibly, treatment of psychiatric disorders. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled 'Trends in neuropharmacology: in memory of Erminio Costa'. PMID: 21371482 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Profile of Gabriela G. Cezar. Interview by Kristie Nybo. Biotechniques. 2011 May;50(5):281 Authors: Cezar GG PMID: 21548887 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Right treatment, right patient? Am J Nurs. 2011 Jun;111(6):72 Authors: Brown T PMID: 21613926 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Modeling the functional genomics of autism using human neurons. Mol Psychiatry. 2012 Feb;17(2):202-14 Authors: Konopka G, Wexler E, Rosen E, Mukamel Z, Osborn GE, Chen L, Lu D, Gao F, Gao K, Lowe JK, Geschwind DH Abstract Human neural progenitors from a variety of sources present new opportunities to model aspects of human neuropsychiatric disease in vitro. Such in vitro models provide the advantages of a human genetic background combined with rapid and easy manipulation, making them highly useful adjuncts to animal models. Here, we examined whether a human neuronal culture system could be utilized to assess the transcriptional program involved in human neural differentiation and to model some of the molecular features of a neurodevelopmental disorder, such as autism. Primary normal human neuronal progenitors (NHNPs) were differentiated into a post-mitotic neuronal state through addition of specific growth factors and whole-genome gene expression was examined throughout a time course of neuronal differentiation. After 4 weeks of differentiation, a significant number of genes associated with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are either induced or repressed. This includes the ASD susceptibility gene neurexin 1, which showed a distinct pattern from neurexin 3 in vitro, and which we validated in vivo in fetal human brain. Using weighted gene co-expression network analysis, we visualized the network structure of transcriptional regulation, demonstrating via this unbiased analysis that a significant number of ASD candidate genes are coordinately regulated during the differentiation process. As NHNPs are genetically tractable and manipulable, they can be used to study both the effects of mutations in multiple ASD candidate genes on neuronal differentiation and gene expression in combination with the effects of potential therapeutic molecules. These data also provide a step towards better understanding of the signaling pathways disrupted in ASD. PMID: 21647150 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Valproic acid inhibits neural progenitor cell death by activation of NF-κB signaling pathway and up-regulation of Bcl-XL. J Biomed Sci. 2011;18(1):48 Authors: Go HS, Seo JE, Kim KC, Han SM, Kim P, Kang YS, Han SH, Shin CY, Ko KH Abstract BACKGROUND: At the beginning of neurogenesis, massive brain cell death occurs and more than 50% of cells are eliminated by apoptosis along with neuronal differentiation. However, few studies were conducted so far regarding the regulation of neural progenitor cells (NPCs) death during development. Because of the physiological role of cell death during development, aberration of normal apoptotic cell death is detrimental to normal organogenesis.Apoptosis occurs in not only neuron but also in NPCs and neuroblast. When growth and survival signals such as EGF or LIF are removed, apoptosis is activated as well as the induction of differentiation. To investigate the regulation of cell death during developmental stage, it is essential to investigate the regulation of apoptosis of NPCs. METHODS: Neural progenitor cells were cultured from E14 embryonic brains of Sprague-Dawley rats. For in vivo VPA animal model, pregnant rats were treated with VPA (400 mg/kg S.C.) diluted with normal saline at E12. To analyze the cell death, we performed PI staining and PARP and caspase-3 cleavage assay. Expression level of proteins was investigated by Western blot and immunocytochemical assays. The level of mRNA expression was investigated by RT-PCR. Interaction of Bcl-XL gene promoter and NF-κB p65 was investigated by ChIP assay. RESULTS: In this study, FACS analysis, PI staining and PARP and caspase-3 cleavage assay showed that VPA protects cultured NPCs from cell death after growth factor withdrawal both in basal and staurosporine- or hydrogen peroxide-stimulated conditions. The protective effect of prenatally injected VPA was also observed in E16 embryonic brain. Treatment of VPA decreased the level of IκBα and increased the nuclear translocation of NF-κB, which subsequently enhanced expression of anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-XL. CONCLUSION: To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report to indicate the reduced death of NPCs by VPA at developmentally critical periods through the degradation of IκBα and the activation of NF-κB signaling. The reduced NPCs death might underlie the neurodevelopmental defects collectively called fetal valproate syndrome, which shows symptoms such as mental retardation and autism-like behavior. PMID: 21722408 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Isolating nasal olfactory stem cells from rodents or humans. J Vis Exp. 2011;(54) Authors: Girard SD, Devéze A, Nivet E, Gepner B, Roman FS, Féron F Abstract The olfactory mucosa, located in the nasal cavity, is in charge of detecting odours. It is also the only nervous tissue that is exposed to the external environment and easily accessible in every living individual. As a result, this tissue is unique for anyone aiming to identify molecular anomalies in the pathological brain or isolate adult stem cells for cell therapy. Molecular abnormalities in brain diseases are often studied using nervous tissue samples collected post-mortem. However, this material has numerous limitations. In contrast, the olfactory mucosa is readily accessible and can be biopsied safely without any loss of sense of smell(1). Accordingly, the olfactory mucosa provides an "open window" in the adult human through which one can study developmental (e.g. autism, schizophrenia)(2-4) or neurodegenerative (e.g. Parkinson, Alzheimer) diseases(4,5). Olfactory mucosa can be used for either comparative molecular studies(4,6) or in vitro experiments on neurogenesis(3,7). The olfactory epithelium is also a nervous tissue that produces new neurons every day to replace those that are damaged by pollution, bacterial of viral infections. This permanent neurogenesis is sustained by progenitors but also stem cells residing within both compartments of the mucosa, namely the neuroepithelium and the underlying lamina propria(8-10). We recently developed a method to purify the adult stem cells located in the lamina propria and, after having demonstrated that they are closely related to bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BM-MSC), we named them olfactory ecto-mesenchymal stem cells (OE-MSC)(11). Interestingly, when compared to BM-MSCs, OE-MSCs display a high proliferation rate, an elevated clonogenicity and an inclination to differentiate into neural cells. We took advantage of these characteristics to perform studies dedicated to unveil new candidate genes in schizophrenia and Parkinson's disease(4). We and others have also shown that OE-MSCs are promising candidates for cell therapy, after a spinal cord trauma(12,13), a cochlear damage(14) or in an animal models of Parkinson's disease(15) or amnesia(16). In this study, we present methods to biopsy olfactory mucosa in rats and humans. After collection, the lamina propria is enzymatically separated from the epithelium and stem cells are purified using an enzymatic or a non-enzymatic method. Purified olfactory stem cells can then be either grown in large numbers and banked in liquid nitrogen or induced to form spheres or differentiated into neural cells. These stem cells can also be used for comparative omics (genomic, transcriptomic, epigenomic, proteomic) studies. PMID: 21876529 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Stereotyped fetal brain disorganization is induced by hypoxia and requires lysophosphatidic acid receptor 1 (LPA1) signaling. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Sep 13;108(37):15444-9 Authors: Herr KJ, Herr DR, Lee CW, Noguchi K, Chun J Abstract Fetal hypoxia is a common risk factor that has been associated with a range of CNS disorders including epilepsy, schizophrenia, and autism. Cellular and molecular mechanisms through which hypoxia may damage the developing brain are incompletely understood but are likely to involve disruption of the laminar organization of the cerebral cortex. Lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) is a bioactive lipid capable of cortical influences via one or more of six cognate G protein-coupled receptors, LPA(1-6), several of which are enriched in fetal neural progenitor cells (NPCs). Here we report that fetal hypoxia induces cortical disruption via increased LPA(1) signaling involving stereotyped effects on NPCs: N-cadherin disruption, displacement of mitotic NPCs, and impaired neuronal migration, as assessed both ex vivo and in vivo. Importantly, genetic removal or pharmacological inhibition of LPA(1) prevented the occurrence of these hypoxia-induced phenomena. Hypoxia resulted in overactivation of LPA(1) through selective inhibition of G protein-coupled receptor kinase 2 expression and activation of downstream pathways including G(αi) and Ras-related C3 botulinum toxin substrate 1. These data identify stereotyped and selective hypoxia-induced cerebral cortical disruption requiring LPA(1) signaling, inhibition of which can reduce or prevent disease-associated sequelae, and may take us closer to therapeutic treatment of fetal hypoxia-induced CNS disorders and possibly other forms of hypoxic injury. PMID: 21878565 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Epigenetic characterization of the FMR1 gene and aberrant neurodevelopment in human induced pluripotent stem cell models of fragile X syndrome. PLoS One. 2011;6(10):e26203 Authors: Sheridan SD, Theriault KM, Reis SA, Zhou F, Madison JM, Daheron L, Loring JF, Haggarty SJ Abstract Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is the most common inherited cause of intellectual disability. In addition to cognitive deficits, FXS patients exhibit hyperactivity, attention deficits, social difficulties, anxiety, and other autistic-like behaviors. FXS is caused by an expanded CGG trinucleotide repeat in the 5' untranslated region of the Fragile X Mental Retardation (FMR1) gene leading to epigenetic silencing and loss of expression of the Fragile X Mental Retardation protein (FMRP). Despite the known relationship between FMR1 CGG repeat expansion and FMR1 silencing, the epigenetic modifications observed at the FMR1 locus, and the consequences of the loss of FMRP on human neurodevelopment and neuronal function remain poorly understood. To address these limitations, we report on the generation of induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) lines from multiple patients with FXS and the characterization of their differentiation into post-mitotic neurons and glia. We show that clones from reprogrammed FXS patient fibroblast lines exhibit variation with respect to the predominant CGG-repeat length in the FMR1 gene. In two cases, iPSC clones contained predominant CGG-repeat lengths shorter than measured in corresponding input population of fibroblasts. In another instance, reprogramming a mosaic patient having both normal and pre-mutation length CGG repeats resulted in genetically matched iPSC clonal lines differing in FMR1 promoter CpG methylation and FMRP expression. Using this panel of patient-specific, FXS iPSC models, we demonstrate aberrant neuronal differentiation from FXS iPSCs that is directly correlated with epigenetic modification of the FMR1 gene and a loss of FMRP expression. Overall, these findings provide evidence for a key role for FMRP early in human neurodevelopment prior to synaptogenesis and have implications for modeling of FXS using iPSC technology. By revealing disease-associated cellular phenotypes in human neurons, these iPSC models will aid in the discovery of novel therapeutics for FXS and other autism-spectrum disorders sharing common pathophysiology. PMID: 22022567 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Regulable neural progenitor-specific Tsc1 loss yields giant cells with organellar dysfunction in a model of tuberous sclerosis complex. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Nov 8;108(45):E1070-9 Authors: Goto J, Talos DM, Klein P, Qin W, Chekaluk YI, Anderl S, Malinowska IA, Di Nardo A, Bronson RT, Chan JA, Vinters HV, Kernie SG, Jensen FE, Sahin M, Kwiatkowski DJ Abstract Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is a multiorgan genetic disease in which brain involvement causes epilepsy, intellectual disability, and autism. The hallmark pathological finding in TSC is the cerebral cortical tuber and its unique constituent, giant cells. However, an animal model that replicates giant cells has not yet been described. Here, we report that mosaic induction of Tsc1 loss in neural progenitor cells in Tsc1(cc) Nestin-rtTA(+) TetOp-cre(+) embryos by doxycycline leads to multiple neurological symptoms, including severe epilepsy and premature death. Strikingly, Tsc1-null neural progenitor cells develop into highly enlarged giant cells with enlarged vacuoles. We found that the vacuolated giant cells had multiple signs of organelle dysfunction, including markedly increased mitochondria, aberrant lysosomes, and elevated cellular stress. We found similar vacuolated giant cells in human tuber specimens. Postnatal rapamycin treatment completely reversed these phenotypes and rescued the mutants from epilepsy and premature death, despite prenatal onset of Tsc1 loss and mTOR complex 1 activation in the developing brain. This TSC brain model provides insights into the pathogenesis and organelle dysfunction of giant cells, as well as epilepsy control in patients with TSC. PMID: 22025691 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Cellular reprogramming: recent advances in modeling neurological diseases. J Neurosci. 2011 Nov 9;31(45):16070-5 Authors: Ming GL, Brüstle O, Muotri A, Studer L, Wernig M, Christian KM Abstract The remarkable advances in cellular reprogramming have made it possible to generate a renewable source of human neurons from fibroblasts obtained from skin samples of neonates and adults. As a result, we can now investigate the etiology of neurological diseases at the cellular level using neuronal populations derived from patients, which harbor the same genetic mutations thought to be relevant to the risk for pathology. Therapeutic implications include the ability to establish new humanized disease models for understanding mechanisms, conduct high-throughput screening for novel biogenic compounds to reverse or prevent the disease phenotype, identify and engineer genetic rescue of causal mutations, and develop patient-specific cellular replacement strategies. Although this field offers enormous potential for understanding and treating neurological disease, there are still many issues that must be addressed before we can fully exploit this technology. Here we summarize several recent studies presented at a symposium at the 2011 annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, which highlight innovative approaches to cellular reprogramming and how this revolutionary technique is being refined to model neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases, such as autism spectrum disorders, schizophrenia, familial dysautonomia, and Alzheimer's disease. PMID: 22072658 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Rett syndrome mutation MeCP2 T158A disrupts DNA binding, protein stability and ERP responses. Nat Neurosci. 2012 Feb;15(2):274-83 Authors: Goffin D, Allen M, Zhang L, Amorim M, Wang IT, Reyes AR, Mercado-Berton A, Ong C, Cohen S, Hu L, Blendy JA, Carlson GC, Siegel SJ, Greenberg ME, Zhou Z Abstract Mutations in the MECP2 gene cause the autism spectrum disorder Rett syndrome (RTT). One of the most common MeCP2 mutations associated with RTT occurs at threonine 158, converting it to methionine (T158M) or alanine (T158A). To understand the role of T158 mutations in the pathogenesis of RTT, we generated knockin mice that recapitulate the MeCP2 T158A mutation. We found a causal role for T158A mutation in the development of RTT-like phenotypes, including developmental regression, motor dysfunction, and learning and memory deficits. These phenotypes resemble those present in Mecp2 null mice and manifest through a reduction in MeCP2 binding to methylated DNA and a decrease in MeCP2 protein stability. The age-dependent development of event-related neuronal responses was disrupted by MeCP2 mutation, suggesting that impaired neuronal circuitry underlies the pathogenesis of RTT and that assessment of event-related potentials (ERPs) may serve as a biomarker for RTT and treatment evaluation. PMID: 22119903 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Using iPSC-derived neurons to uncover cellular phenotypes associated with Timothy syndrome. Nat Med. 2011 Dec;17(12):1657-62 Authors: Paşca SP, Portmann T, Voineagu I, Yazawa M, Shcheglovitov A, Paşca AM, Cord B, Palmer TD, Chikahisa S, Nishino S, Bernstein JA, Hallmayer J, Geschwind DH, Dolmetsch RE Abstract Monogenic neurodevelopmental disorders provide key insights into the pathogenesis of disease and help us understand how specific genes control the development of the human brain. Timothy syndrome is caused by a missense mutation in the L-type calcium channel Ca(v)1.2 that is associated with developmental delay and autism. We generated cortical neuronal precursor cells and neurons from induced pluripotent stem cells derived from individuals with Timothy syndrome. Cells from these individuals have defects in calcium (Ca(2+)) signaling and activity-dependent gene expression. They also show abnormalities in differentiation, including decreased expression of genes that are expressed in lower cortical layers and in callosal projection neurons. In addition, neurons derived from individuals with Timothy syndrome show abnormal expression of tyrosine hydroxylase and increased production of norepinephrine and dopamine. This phenotype can be reversed by treatment with roscovitine, a cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor and atypical L-type-channel blocker. These findings provide strong evidence that Ca(v)1.2 regulates the differentiation of cortical neurons in humans and offer new insights into the causes of autism in individuals with Timothy syndrome. PMID: 22120178 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles All-trans-retinoid acid induces the differentiation of encapsulated mouse embryonic stem cells into GABAergic neurons. Differentiation. 2012 Jun;83(5):233-41 Authors: Addae C, Yi X, Gernapudi R, Cheng H, Musto A, Martinez-Ceballos E Abstract Embryonic stem (ES) cells are pluripotent cells that can differentiate into all three main germ layers: endoderm, mesoderm, and ectoderm. Although a number of methods have been developed to differentiate ES cells into neuronal phenotypes such as sensory and motor neurons, the efficient generation of GABAergic interneurons from ES cells still presents an ongoing challenge. Because the main output of inhibitory GABAergic interneurons is the gamma-aminobutyric-acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter whose controlled homeostasis is required for normal brain function, the efficient generation in culture of functional interneurons may have future implications on the treatment of neurological disorders such as epilepsy, autism, and schizophrenia. The goal of this work was to examine the generation of GABAergic neurons from mouse ES cells by comparing an embryoid body-based methodology versus a hydrogel-based encapsulation protocol that involves the use of all-trans-retinoid acid (RA). We observed that (1) there was a 2-fold increase in neuronal differentiation in encapsulated versus non-encapsulated cells and (2) there was an increase in the specificity for interneuronal differentiation in encapsulated cells, as assessed by mRNA expression and electrophysiology approaches. Furthermore, our results indicate that most of the neurons obtained from encapsulated mouse ES cells are GABA-positive (∼87%). Thus, these results suggest that combining encapsulation of ES cells and RA treatment provide a more efficient and scalable differentiation strategy for the generation in culture of functional GABAergic interneurons. This technology may have implications for future cell replacement therapies and the treatment of CNS disorders. PMID: 22466603 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Modeling psychiatric disorders at the cellular and network levels. Mol Psychiatry. 2012 Dec;17(12):1239-53 Authors: Brennand KJ, Simone A, Tran N, Gage FH Abstract Although psychiatric disorders such as autism spectrum disorders, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder affect a number of brain regions and produce a complex array of clinical symptoms, basic phenotypes likely exist at the level of single neurons and simple networks. Being highly heritable, it is hypothesized that these disorders are amenable to cell-based studies in vitro. Using induced pluripotent stem cell-derived neurons and/or induced neurons from fibroblasts, limitless numbers of live human neurons can now be generated from patients with a genetic background permissive to the disease state. We predict that cell-based studies will ultimately contribute to our understanding of the initiation, progression and treatment of these psychiatric disorders. PMID: 22472874 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Autism spectrum disorders: is mesenchymal stem cell personalized therapy the future? J Biomed Biotechnol. 2012;2012:480289 Authors: Siniscalco D, Sapone A, Cirillo A, Giordano C, Maione S, Antonucci N Abstract Autism and autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are heterogeneous neurodevelopmental disorders. They are enigmatic conditions that have their origins in the interaction of genes and environmental factors. ASDs are characterized by dysfunctions in social interaction and communication skills, in addition to repetitive and stereotypic verbal and nonverbal behaviours. Immune dysfunction has been confirmed with autistic children. There are no defined mechanisms of pathogenesis or curative therapy presently available. Indeed, ASDs are still untreatable. Available treatments for autism can be divided into behavioural, nutritional, and medical approaches, although no defined standard approach exists. Nowadays, stem cell therapy represents the great promise for the future of molecular medicine. Among the stem cell population, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) show probably best potential good results in medical research. Due to the particular immune and neural dysregulation observed in ASDs, mesenchymal stem cell transplantation could offer a unique tool to provide better resolution for this disease. PMID: 22496609 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles China's stem-cell rules go unheeded. Nature. 2012 Apr 12;484(7393):149-50 Authors: Cyranoski D PMID: 22498601 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Administration of autologous bone marrow-derived mononuclear cells in children with incurable neurological disorders and injury is safe and improves their quality of life. Cell Transplant. 2012;21 Suppl 1:S79-90 Authors: Sharma A, Gokulchandran N, Chopra G, Kulkarni P, Lohia M, Badhe P, Jacob VC Abstract Neurological disorders such as muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, and injury to the brain and spine currently have no known definitive treatments or cures. A study was carried out on 71 children suffering from such incurable neurological disorders and injury. They were intrathecally and intramuscularly administered autologous bone marrow-derived mononuclear cells. Assessment after transplantation showed neurological improvements in muscle power and a shift on assessment scales such as FIM and Brooke and Vignos scale. Further, imaging and electrophysiological studies also showed significant changes in selective cases. On an average follow-up of 15 ± 1 months, overall 97% muscular dystrophy cases showed subjective and functional improvement, with 2 of them also showing changes on MRI and 3 on EMG. One hundred percent of the spinal cord injury cases showed improvement with respect to muscle strength, urine control, spasticity, etc. Eighty-five percent of cases of cerebral palsy cases showed improvements, out of which 75% reported improvement in muscle tone and 50% in speech among other symptoms. Eighty-eight percent of cases of other incurable neurological disorders such as autism, Retts Syndrome, giant axonal neuropathy, etc., also showed improvement. No significant adverse events were noted. The results show that this treatment is safe, efficacious, and also improves the quality of life of children with incurable neurological disorders and injury. PMID: 22507683 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Signaling defects in iPSC-derived fragile X premutation neurons. Hum Mol Genet. 2012 Sep 1;21(17):3795-805 Authors: Liu J, Koscielska KA, Cao Z, Hulsizer S, Grace N, Mitchell G, Nacey C, Githinji J, McGee J, Garcia-Arocena D, Hagerman RJ, Nolta J, Pessah IN, Hagerman PJ Abstract Fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS) is a leading monogenic neurodegenerative disorder affecting premutation carriers of the fragile X (FMR1) gene. To investigate the underlying cellular neuropathology, we produced induced pluripotent stem cell-derived neurons from isogenic subclones of primary fibroblasts of a female premutation carrier, with each subclone bearing exclusively either the normal or the expanded (premutation) form of the FMR1 gene as the active allele. We show that neurons harboring the stably-active, expanded allele (EX-Xa) have reduced postsynaptic density protein 95 protein expression, reduced synaptic puncta density and reduced neurite length. Importantly, such neurons are also functionally abnormal, with calcium transients of higher amplitude and increased frequency than for neurons harboring the normal-active allele. Moreover, a sustained calcium elevation was found in the EX-Xa neurons after glutamate application. By excluding the individual genetic background variation, we have demonstrated neuronal phenotypes directly linked to the FMR1 premutation. Our approach represents a unique isogenic, X-chromosomal epigenetic model to aid the development of targeted therapeutics for FXTAS, and more broadly as a model for the study of common neurodevelopmental (e.g. autism) and neurodegenerative (e.g. Parkinsonism, dementias) disorders. PMID: 22641815 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Modeling neurodevelopmental disorders using human neurons. Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2012 Oct;22(5):785-90 Authors: Chailangkarn T, Acab A, Muotri AR Abstract The cellular and molecular mechanisms of neurodevelopmental conditions such as autism spectrum disorders have been studied intensively for decades. The unavailability of live patient neurons for research, however, has represented a major obstacle in the elucidation of the disease etiologies. Recently, the development of induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology allows for the generation of human neurons from somatic cells of patients. We review ongoing studies using iPSCs as an approach to model neurodevelopmental disorders, the promise and caveats of this technique and its potential for drug screening. The reproducible findings of relevant phenotypes in Rett syndrome iPSC-derived neurons suggest that iPSC technology offers a novel and unique opportunity for the understanding of and the development of therapeutics for other autism spectrum disorders. PMID: 22717528 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Cellular reprogramming: a novel tool for investigating autism spectrum disorders. Trends Mol Med. 2012 Aug;18(8):463-71 Authors: Kim KY, Jung YW, Sullivan GJ, Chung L, Park IH Abstract Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impairment in reciprocal social interaction and communication, as well as the manifestation of stereotyped behaviors. Despite much effort, ASDs are not yet fully understood. Advanced genetics and genomics technologies have recently identified novel ASD genes, and approaches using genetically engineered murine models or postmortem human brain have facilitated understanding ASD. Reprogramming somatic cells into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) provides unprecedented opportunities in generating human disease models. Here, we present an overview of applying iPSCs in developing cellular models for understanding ASD. We also discuss future perspectives in the use of iPSCs as a source of cell therapy and as a screening platform for identifying small molecules with efficacy for alleviating ASD. PMID: 22771169 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles [Autism, stem cells, and magical powder]. Rev Med Suisse. 2012 Sep 19;8(354):1795 Authors: Mauron A PMID: 23097920 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Intranasal treatment of central nervous system dysfunction in humans. Pharm Res. 2013 Oct;30(10):2475-84 Authors: Chapman CD, Frey WH, Craft S, Danielyan L, Hallschmid M, Schiöth HB, Benedict C Abstract One of the most challenging problems facing modern medicine is how to deliver a given drug to a specific target at the exclusion of other regions. For example, a variety of compounds have beneficial effects within the central nervous system (CNS), but unwanted side effects in the periphery. For such compounds, traditional oral or intravenous drug delivery fails to provide benefit without cost. However, intranasal delivery is emerging as a noninvasive option for delivering drugs to the CNS with minimal peripheral exposure. Additionally, this method facilitates the delivery of large and/or charged therapeutics, which fail to effectively cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB). Thus, for a variety of growth factors, hormones, neuropeptides and therapeutics including insulin, oxytocin, orexin, and even stem cells, intranasal delivery is emerging as an efficient method of administration, and represents a promising therapeutic strategy for the treatment of diseases with CNS involvement, such as obesity, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, depression, anxiety, autism spectrum disorders, seizures, drug addiction, eating disorders, and stroke. PMID: 23135822 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Behavioural and EEG effects of chronic rapamycin treatment in a mouse model of tuberous sclerosis complex. Neuropharmacology. 2013 Apr;67:1-7 Authors: Cambiaghi M, Cursi M, Magri L, Castoldi V, Comi G, Minicucci F, Galli R, Leocani L Abstract Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC) is a multisystem genetic disorder caused by mutation in either Tsc1 or Tsc2 genes that leads to the hyper activation of the mTOR pathway, a key signalling pathway for synaptic plasticity. TSC is characterized by benign tumors arising in different organs and severe neuropsychiatric symptoms, such as epilepsy, intellectual disability, autism, anxiety and depressive behaviour. Rapamycin is a potent inhibitor of mTOR and its efficacy in treating epilepsy and neurological symptoms remains elusive. In a mouse model in which Tsc1 has been deleted in embryonic telencephalic neural stem cells, we analyzed anxiety- and depression-like behaviour by elevated-plus maze (EPM), open-field test (OFT), forced-swim test (FST) and tail-suspension test (TST), after chronic administration of rapamycin. In addition, spectral analysis of background EEG was performed. Rapamycin-treated mutant mice displayed a reduction in anxiety- and depression-like phenotype, as shown by the EPM/OFT and FST, respectively. These results were inline with EEG power spectra outcomes. The same effects of rapamycin were observed in wild-type mice. Notably, in heterozygous animals we did not observe any EEG and/or behavioural variation after rapamycin treatment. Together these results suggest that both TSC1 deletion and chronic rapamycin treatment might have a role in modulating behaviour and brain activity, and point out to the potential usefulness of background EEG analysis in tracking brain dysfunction in parallel with behavioural testing. PMID: 23159330 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Modeling Timothy syndrome with iPS cells. J Cardiovasc Transl Res. 2013 Feb;6(1):1-9 Authors: Yazawa M, Dolmetsch RE Abstract Genetic mutations in ion channel genes that are associated with cardiac arrhythmias have been identified over the past several decades. However, little is known about the pathophysiological processes. An important limitation has been the difficulty of using human cardiomyocytes to study arrhythmias and identify drugs. To circumvent this issue, we have developed a method using human-induced pluripotent stem cells to generate cardiomyocytes from individuals with Timothy syndrome (TS), a genetic disorder characterized by QT prolongation, ventricular tachycardia, and autism. The TS ventricular-like cardiomyocytes exhibit deficits in contraction, electrical signaling, and calcium handling, as revealed by live cell imaging and electrophysiological studies. We tested candidate drugs in TS cardiomyocytes and found that roscovitine could successfully rescue these cellular phenotypes. The use of a human cellular model of cardiac arrhythmias provides a useful new platform not only to study disease mechanisms but also to develop new therapies to treat cardiac arrhythmias. PMID: 23299782 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Meeting report: using stem cells for biological and therapeutics discovery in mental illness, April 2012. Stem Cells Transl Med. 2013 Mar;2(3):217-22 Authors: Panchision DM Abstract This report synthesizes the discussions during a workshop convened April 24-25, 2012, by the National Institute of Mental Health and the Foundation for the NIH in Bethesda, Maryland, that focused on progress and challenges in the use of patient-derived reprogrammed cells for basic biological discovery, target identification, screening, and drug development for mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and autism spectrum disorders. The workshop revealed that the greatest progress has been made in reprogramming methods and agreed-upon standards for validating the resulting induced pluripotent stem cell lines. However, challenges remain in several areas, including efficiently generating and validating specific neural cell types with respect to regional identity, establishing assays with predictive validity to mental illness pathophysiology, and generating sufficient statistical power and data reproducibility across laboratories. A brainstorming session yielded a number of suggestions, including calls to (a) facilitate the replication of results by standardizing protocols and samples used across laboratories; (b) improve technology by generating cheaper/faster targeting methods, reporters, and assays; and (c) improve resource sharing and collaboration, with an emphasis on rapid sharing of new cell lines, technologies, and best practices, possibly incorporated into a public-private partnership. The meeting provided an important venue for academic, government, and private sector scientists to address potential opportunities for translational and clinical applications of reprogrammed cell research. A number of activities since the workshop have reflected the feedback from meeting participants. PMID: 23408104 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Cortical interneurons from human pluripotent stem cells: prospects for neurological and psychiatric disease. Front Cell Neurosci. 2013;7:10 Authors: Arber C, Li M Abstract Cortical interneurons represent 20% of the cells in the cortex. These cells are local inhibitory neurons whose function is to modulate the firing activities of the excitatory projection neurons. Cortical interneuron dysfunction is believed to lead to runaway excitation underlying (or implicated in) seizure-based diseases, such as epilepsy, autism, and schizophrenia. The complex development of this cell type and the intricacies involved in defining the relative subtypes are being increasingly well defined. This has led to exciting experimental cell therapy in model organisms, whereby fetal-derived interneuron precursors can reverse seizure severity and reduce mortality in adult epileptic rodents. These proof-of-principle studies raise hope for potential interneuron-based transplantation therapies for treating epilepsy. On the other hand, cortical neurons generated from patient iPSCs serve as a valuable tool to explore genetic influences of interneuron development and function. This is a fundamental step in enhancing our understanding of the molecular basis of neuropsychiatric illnesses and the development of targeted treatments. Protocols are currently being developed for inducing cortical interneuron subtypes from mouse and human pluripotent stem cells. This review sets out to summarize the progress made in cortical interneuron development, fetal tissue transplantation and the recent advance in stem cell differentiation toward interneurons. PMID: 23493959 [PubMed]
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Related Articles Bioengineered stem cells in neural development and neurodegeneration research. Ageing Res Rev. 2013 Jun;12(3):739-48 Authors: Yuan SH, Shaner M Abstract The recent discovery of a simple method for making induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) from human somatic cells was a major scientific advancement that opened the way for many promising new developments in the study of developmental and degenerative diseases. iPSC have already been used to model many different types of neurological diseases, including autism, schizophrenia, Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. Because of their pluripotent property, iPSC offer the possibility of modeling human development in vitro. Their differentiation seems to follow the developmental timeline and obeys environmental cues. Clinically relevant phenotypes of neurodegenerative pathologies have also been observed using iPSC derived human neuronal cultures. Options for treatment are still some way off. Although some early research in mouse models has been encouraging, major obstacles remain for neural stem cell (NSC) transplantation therapy. However, iPSC now offer the prospect of an unlimited amount of human neurons or astrocytes for drug testing. The aim of this review is to summarize the recent progress in modeling neural development and neurological diseases using iPSC and to describe their applications for aging research and personalized medicine. PMID: 23651546 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Timing of mTOR activation affects tuberous sclerosis complex neuropathology in mouse models. Dis Model Mech. 2013 Sep;6(5):1185-97 Authors: Magri L, Cominelli M, Cambiaghi M, Cursi M, Leocani L, Minicucci F, Poliani PL, Galli R Abstract Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is a dominantly inherited disease with high penetrance and morbidity, and is caused by mutations in either of two genes, TSC1 or TSC2. Most affected individuals display severe neurological manifestations - such as intractable epilepsy, mental retardation and autism - that are intimately associated with peculiar CNS lesions known as cortical tubers (CTs). The existence of a significant genotype-phenotype correlation in individuals bearing mutations in either TSC1 or TSC2 is highly controversial. Similar to observations in humans, mouse modeling has suggested that a more severe phenotype is associated with mutation in Tsc2 rather than in Tsc1. However, in these mutant mice, deletion of either gene was achieved in differentiated astrocytes. Here, we report that loss of Tsc1 expression in undifferentiated radial glia cells (RGCs) early during development yields the same phenotype detected upon deletion of Tsc2 in the same cells. Indeed, the same aberrations in cortical cytoarchitecture, hippocampal disturbances and spontaneous epilepsy that have been detected in RGC-targeted Tsc2 mutants were observed in RGC-targeted Tsc1 mutant mice. Remarkably, thorough characterization of RGC-targeted Tsc1 mutants also highlighted subventricular zone (SVZ) disturbances as well as STAT3-dependent and -independent developmental-stage-specific defects in the differentiation potential of ex-vivo-derived embryonic and postnatal neural stem cells (NSCs). As such, deletion of either Tsc1 or Tsc2 induces mostly overlapping phenotypic neuropathological features when performed early during neurogenesis, thus suggesting that the timing of mTOR activation is a key event in proper neural development. PMID: 23744272 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Focal malformations of cortical development: new vistas for molecular pathogenesis. Neuroscience. 2013 Nov 12;252:262-76 Authors: Lim KC, Crino PB Abstract Focal malformations of cortical development (FMCD) are highly associated with several neurological disorders including intractable epilepsy and neurocognitive disabilities. Over the past decade, several FMCD subtypes have been linked to hyperactivation of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling cascade. In view of the roles that mTOR plays in cell proliferation, size, motility, and stem cell phenotype, many of the features of FMCD such as cytomegaly, disorganized lamination, and expression of stem cell markers can be explained by enhanced mTOR signaling. FMCD result from several distinct and fascinating molecular mechanisms including biallelic gene inactivation, somatic mutation, and potentially, viral infection. These mechanisms have been directly linked to mTOR activation. Perhaps most compelling, pharmacological inhibition of mTOR has been implemented successfully in clinical trials for select FMCD and provides a new vista for treatment. PMID: 23892008 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Differentiation from human pluripotent stem cells of cortical neurons of the superficial layers amenable to psychiatric disease modeling and high-throughput drug screening. Transl Psychiatry. 2013;3:e294 Authors: Boissart C, Poulet A, Georges P, Darville H, Julita E, Delorme R, Bourgeron T, Peschanski M, Benchoua A Abstract Cortical neurons of the superficial layers (II-IV) represent a pivotal neuronal population involved in the higher cognitive functions of the human and are particularly affected by psychiatric diseases with developmental manifestations such as schizophrenia and autism. Differentiation protocols of human pluripotent stem cells (PSC) into cortical neurons have been achieved, opening the way to in vitro modeling of neuropsychiatric diseases. However, these protocols commonly result in the asynchronous production of neurons typical for the different layers of the cortex within an extended period of culture, thus precluding the analysis of specific subtypes of neurons in a standardized manner. Addressing this issue, we have successfully captured a stable population of self-renewing late cortical progenitors (LCPs) that synchronously and massively differentiate into glutamatergic cortical neurons of the upper layers. The short time course of differentiation into neurons of these progenitors has made them amenable to high-throughput assays. This has allowed us to analyze the capability of LCPs at differentiating into post mitotic neurons as well as extending and branching neurites in response to a collection of selected bioactive molecules. LCPs and cortical neurons of the upper layers were successfully produced from patient-derived-induced PSC, indicating that this system enables functional studies of individual-specific cortical neurons ex vivo for disease modeling and therapeutic purposes. PMID: 23962924 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Transplantation of human cord blood mononuclear cells and umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cells in autism. J Transl Med. 2013;11:196 Authors: Lv YT, Zhang Y, Liu M, Qiuwaxi JN, Ashwood P, Cho SC, Huan Y, Ge RC, Chen XW, Wang ZJ, Kim BJ, Hu X Abstract BACKGROUND: Autism is a pervasive neurodevelopmental disorder. At present there are no defined mechanisms of pathogenesis and therapy is mostly limited to behavioral interventions. Stem cell transplantation may offer a unique treatment strategy for autism due to immune and neural dysregulation observed in this disease. This non-randomized, open-label, single center phase I/II trial investigated the safety and efficacy of combined transplantation of human cord blood mononuclear cells (CBMNCs) and umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cells (UCMSCs) in treating children with autism. METHODS: 37 subjects diagnosed with autism were enrolled into this study and divided into three groups: CBMNC group (14 subjects, received CBMNC transplantation and rehabilitation therapy), Combination group (9 subjects, received both CBMNC and UCMSC transplantation and rehabilitation therapy), and Control group (14 subjects, received only rehabilitation therapy). Transplantations included four stem cell infusions through intravenous and intrathecal injections once a week. Treatment safety was evaluated with laboratory examinations and clinical assessment of adverse effects. The Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS), Clinical Global Impression (CGI) scale and Aberrant Behavior Checklist (ABC) were adopted to assess the therapeutic efficacy at baseline (pre-treatment) and following treatment. RESULTS: There were no significant safety issues related to the treatment and no observed severe adverse effects. Statistically significant differences were shown on CARS, ABC scores and CGI evaluation in the two treatment groups compared to the control at 24 weeks post-treatment (p < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Transplantation of CBMNCs demonstrated efficacy compared to the control group; however, the combination of CBMNCs and UCMSCs showed larger therapeutic effects than the CBMNC transplantation alone. There were no safety issues noted during infusion and the whole monitoring period. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT01343511, Title "Safety and Efficacy of Stem Cell Therapy in Patients with Autism". PMID: 23978163 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Autologous bone marrow mononuclear cell therapy for autism: an open label proof of concept study. Stem Cells Int. 2013;2013:623875 Authors: Sharma A, Gokulchandran N, Sane H, Nagrajan A, Paranjape A, Kulkarni P, Shetty A, Mishra P, Kali M, Biju H, Badhe P Abstract Cellular therapy is an emerging therapeutic modality with a great potential for the treatment of autism. Recent findings show that the major underlying pathogenetic mechanisms of autism are hypoperfusion and immune alterations in the brain. So conceptually, cellular therapy which facilitates counteractive processes of improving perfusion by angiogenesis and balancing inflammation by immune regulation would exhibit beneficial clinical effects in patients with autism. This is an open label proof of concept study of autologous bone marrow mononuclear cells (BMMNCs) intrathecal transplantation in 32 patients with autism followed by multidisciplinary therapies. All patients were followed up for 26 months (mean 12.7). Outcome measures used were ISAA, CGI, and FIM/Wee-FIM scales. Positron Emission Tomography-Computed Tomography (PET-CT) scan recorded objective changes. Out of 32 patients, a total of 29 (91%) patients improved on total ISAA scores and 20 patients (62%) showed decreased severity on CGI-I. The difference between pre- and postscores was statistically significant (P < 0.001) on Wilcoxon matched-pairs signed rank test. On CGI-II 96% of patients showed global improvement. The efficacy was measured on CGI-III efficacy index. Few adverse events including seizures in three patients were controlled with medications. The encouraging results of this leading clinical study provide future directions for application of cellular therapy in autism. PMID: 24062774 [PubMed]
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Related Articles Drug discovery for autism spectrum disorder: challenges and opportunities. Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2013 Oct;12(10):777-90 Authors: Ghosh A, Michalon A, Lindemann L, Fontoura P, Santarelli L Abstract The rising rates of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and the lack of effective medications to treat its core symptoms have led to an increased sense of urgency to identify therapies for this group of neurodevelopmental conditions. Developing drugs for ASD, however, has been challenging because of a limited understanding of its pathophysiology, difficulties in modelling the disease in vitro and in vivo, the heterogeneity of symptoms, and the dearth of prior experience in clinical development. In the past few years these challenges have been mitigated by considerable advances in our understanding of forms of ASD caused by single-gene alterations, such as fragile X syndrome and tuberous sclerosis. In these cases we have gained insights into the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying these conditions. In addition, they have aided in the development of animal models and compounds with the potential for disease modification in clinical development. Moreover, genetic studies are illuminating the molecular pathophysiology of ASD, and new tools such as induced pluripotent stem cells offer novel possibilities for drug screening and disease diagnostics. Finally, large-scale collaborations between academia and industry are starting to address some of the key barriers to developing drugs for ASD. Here, we propose a conceptual framework for drug discovery in ASD encompassing target identification, drug profiling and considerations for clinical trials in this novel area. PMID: 24080699 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles [Transplantation of human neural precursor cells in the treatment of children with pervasive developmental disorder]. Zhongguo Dang Dai Er Ke Za Zhi. 2013 Oct;15(10):860-5 Authors: Liu WP, Wang J, Qu SQ, DU K, Yang H, Yang YX, Wang ZY, Luan Z Abstract OBJECTIVE: To assess the efficiency and safety of human neural progenitor cells (hNPCs) transplantation in the treatment of pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) in children. METHODS: Twenty-two children with PDD were treated, including 13 children with Rett syndrome and 9 children with autism. They accepted hNPCs transplantation voluntarily. hNPCs derived from aborted fetal tissue were injected into the lateral ventricle of the patients under supersonic guidance. All patients were assessed according to the Autism Behavior Checklist before operation, at one and six months post operation, and one year later. RESULTS: No delayed complications resulting from this therapy were observed. The clinical symptoms of 17 patients, including 8 patients with autism and 9 patients with Rett syndrome, improved in varying degrees. The assessment results of the Autism Behavior Checklist for children with autism showed that compared with pre-operative function, social communication scores were significantly reduced at six months after transplantation, and total scores and social communication and language scores were also significantly reduced 1 year after transplantation (P<0.05). CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that hNPCs transplantation is effective and safe for treatment of PPD in children. It deserves a further study. PMID: 24131839 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles SHANK3 and IGF1 restore synaptic deficits in neurons from 22q13 deletion syndrome patients. Nature. 2013 Nov 14;503(7475):267-71 Authors: Shcheglovitov A, Shcheglovitova O, Yazawa M, Portmann T, Shu R, Sebastiano V, Krawisz A, Froehlich W, Bernstein JA, Hallmayer JF, Dolmetsch RE Abstract Phelan-McDermid syndrome (PMDS) is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by global developmental delay, severely impaired speech, intellectual disability, and an increased risk of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). PMDS is caused by heterozygous deletions of chromosome 22q13.3. Among the genes in the deleted region is SHANK3, which encodes a protein in the postsynaptic density (PSD). Rare mutations in SHANK3 have been associated with idiopathic ASDs, non-syndromic intellectual disability, and schizophrenia. Although SHANK3 is considered to be the most likely candidate gene for the neurological abnormalities in PMDS patients, the cellular and molecular phenotypes associated with this syndrome in human neurons are unknown. We generated induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells from individuals with PMDS and autism and used them to produce functional neurons. We show that PMDS neurons have reduced SHANK3 expression and major defects in excitatory, but not inhibitory, synaptic transmission. Excitatory synaptic transmission in PMDS neurons can be corrected by restoring SHANK3 expression or by treating neurons with insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1). IGF1 treatment promotes formation of mature excitatory synapses that lack SHANK3 but contain PSD95 and N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors with fast deactivation kinetics. Our findings provide direct evidence for a disruption in the ratio of cellular excitation and inhibition in PMDS neurons, and point to a molecular pathway that can be recruited to restore it. PMID: 24132240 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Help for the child with autism. Sci Am. 2013 Oct;309(4):72-7 Authors: Lange N, McDougle C PMID: 24137859 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Effect of the environmental pollutant hexachlorobenzene (HCB) on the neuronal differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2013 Oct;10(10):5244-56 Authors: Addae C, Cheng H, Martinez-Ceballos E Abstract Exposure to persistent environmental pollutants may constitute an important factor on the onset of a number of neurological disorders such as autism, Parkinson's disease, and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), which have also been linked to reduced GABAergic neuronal function. GABAergic neurons produce γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is the main inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain. However, the lack of appropriate models has hindered the study of suspected environmental pollutants on GABAergic function. In this work, we have examined the effect of hexachlorobenzene (HCB), a persistent and bioaccumulative environmental pollutant, on the function and morphology of GABAergic neurons generated in vitro from mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells. We observed that: (1) treatment with 0.5 nM HCB did not affect cell viability, but affected the neuronal differentiation of ES cells; (2) HCB induced the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS); and (3) HCB repressed neurite outgrowth in GABAergic neurons, but this effect was reversed by the ROS scavenger N-acetylcysteine (NAC). Our study also revealed that HCB did not significantly interfere with the function of K+ ion channels in the neuronal soma, which indicates that this pollutant does not affect the maturation of the GABAergic neuronal soma. Our results suggest a mechanism by which environmental pollutants interfere with normal GABAergic neuronal function and may promote the onset of a number of neurological disorders such as autism and ADD. PMID: 24157519 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Perspectives on the use of stem cells for autism treatment. Stem Cells Int. 2013;2013:262438 Authors: Siniscalco D, Bradstreet JJ, Sych N, Antonucci N Abstract Autism and autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are complex neurodevelopmental disorders. ASDs are clinically defined by deficits in communication, social skills, and repetitive and/or restrictive interests and behaviours. With the prevalence rates for ASDs rapidly increasing, the need for effective therapies for autism is a priority for biomedical research. Currently available medications do not target the core symptoms, can have markedly adverse side-effects, and are mainly palliative for negative behaviours. The development of molecular and regenerative interventions is progressing rapidly, and medicine holds great expectations for stem cell therapies. Cells could be designed to target the observed molecular mechanisms of ASDs, that is, abnormal neurotransmitter regulation, activated microglia, mitochondrial dysfunction, blood-brain barrier disruptions, and chronic intestinal inflammation. Presently, the paracrine, secretome, and immunomodulatory effects of stem cells would appear to be the likely mechanisms of application for ASD therapeutics. This review will focus on the potential use of the various types of stem cells: embryonic, induced pluripotential, fetal, and adult stem cells as targets for ASD therapeutics. PMID: 24222772 [PubMed]
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Related Articles Etomidate with or without flumazenil anesthesia for stem cell transplantation in autistic children. Drug Metabol Drug Interact. 2014;29(1):47-51 Authors: Li YW, Ma L, Sui B, Cao CH, Liu XD Abstract BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to investigate etomidate administration with or without flumazenil in autistic children who underwent intrathecal transplantation of stem cells by lumbar puncture. METHODS: Forty autistic children aged 2-12, who were scheduled for stem cell transplantation via lumbar puncture under anesthesia, were randomized for a double-blind study. The children were randomly assigned to two groups: the flumazenil group (group F, n=20) and the etomidate group (group E, n=20). All children received 0.2 mg/kg of etomidate. In the case of inadequate anesthesia, patients received repeated doses of 0.1 mg/kg of etomidate until reaching deep sedation. After operation, children in group F were given flumazenil (0.01 mg/kg) and children in group E received placebo. Heart rate (HR), mean arterial pressure, oxygen saturation, respiratory rate, the Ramsay sedation score (RSS), and recovery time of all children were continuously monitored and recorded during the entire procedure. RESULTS: After anesthesia, blood pressure and HR measurements were not significantly changed in both groups compared with the baseline. There were no respiratory depression, bradycardia, hypotension, nausea, and vomiting. Five patients complained of pain on the site of injection. Myoclonus occurred in seven patients. Recovery time in group F was significantly shorter than in group E (p<0.001), and after the injection of flumazenil, RSS in group F significantly decreased than in group E. There were no significant differences in operation time. Physician satisfaction in both groups was similar. CONCLUSIONS: Etomidate resulted in stable hemodynamic responses and relatively less adverse effects, and flumazenil antagonized the anesthetic effect of etomidate; thus, etomidate with flumazenil is suitable for performing stem cell transplantation in autistic children. PMID: 24225126 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Decitabine alters the expression of Mecp2 isoforms via dynamic DNA methylation at the Mecp2 regulatory elements in neural stem cells. Mol Autism. 2013;4(1):46 Authors: Liyanage VR, Zachariah RM, Rastegar M Abstract BACKGROUND: Aberrant MeCP2 expression in brain is associated with neurodevelopmental disorders including autism. In the brain of stressed mouse and autistic human patients, reduced MeCP2 expression is correlated with Mecp2/MECP2 promoter hypermethylation. Altered expression of MeCP2 isoforms (MeCP2E1 and MeCP2E2) is associated with neurological disorders, highlighting the importance of proper regulation of both isoforms. While known regulatory elements (REs) within the MECP2/Mecp2 promoter and intron 1 are involved in MECP2/Mecp2 regulation, Mecp2 isoform-specific regulatory mechanisms are unknown. We hypothesized that DNA methylation at these REs may impact the expression of Mecp2 isoforms. METHODS: We used a previously characterized in vitro differentiating neural stem cell (NSC) system to investigate the interplay between Mecp2 isoform-specific expression and DNA methylation at the Mecp2 REs. We studied altered expression of Mecp2 isoforms, affected by global DNA demethylation and remethylation, induced by exposure and withdrawal of decitabine (5-Aza-2'-deoxycytidine). Further, we performed correlation analysis between DNA methylation at the Mecp2 REs and the expression of Mecp2 isoforms after decitabine exposure and withdrawal. RESULTS: At different stages of NSC differentiation, Mecp2 isoforms showed reciprocal expression patterns associated with minor, but significant changes in DNA methylation at the Mecp2 REs. Decitabine treatment induced Mecp2e1/MeCP2E1 (but not Mecp2e2) expression at day (D) 2, associated with DNA demethylation at the Mecp2 REs. In contrast, decitabine withdrawal downregulated both Mecp2 isoforms to different extents at D8, without affecting DNA methylation at the Mecp2 REs. NSC cell fate commitment was minimally affected by decitabine under tested conditions. Expression of both isoforms negatively correlated with methylation at specific regions of the Mecp2 promoter, both at D2 and D8. The correlation between intron 1 methylation and Mecp2e1 (but not Mecp2e2) varied depending on the stage of NSC differentiation (D2: negative; D8: positive). CONCLUSIONS: Our results show the correlation between the expression of Mecp2 isoforms and DNA methylation in differentiating NSC, providing insights on the potential role of DNA methylation at the Mecp2 REs in Mecp2 isoform-specific expression. The ability of decitabine to induce Mecp2e1/MeCP2E1, but not Mecp2e2 suggests differential sensitivity of Mecp2 isoforms to decitabine and is important for future drug therapies for autism. PMID: 24238559 [PubMed]
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Related Articles Modeling human neurological disorders with induced pluripotent stem cells. J Neurochem. 2014 May;129(3):388-99 Authors: Imaizumi Y, Okano H Abstract Human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells obtained by reprogramming technology are a source of great hope, not only in terms of applications in regenerative medicine, such as cell transplantation therapy, but also for modeling human diseases and new drug development. In particular, the production of iPS cells from the somatic cells of patients with intractable diseases and their subsequent differentiation into cells at affected sites (e.g., neurons, cardiomyocytes, hepatocytes, and myocytes) has permitted the in vitro construction of disease models that contain patient-specific genetic information. For example, disease-specific iPS cells have been established from patients with neuropsychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia and autism, as well as from those with neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease. A multi-omics analysis of neural cells originating from patient-derived iPS cells may thus enable investigators to elucidate the pathogenic mechanisms of neurological diseases that have heretofore been unknown. In addition, large-scale screening of chemical libraries with disease-specific iPS cells is currently underway and is expected to lead to new drug discovery. Accordingly, this review outlines the progress made via the use of patient-derived iPS cells toward the modeling of neurological disorders, the testing of existing drugs, and the discovery of new drugs. The production of human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells from the patients' somatic cells and their subsequent differentiation into specific cells have permitted the in vitro construction of disease models that contain patient-specific genetic information. Furthermore, innovations of gene-editing technologies on iPS cells are enabling new approaches for illuminating the pathogenic mechanisms of human diseases. In this review article, we outlined the current status of neurological diseases-specific iPS cell research and described recently obtained knowledge in the form of actual examples. PMID: 24286589 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Astrocyte form and function in the developing central nervous system. Semin Pediatr Neurol. 2013 Dec;20(4):230-5 Authors: Chaboub LS, Deneen B Abstract Astrocytes have long been forgotten entities in our quest to understand brain function. Over the last few decades, there has been an exponential increase in our knowledge of central nervous system (CNS) function, and, consequently, astrocytes have emerged as key figures in CNS physiology and disease. Indeed, several pediatric neurologic disorders have recently been linked to astrocyte dysregulation, including leukodystrophies, autism spectrum disorders, and epilepsy. Given that pediatric disorders are rooted in developmental processes, the goal of this review is to catalog what we know about astrocyte development and function in the developing CNS. Moreover, we highlight current challenges and questions that remain in the field about astrocyte development. Our hope is that this review illuminates the potential of astrocytes and their associated developmental and physiological functions as potential therapeutic targets for the treatment of neurologic disorders. PMID: 24365570 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Related Articles Glutamate-Mediated Signaling and Autism Spectrum Disorders: Emerging Treatment Targets. Curr Pharm Des. 2014 Jan 10; Authors: Yang P, Chang CL Abstract Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are developmental disorders which are characterized by deficits in reciprocal social interactions and communication, as well as the presence of impairing repetitive behaviors and restricted interests. Prior work examining human pathology, model systems and genetic studies have led to the current conceptualization of ASD as disorder of synaptic formation and functioning (a "synapsopathy"). In this regard, glutamate, the major excitatory neurotransmitter in central nervous system synaptic transmission with roles in learning, memory and synaptic plasticity, is hypothesized to play an important role in the pathophysiology of ASD. Molecules targeting glutamate signaling have been suggested to possess therapeutic potential for ASD treatment. This review focuses on the role of glutamate receptors structure and function, describes synaptic cell-adhesion molecule pathways related to glutamate and/or ASD, introduces a rare disease approach in the novel drug development of ASD treatment, and report glutamate-related clinical trials. We will also present the promising techniques of human-induced pluripotent stem cells, which may afford researchers the ability to study the relationships between clinical phenotype, cellular responses and glutamate involvement in ASD. PMID: 24410563 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
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Related Articles Prostaglandin E2 alters Wnt-dependent migration and proliferation in neuroectodermal stem cells: implications for autism spectrum disorders. Cell Commun Signal. 2014;12:19 Authors: Wong CT, Ahmad E, Li H, Crawford DA Abstract Prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) is a natural lipid-derived molecule that is involved in important physiological functions. Abnormal PGE2 signalling has been associated with pathologies of the nervous system. Previous studies provide evidence for the interaction of PGE2 and canonical Wnt signalling pathways in non-neuronal cells. Since the Wnt pathway is crucial in the development and organization of the brain, the main goal of this study is to determine whether collaboration between these pathways exists in neuronal cell types. We report that PGE2 interacts with canonical Wnt signalling through PKA and PI-3K in neuroectodermal (NE-4C) stem cells. We used time-lapse microscopy to determine that PGE2 increases the final distance from origin, path length travelled, and the average speed of migration in Wnt-activated cells. Furthermore, PGE2 alters distinct cellular phenotypes that are characteristic of Wnt-induced NE-4C cells, which corresponds to the modified splitting behaviour of the cells. We also found that in Wnt-induced cells the level of β-catenin protein was increased and the expression levels of Wnt-target genes (Ctnnb1, Ptgs2, Ccnd1, Mmp9) was significantly upregulated in response to PGE2 treatment. This confirms that PGE2 activated the canonical Wnt signalling pathway. Furthermore, the upregulated genes have been previously associated with ASD. Our findings show, for the first time, evidence for cross-talk between PGE2 and Wnt signalling in neuronal cells, where PKA and PI-3K might act as mediators between the two pathways. Given the importance of PGE2 and Wnt signalling in prenatal development of the nervous system, our study provides insight into how interaction between these two pathways may influence neurodevelopment. PMID: 24656144 [PubMed - in process]
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Related Articles Progress of mesenchymal stem cell therapy for neural and retinal diseases. World J Stem Cells. 2014 Apr 26;6(2):111-9 Authors: Ng TK, Fortino VR, Pelaez D, Cheung HS Abstract Complex circuitry and limited regenerative power make central nervous system (CNS) disorders the most challenging and difficult for functional repair. With elusive disease mechanisms, traditional surgical and medical interventions merely slow down the progression of the neurodegenerative diseases. However, the number of neurons still diminishes in many patients. Recently, stem cell therapy has been proposed as a viable option. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), a widely-studied human adult stem cell population, have been discovered for more than 20 years. MSCs have been found all over the body and can be conveniently obtained from different accessible tissues: bone marrow, blood, and adipose and dental tissue. MSCs have high proliferative and differentiation abilities, providing an inexhaustible source of neurons and glia for cell replacement therapy. Moreover, MSCs also show neuroprotective effects without any genetic modification or reprogramming. In addition, the extraordinary immunomodulatory properties of MSCs enable autologous and heterologous transplantation. These qualities heighten the clinical applicability of MSCs when dealing with the pathologies of CNS disorders. Here, we summarize the latest progress of MSC experimental research as well as human clinical trials for neural and retinal diseases. This review article will focus on multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, autism, glaucoma, retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration. PMID: 24772238 [PubMed]
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Related Articles Mesenchymal stem cells in treating autism: Novel insights. World J Stem Cells. 2014 Apr 26;6(2):173-8 Authors: Siniscalco D, Bradstreet JJ, Sych N, Antonucci N Abstract Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are complex neurodevelopmental disorders characterized by dysfunctions in social interactions, abnormal to absent verbal communication, restricted interests, and repetitive stereotypic verbal and non-verbal behaviors, influencing the ability to relate to and communicate. The core symptoms of ASDs concern the cognitive, emotional, and neurobehavioural domains. The prevalence of autism appears to be increasing at an alarming rate, yet there is a lack of effective and definitive pharmacological options. This has created an increased sense of urgency, and the need to identify novel therapies. Given the growing awareness of immune dysregulation in a significant portion of the autistic population, cell therapies have been proposed and applied to ASDs. In particular, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) possess the immunological properties which make them promising candidates in regenerative medicine. MSC therapy may be applicable to several diseases associated with inflammation and tissue damage, where subsequent regeneration and repair is necessary. MSCs could exert a positive effect in ASDs through the following mechanisms: stimulation of repair in the damaged tissue, e.g., inflammatory bowel disease; synthesizing and releasing anti-inflammatory cytokines and survival-promoting growth factors; integrating into existing neural and synaptic network, and restoring plasticity. The paracrine mechanisms of MSCs show interesting potential in ASD treatment. Promising and impressive results have been reported from the few clinical studies published to date, although the exact mechanisms of action of MSCs in ASDs to restore functions are still largely unknown. The potential role of MSCs in mediating ASD recovery is discussed in light of the newest findings from recent clinical studies. PMID: 24772244 [PubMed]
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Related Articles Deletion of TRIM32 protects mice from anxiety- and depression-like behaviors under mild stress. Eur J Neurosci. 2014 Aug;40(4):2680-90 Authors: Ruan CS, Wang SF, Shen YJ, Guo Y, Yang CR, Zhou FH, Tan LT, Zhou L, Liu JJ, Wang WY, Xiao ZC, Zhou XF Abstract Chronic stress causes a variety of psychiatric disorders such as anxiety and depression, but its mechanism is not well understood. Tripartite motif-containing protein 32 (TRIM32) was strongly associated with autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder based on a study of copy number variation, and deletion of TRIM32 increased neural proliferation and reduced apoptosis. Here, we propose that TRIM32 is involved in chronic stress-induced affective behaviors. Using a chronic unpredictable mild stress mouse depression model, we studied expression of TRIM32 in brain tissue samples and observed behavioral changes in Trim32 knockout mice. The results showed that TRIM32 protein but not its mRNA was significantly reduced in hippocampus in a time-dependent manner within 8 weeks of chronic stress. These stress-induced affective behaviors and reduction of TRIM32 protein expression were significantly reversed by antidepressant fluoxetine treatment. In addition, Trim32 knockout mice showed reduced anxiety and depressive behaviors and hyperactivities compared with Trim32 wild-type mice under normal and mild stress conditions. We conclude that TRIM32 plays important roles in regulation of hyperactivities and positively regulates the development of anxiety and depression disorders induced by chronic stress. PMID: 24839933 [PubMed - in process]
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Related Articles A quantitative framework to evaluate modeling of cortical development by neural stem cells. Neuron. 2014 Jul 2;83(1):69-86 Authors: Stein JL, de la Torre-Ubieta L, Tian Y, Parikshak NN, Hernández IA, Marchetto MC, Baker DK, Lu D, Hinman CR, Lowe JK, Wexler EM, Muotri AR, Gage FH, Kosik KS, Geschwind DH Abstract Neural stem cells have been adopted to model a wide range of neuropsychiatric conditions in vitro. However, how well such models correspond to in vivo brain has not been evaluated in an unbiased, comprehensive manner. We used transcriptomic analyses to compare in vitro systems to developing human fetal brain and observed strong conservation of in vivo gene expression and network architecture in differentiating primary human neural progenitor cells (phNPCs). Conserved modules are enriched in genes associated with ASD, supporting the utility of phNPCs for studying neuropsychiatric disease. We also developed and validated a machine learning approach called CoNTExT that identifies the developmental maturity and regional identity of in vitro models. We observed strong differences between in vitro models, including hiPSC-derived neural progenitors from multiple laboratories. This work provides a systems biology framework for evaluating in vitro systems and supports their value in studying the molecular mechanisms of human neurodevelopmental disease. PMID: 24991955 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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