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1.  Effects of Dibutyryl Cyclic-AMP on Survival and Neuronal Differentiation of Neural Stem/Progenitor Cells Transplanted into Spinal Cord Injured Rats 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(6):e21744.
Neural stem/progenitor cells (NSPCs) have great potential as a cell replacement therapy for spinal cord injury. However, poor control over transplant cell differentiation and survival remain major obstacles. In this study, we asked whether dibutyryl cyclic-AMP (dbcAMP), which was shown to induce up to 85% in vitro differentiation of NSPCs into neurons would enhance survival of transplanted NSPCs through prolonged exposure either in vitro or in vivo through the controlled release of dbcAMP encapsulated within poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) microspheres and embedded within chitosan guidance channels. NSPCs, seeded in fibrin scaffolds within the channels, differentiated in vitro to betaIII-tubulin positive neurons by immunostaining and mRNA expression, in response to dbcAMP released from PLGA microspheres. After transplantation in spinal cord injured rats, the survival and differentiation of NSPCs was evaluated. Untreated NSPCs, NSPCs transplanted with dbcAMP-releasing microspheres, and NSPCs pre-differentiated with dbcAMP for 4 days in vitro were transplanted after rat spinal cord transection and assessed 2 and 6 weeks later. Interestingly, NSPC survival was highest in the dbcAMP pre-treated group, having approximately 80% survival at both time points, which is remarkable given that stem cell transplantation often results in less than 1% survival at similar times. Importantly, dbcAMP pre-treatment also resulted in the greatest number of in vivo NSPCs differentiated into neurons (37±4%), followed by dbcAMP-microsphere treated NSPCs (27±14%) and untreated NSPCs (15±7%). The reverse trend was observed for NSPC-derived oligodendrocytes and astrocytes, with these populations being highest in untreated NSPCs. This combination strategy of stem cell-loaded chitosan channels implanted in a fully transected spinal cord resulted in extensive axonal regeneration into the injury site, with improved functional recovery after 6 weeks in animals implanted with pre-differentiated stem cells in chitosan channels.
PMCID: PMC3128087  PMID: 21738784
2.  Comparison of polymer scaffolds in rat spinal cord: A step toward quantitative assessment of combinatorial approaches to spinal cord repair 
Biomaterials  2011;32(32):8077-8086.
The transected rat thoracic (T9/10) spinal cord model is a platform for quantitatively compa0ring biodegradable polymer scaffolds. Schwann cell-loaded scaffolds constructed from poly (lactic co-glycolic acid) (PLGA), poly(ε-caprolactone fumarate) (PCLF), oligo(polyethylene glycol) fumarate (OPF) hydrogel or positively charged OPF (OPF+) hydrogel were implanted into the model. We demonstrated that the mechanical properties (3-point bending and stiffness) of OPF and OPF+ hydrogels closely resembled rat spinal cord. After one month, tissues were harvested and analyzed by morphometry of neurofilament-stained sections at rostral, midlevel, and caudal scaffold. All polymers supported axonal growth. Significantly higher numbers of axons were found in PCLF (P < 0.01) and OPF+ (P < 0.05) groups, compared to that of the PLGA group. OPF+ polymers showed more centrally distributed axonal regeneration within the channels while other polymers (PLGA, PCLF and OPF) tended to show more evenly dispersed axons within the channels. The centralized distribution was associated with significantly more axons regenerating (P < 0.05). Volume of scar and cyst rostral and caudal to the implanted scaffold was measured and compared. There were significantly smaller cyst volumes in PLGA compared to PCLF groups. The model provides a quantitative basis for assessing individual and combined tissue engineering strategies.
PMCID: PMC3163757  PMID: 21803415
OPF; PLGA; PCLF; axon regeneration; spinal cord injury; Schwann cell
3.  Cyclic AMP Stimulates Neurite Outgrowth of Lamprey Reticulospinal Neurons without Substantially Altering Their Biophysical Properties 
Neuroscience  2013;245:74-89.
Reticulospinal (RS) neurons are critical for initiation of locomotor behavior, and following spinal cord injury (SCI) in the lamprey, the axons of these neurons regenerate and restore locomotor behavior within a few weeks. For lamprey RS neurons in culture, experimental induction of calcium influx, either in the growth cone or cell body, is inhibitory for neurite outgrowth. Following SCI, these neurons partially downregulate calcium channel expression, which would be expected to reduce calcium influx and possibly provide supportive conditions for axonal regeneration. In the present study, it was tested whether activation of second messenger signaling pathways stimulates neurite outgrowth of lamprey RS neurons without altering their electrical properties (e.g. spike broadening) so as to possibly increase calcium influx and compromise axonal growth. First, activation of cAMP pathways with forskolin or dbcAMP stimulated neurite outgrowth of RS neurons in culture in a PKA-dependent manner, while activation of cGMP signaling pathways with dbcGMP inhibited outgrowth. Second, neurophysiological recordings from uninjured RS neurons in isolated lamprey brain-spinal cord preparations indicated that dbcAMP or dbcGMP did not significantly affect any of the measured electrical properties. In contrast, for uninjured RS neurons, forskolin increased action potential duration, which might have increased calcium influx, but did not significantly affect most other electrical properties. Importantly, for injured RS neurons during the period of axonal regeneration, forskolin did not significantly alter their electrical properties. Taken together, these results suggest that activation of cAMP signaling by dbcAMP stimulates neurite outgrowth, but does not alter the electrical properties of lamprey RS neurons in such a way that would be expected to induce calcium influx. In conclusion, our results suggest that activation of cAMP pathways alone, without compensation for possible deleterious effects on electrical properties, is an effective approach for stimulating axonal regeneration of RS neuron following SCI.
PMCID: PMC3672336  PMID: 23603516
axonal regeneration; spinal cord injury; cAMP; PKA; cGMP
4.  Repair of Osteochondral Defects with Biodegradable Hydrogel Composites Encapsulating Marrow Mesenchymal Stem Cells in a Rabbit Model 
Acta biomaterialia  2009;6(1):39-47.
This work investigated the delivery of marrow mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), with or without the growth factor transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1), from biodegradable hydrogel composites on the repair of osteochondral defects in a rabbit model. Three formulations of oligo(poly(ethylene glycol) fumarate) (OPF) hydrogel composites containing gelatin microparticles (GMPs) and MSCs were implanted in osteochondral defects, including (1) OPF/GMP hydrogel composites; (2) OPF/GMP hydrogel composites encapsulating MSCs; and (3) OPF hydrogel composites containing TGF-β1 loaded GMPs and MSCs. At 12 weeks, the quality of new tissue formed in chondral and subchondral regions of defects was evaluated based on subjective and quantitative histological analysis. OPF hydrogel composites were partially degraded and the defects were filled with newly formed tissue at 12 weeks with no sign of persistent inflammation. With the implantation of scaffolds alone, newly formed chondral tissue had an appearance of hyaline cartilage with zonal organization and intense staining for glycosaminoglycans, while in the subchondral region hypertrophic cartilage with some extent of bone formation was often observed. The addition of MSCs, especially with TGF-β1 loaded GMPs, facilitated subchondral bone formation, as evidenced by more trabecular bone appearance. However, the delivery of MSCs with or without TGF-β1 at the dosage investigated did not improve cartilage morphology. While OPF-based hydrogel composites supported osteochondral tissue generation, further investigations are necessary to elucidate the effects of MSC seeding density and differentiation stage on new tissue formation and regeneration.
PMCID: PMC2787824  PMID: 19660580
cartilage tissue engineering; mesenchymal stem cells; hydrogel composites; osteochondral defects
5.  Cyclic Adenosine 3′,5′-Monophosphate and Morphogenesis in Mucor racemosus 
Journal of Bacteriology  1974;117(2):432-438.
Yeastlike cells of Mucor racemosus grown under 100% CO2 underwent morphogenesis to hyphae after exposure to air. The addition of dibutyryl cyclic adenosine monophosphate (dbcAMP) to yeastlike cultures inhibited this morphogenesis in media containing 2% glucose. The maintenance of uniformly spherical, budding cells required 1 mM dbcAMP in a defined medium containing Casamino Acids, and 3 mM dbcAMP in a medium containing yeast extract and peptone. At these concentrations, dbcAMP also induced yeastlike development in young aerobic hyphae grown in media containing 2% glucose. Removal of dbcAMP resulted in hyphal development. The endogenous cyclic AMP (cAMP) content of yeastlike cultures was measured after a shift from CO2 to air. A fourfold decrease in intracellular cAMP preceded the appearance of hyphal germ tubes. These results indicate that cAMP plays a role in the control of morphogenesis in Mucor racemosus.
PMCID: PMC285530  PMID: 4359645
6.  Phosphorylation of STEF/Tiam2 by protein kinase A is critical for Rac1 activation and neurite outgrowth in dibutyryl cAMP–treated PC12D cells 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2011;22(10):1780-1790.
Although cAMP-induced neuritogenesis was described in 1975, the signaling pathways from cAMP to cytoskeletal regulation remain elusive. Here we report that the protein kinase A (PKA)-Sif-and Tiam1-like exchange factor (STEF)-Rac1 pathway plays a central role in cytoskeletal regulation during neurite outgrowth in PC12D cells. This result could be extrapolated to axon guidance depending on cAMP signals.
The second messenger cAMP plays a pivotal role in neurite/axon growth and guidance, but its downstream pathways leading to the regulation of Rho GTPases, centrally implicated in neuronal morphogenesis, remain elusive. We examined spatiotemporal changes in Rac1 and Cdc42 activity and phosphatidylinositol 3,4,5-triphosphate (PIP3) concentration in dibutyryl cAMP (dbcAMP)-treated PC12D cells using Förster resonance energy transfer–based biosensors. During a 30-min incubation with dbcAMP, Rac1 activity gradually increased throughout the cells and remained at its maximal level. There was no change in PIP3 concentration. After a 5-h incubation with dbcAMP, Rac1 and Cdc42 were activated at the protruding tips of neurites without PIP3 accumulation. dbcAMP-induced Rac1 activation was principally mediated by protein kinase A (PKA) and Sif- and Tiam1-like exchange factor (STEF)/Tiam2. STEF depletion drastically reduced dbcAMP-induced neurite outgrowth. PKA phosphorylates STEF at three residues (Thr-749, Ser-782, Ser-1562); Thr-749 phosphorylation was critical for dbcAMP-induced Rac1 activation and neurite extension. During dbcAMP-induced neurite outgrowth, PKA activation at the plasma membrane became localized to neurite tips; this localization may contribute to local Rac1 activation at the same neurite tips. Considering the critical role of Rac1 in neuronal morphogenesis, the PKA—STEF–Rac1 pathway may play a crucial role in cytoskeletal regulation during neurite/axon outgrowth and guidance, which depend on cAMP signals.
PMCID: PMC3093328  PMID: 21460187
7.  Respective roles of neurofilaments, microtubules, MAP1B, and tau in neurite outgrowth and stabilization. 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  1994;5(8):863-875.
The respective roles of neurofilaments (NFs), microtubules (MTs), and the microtubule-associated proteins (MAPs) MAP 1B and tau on neurite outgrowth and stabilization were probed by the intracellular delivery of specific antisera into transiently permeabilized NB2a/d1 cells during treatment with dbcAMP. Intracellular delivery of antisera specific for the low (NF-L), middle (NF-M), or extensively phosphorylated high (NF-H) molecular weight subunits did not prevent initial neurite elaboration, nor did it induce retraction of existing neurites elaborated by cells that had been previously treated for 1 d with dbcAMP. By contrast, intracellular delivery of antisera directed against tubulin reduced the percentage of cells with neurites at both these time points. Intracellular delivery of anti-NF-L and anti-NF-M antisera did not induce retraction in cells treated with dbcAMP for 3 d. However, intracellular delivery of antisera directed against extensively phosphorylated NF-H, MAP1B, tau, or tubulin induced similar levels of neurite retraction at this time. Intracellular delivery of monoclonal antibodies (RT97 or SMI-31) directed against phosphorylated NF-H induced neurite retraction in cell treated with dbcAMP for 3 d; a monoclonal antibody (SMI-32) directed against nonphosphorylated NF-H did not induce neurite retraction at this time. By contrast, none of the above antisera induced retraction of neurites in cells treated with dbcAMP for 7 d. Neurites develop resistance to retraction by colchicine, first detectable in some neurites after 3 d and in the majority of neurites after 7 d of dbcAMP treatment. We therefore examined whether or not colchicine resistance was compromised by intracellular delivery of the above antisera. Colchicine treatment resulted in rapid neurite retraction after intracellular delivery of antisera directed against extensively phosphorylated NF-H, MAP1B, or tau into cells that had previously been treated with dbcAMP for 7 d. By contrast, colchicine resistance was not compromised by the intracellular delivery of antisera directed against NF-L, NF-M, or tubulin. These findings support previous studies indicating that MT polymerization mediates certain aspects of axonal neurite outgrowth and suggest that NFs do not directly participate in these events. These findings further suggest that NFs function in stabilization of the axonal cytoskeleton, apparently by interactions among NFs and MTs that are mediated by NF-H and MAPs.
PMCID: PMC301107  PMID: 7803854
8.  Effects of dibutyryl cyclic adenosine monophosphate on hypercapnic depression of diaphragmatic contractility in pentobarbital-anesthetized dogs 
Background: Hypercapnia is associated with diaphragm muscle dysfunction that causes a reduction of diaphragmatic force generated for a constant elective myographic activity. No published data are available concerning hypercapnic depression of diaphragmatic contractility during dibutyryl cyclic adenosine monophospate (DBcAMP) administration.
Objective: The aim of this study was to assess the effects of DBcAMP on hypercapnic depression of diaphragmatic contractility in pentobarbital-anesthetized dogs.
Methods: This experimental study was conducted from July to December 2008 at the Department of Anesthesiology, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Japan. Adult (aged >5 years) mongrel dogs weighing 10 to 15 kg were randomly divided into 3 equal groups. Hypercapnia (80–90 mm Hg) was induced with 10% carbon dioxide added to the inspired gas. When hypercapnia was established, group 1 was infused with low-dose DBcAMP (0.05 mg/kg/min); group 2 was infused with high-dose DBcAMP (0.2 mg/kg/min); and group 3 received placebo (saline). Study drug was administered intravenously for 60 minutes. Diaphragmatic contractility was assessed by transdiaphragmatic pressure (Pdi) at baseline, induction of hypercapnia, and study drug administration.
Results: Twenty-one dogs were divided into 3 groups of 7. There were no significant differences observed at baseline. In the presence of hypercapnia, Pdi (mean [SD], cm H2O) at low- (20-Hz) and high-frequency (100-Hz) stimulation was significantly decreased from baseline in each group (all, P = 0.001). In groups 1 and 2, Pdi at both stimuli was significantly increased during DBcAMP administration compared with hypercapnia-induced values (group 1: 20-Hz, 13.5 [2.2] vs 15.0 [2.4], respectively, P = 0.001, 100-Hz, 21.2 [1.6] vs 22.5 [1.6], P = 0.001; group 2: 20-Hz, 13.7 [1.4] vs 19.2 [1.7], P = 0.001, 100-Hz, 21.0 [2.4] vs 27.2 [2.5], P = 0.001). The Pdi at both stimuli during DBcAMP administration was significantly higher in group 2 than in group 1 (20-Hz, 19.2 [1.7] vs 15.0 [2.4], P = 0.001, 100-Hz, 27.2 [2.5] vs 22.5 [1.6], P = 0.003). In group 3, Pdi did not significantly change in regard to either stimulus from hypercapnia-induced values.
Conclusion: DBcAMP, in a dose-dependent manner, was associated with improved hypercapnic depression of diaphragmatic contractility in these pentobarbital-anesthetized dogs.
PMCID: PMC3967283  PMID: 24683261
muscle; diaphragm; contractility; hypercapnia; dibutyryl cyclic adenosine monophosphate (DBcAMP)
9.  Effects of cyclic adenosine 3',5'-monophosphate on photoreceptor disc shedding and retinomotor movement. Inhibition of rod shedding and stimulation of cone elongation 
The Journal of General Physiology  1982;79(5):775-790.
As a test of the hypothesis that cyclic nucleotides play a role in the regulation of retinomotor movements and disc shedding in the photoreceptor-pigment epithelial complex, we have used an in vitro eyecup preparation that sustains both disc shedding and cone retinomotor movements, Eyecups were prepared in white light from animals in which both shedding and cone movement had been blocked by 4 d of constant-light treatment. In eyecups incubated for 3 h in light, disc shedding was negligible and cones remained in the light-adapted (contracted) position. In eyecups incubated in darkness, however, a massive shedding response (dominated by rod photoreceptors) was induced, and at the same time cone photoreceptors elongated to their dark-adapted position. In eyecups incubated in light dbcAMP promoted cone elongation and thus mimicked darkness; the dbcAMP effect was potentiated by the phosphodiesterase inhibitors papaverine and 3- isobutylmethylxanthine. In eyecups incubated in darkness, on the other hand, both phosphodiesterase inhibitors and dbcAMP reduced the phagosome content of the pigment epithelium. The effects of dbcAMP on the cone elongation and rod shedding appear to be specific in that dbcGMP, adenosine, and adenosine 5'-monophosphate had no significant effect. Our results suggest that cAMP plays a role in the regulation of both retinomotor movements and disc shedding.
PMCID: PMC2215507  PMID: 6284860
10.  Direct cytochemical localization of catalytic subunits dissociated from cAMP-dependent protein kinase in Reuber H-35 hepatoma cells. II. Temporal and spatial kinetics 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1982;93(3):727-734.
The activation of cyclic AMP-dependent protein kinase has been found to be the predominant mode by which cyclic AMP (cAMP) leads to alterations of a large variety of cellular functions. The activation of the kinase results in the release of the catalytic subunit which as the free enzyme possesses phosphotransferase activity for a variety of specific protein substrates. Using a sensitive and specific cytofluorometric technique we monitored the appearance of free catalytic subunit in Reuber H35 hepatoma cells in culture after incubation with N6-1'-O- dibutyryl-cyclic AMP (DBcAMP), 8-bromoadenosine-3':5'-cyclic monophosphate (8-BrcAMP), and glucagon. The cytochemical method employs the heat-stable inhibitor of the free catalytic subunit which has been conjugated to fluorescein isothiocyanate (F:PKI) and was validated as described in the companion paper (Fletcher and Byus. 1982. J. Cell Biol. 93:719-726). Here we studied the temporal and spatial kinetics of the free catalytic subunit following activation of cAMP-dependent protein kinase by increasing concentrations of DBcAMP,8-BrcAMP, and glucagon. Under similar conditions protein kinase activation was also assessed biochemically in H35 cell supernatants by assaying the protein kinase activity ratio. Incubation of the hepatoma cells with DBcAMP (0.1 mM) led to an increase in the activity ratio from 0.2 in control cultures to a value of nearly 1.0 within a 1- to 2-h period. During this same period using the F:PKI probe, a significant increase in cytoplasmic and nucleolar fluorescence indicative of the release of the free catalytic subunit was coincidentally observed. In contrast to the rapid appearance of catalytic subunit in the cytoplasm and nucleolus of the cell within 5-15 min of the addition of DBcAMP, discernible nucleoplasmic fluorescence did not occur until after 1 h. H35 cell cultures incubated with 8-BrcAMP (0.01-1.0 mM) exhibited a more rapid activation of the protein kinase measured cytochemically compared to the cells treated with DBcAMP. Cultures incubated with 8-BrcAMP had significantly increased cytoplasmic and nucleolar fluorescence compared to unstimulated cells within 1 min of the addition of the analogue and reached a maximal level within 15 min. By employing a microspectrophotometer a distinct dose-dependent increase in cellular fluorescence (i.e., free catalytic subunit) was observed as the concentration of 8-BrcAMP was increased from 0.01 to 1.0 mM at 1, 5, 15, and 60 min following stimulation. The addition of glucagon (10(-6) M) to the culture also led to the activation of cAMP-dependent protein kinase as determined by an increase in the activity ratio. This increase was paralleled throughout the incubation period by a marked elevation in cytoplasmic and nucleolar fluorescence. The results reported herein suggest that both cyclic nucleotide analogues and a polypeptide hormone lead to the activation of cAMP-dependent protein kinase in similar intracellular compartments in Reuber H35 hepatoma cells...
PMCID: PMC2112128  PMID: 6288733
11.  Artificial control maturation of porcine oocyte by dibutyryl cyclicAMP 
Animal Cells and Systems  2014;18(1):52-58.
In this study, we investigated the effects of various durations of dibutyryl cyclic AMP (dbcAMP) treatment on the in vitro maturation (IVM) and subsequent development of parthenogenetically activated embryos. Immature porcine oocytes were cultured with or without 1 mM dbcAMP during the first 20, 28, or 36 h of culture, and then incubated for an additional 24 h without dbcAMP. The expression of Wee1B, Myt, and Cdc25B and the level of maturation promoting factor (MPF) in metaphase II oocytes were analyzed by real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) and enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), respectively. The distribution of actin microfilaments in oocytes was also assessed. Subsequently, apoptotic cells in blastocysts from each group were visualized by transferase-mediated dUTP nick-end labeling staining. Results showed that oocytes extruded the first polar body between 12 and 18 h after being released from dbcAMP. MPF activity in oocytes at 28 + 24 h and 36 + 24 h after dbcAMP treatment was higher than that in the control group. Significantly more blastocysts were present among embryos in 28 + 24 h (54.28% vs. 39.11%, P < 0.05) and 36 + 24 h (47.24% vs. 32.94%, P < 0.05) groups than among embryos cultured in the absence of dbcAMP. However, the number of total and apoptotic cells was not significantly different between groups. The distribution of actin microfilaments was abnormal in oocytes cultured for 60 h without dbcAMP. In addition, the expression of Wee1B, Myt, and Cdc25B was higher in the control group at 44 h than in the dbcAMP group, but there were no differences in expression at the other time points. In conclusion, dbcAMP treatment delays oocyte maturation and maintains oocyte quality.
PMCID: PMC3962048  PMID: 24683444
dbcAMP; oocyte maturation; maturation control
12.  Development of Electrically Conductive Oligo(polyethylene Glycol) Fumarate-Polypyrrole Hydrogels for Nerve Regeneration 
Biomacromolecules  2010;11(11):2845-2853.
Electrically conductive hydrogel composites consisting of oligo(polyethylene glycol) fumarate (OPF) and polypyrrole (PPy) were developed for applications in nerve regeneration. OPF-PPy scaffolds were synthesized using three different anions: naphthalene-2-sulfonic acid sodium salt (NSA), dodecylbenzenesulfonic acid sodium salt (DBSA), and dioctyl sulfosuccinate sodium salt (DOSS). Scaffolds were characterized by ATR-FTIR, XPS, AFM, dynamic mechanical analysis, electrical resistivity measurements, and swelling experiments. OPF-PPy scaffolds were shown to consist of up to 25 mol% polypyrrole with a compressive modulus ranging from 265 to 323 kPa and a sheet resistance ranging from 6 to 30 × 103 Ohms/square. In vitro studies using PC12 cells showed OPF-PPy materials had no cytotoxicity and PC12 cells showed distinctly better cell attachment and an increase in the percent of neurite bearing cells on OPF-PPy materials compared to OPF. The neurite lengths of PC12 cells were significantly higher on OPF-PPyNSA and OPF-PPyDBSA. These results show that electrically conductive OPF-PPy hydrogels are promising candidates for future applications in nerve regeneration.
PMCID: PMC3947846  PMID: 20942380
hydrogel; electrical; conductive; nerve; tissue regeneration
13.  Axon Regeneration through Scaffold into Distal Spinal Cord after Transection 
Journal of neurotrauma  2009;26(10):1759-1771.
We employed Fast Blue (FB) axonal tracing to determine the origin of regenerating axons after thoracic spinal cord transection injury in rats. Schwann cell (SC)-loaded, biodegradable, poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) scaffolds were implanted after transection. Scaffolds loaded with solubilized basement membrane preparation (without SCs) were used for negative controls, and nontransected cords were positive controls. One or 2 months after injury and scaffold implantation, FB was injected 0–15 mm caudal or about 5 mm rostral to the scaffold. One week later, tissue was harvested and the scaffold and cord sectioned longitudinally (30 μm) on a cryostat. Trans-scaffold labeling of neuron cell bodies was identified with confocal microscopy in all cell-transplanted groups. Large (30–50 μm diameter) neuron cell bodies were predominantly labeled in the ventral horn region. Most labeled neurons were seen 1–10 mm rostral to the scaffold, although some neurons were also labeled in the cervical cord. Axonal growth occurred bidirectionally after cord transection, and axons regenerated up to 14 mm beyond the PLGA scaffolds and into distal cord. The extent of FB labeling was negatively correlated with distance from the injection site to the scaffold. Electron microscopy showed myelinated axons in the transverse sections of the implanted scaffold 2 months after implantation. The pattern of myelination, with extracellular collagen and basal lamina, was characteristic of SC myelination. Our results show that FB labeling is an effective way to measure the origin of regenerating axons.
PMCID: PMC2763055  PMID: 19413501
axonal tracing; biodegradable polymers; Fast Blue; Schwann cells; spinal cord injury
14.  Axon Regeneration through Scaffold into Distal Spinal Cord after Transection 
Journal of Neurotrauma  2009;26(10):1759-1771.
We employed Fast Blue (FB) axonal tracing to determine the origin of regenerating axons after thoracic spinal cord transection injury in rats. Schwann cell (SC)-loaded, biodegradable, poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) scaffolds were implanted after transection. Scaffolds loaded with solubilized basement membrane preparation (without SCs) were used for negative controls, and nontransected cords were positive controls. One or 2 months after injury and scaffold implantation, FB was injected 0–15 mm caudal or about 5 mm rostral to the scaffold. One week later, tissue was harvested and the scaffold and cord sectioned longitudinally (30 μm) on a cryostat. Trans-scaffold labeling of neuron cell bodies was identified with confocal microscopy in all cell-transplanted groups. Large (30–50 μm diameter) neuron cell bodies were predominantly labeled in the ventral horn region. Most labeled neurons were seen 1–10 mm rostral to the scaffold, although some neurons were also labeled in the cervical cord. Axonal growth occurred bidirectionally after cord transection, and axons regenerated up to 14 mm beyond the PLGA scaffolds and into distal cord. The extent of FB labeling was negatively correlated with distance from the injection site to the scaffold. Electron microscopy showed myelinated axons in the transverse sections of the implanted scaffold 2 months after implantation. The pattern of myelination, with extracellular collagen and basal lamina, was characteristic of SC myelination. Our results show that FB labeling is an effective way to measure the origin of regenerating axons.
PMCID: PMC2763055  PMID: 19413501
axonal tracing; biodegradable polymers; Fast Blue; Schwann cells; spinal cord injury
15.  Interactions of Cyclic AMP and Its Dibutyryl Analogue with a Lipid Layer in the Aqueous Mixtures of Monoolein Preparation and Dioleoyl Phosphatidylcholine as Probed by X-Ray Diffraction and Raman Spectroscopy 
Journal of Biological Physics  2004;30(1):83-96.
Interactions of adenosine 3':5'-cyclicmonophosphate (cAMP) andN6,2'-O-dibutyryladenosine3':5'-cyclic monophosphate (dbcAMP) with alipid layer composed of monoolein-basedpreparation and dioleoylphosphatidylcholine (DOPC) wereinvestigated by small-angle X-raydiffraction (SAXD) and Raman spectroscopy.The reversed hexagonal (HII)MO/DOPC/H2O phase of 65:15:20 wt.%composition was selected as a referencesystem. SAXD revealed that entrapment (atthe expense of water) of 3 wt.% cAMP intothe reference system did not change thepolymorphic form and structural parametersof the phase. The same content of dbcAMPinduced the transition from the HIIphase to the reversed bicontinuous cubicphase of space group Ia3d. Thistransition is explained by the increase oflipid head-group area due to thepenetration of the acylated adenine groupof dbcAMP into the polar/apolar region oflipid layer. The conclusion is supported byRaman spectroscopy, showing thedisruption/weakening of hydrogen bonding inthe MO/DOPC-based matrix at the N1- andN3-sites of the dbcAMP adenine ring. Asdistinct from dbcAMP, cAMP remains mostlyin the water channels of the HIIphase, although the phosphate residue ofnucleotide interacts with the quaternaryammonium group of DOPC. Both nucleotidesincrease the population of gaucheisomers in the DOPC choline group.
PMCID: PMC3456501  PMID: 23345862
Cyclic AMP; dibutyryl cyclic AMP; dioleoyl phosphatidylcholine; liquid-crystalline phases; monoolein; Raman spectroscopy; X-ray diffraction
16.  Injectable Biodegradable Hydrogels for Embryonic Stem Cell Transplantation: Improved Cardiac Remodeling and Function of Myocardial Infarction 
In this study, an injectable, biodegradable hydrogel composite of oligo(poly(ethylene glycol) fumarate) (OPF) was investigated as a carrier of mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs) for the treatment of myocardial infarction (MI). 10K OPF hydrogels were used to encapsulate mESCs. The cell differentiation in vitro over 14 days was determined via immunohistochemical examination. Then, mESCs encapsulated in OPF hydrogels were injected into the left ventricular wall of a rat myocardial infarction model. Detailed histological analysis and echocardiography were used to determine the structural and functional consequences after 4 weeks of transplantation. With ascorbic acid induction, mESCs could differentiate into cardiomyocytes and other cell types in all three lineages in the OPF hydrogel. After transplantation, both the 24h-cell retention and 4-week graft size were significantly greater in the OPF + ESC group than that of the PBS + ESC group (p<0.01). Four weeks after transplantation, OPF hydrogel alone significantly reduced the infarct size and collagen deposition and improved the cardiac function. The heart function and revascularization improved significantly, while the infarct size and fibrotic area decreased significantly in the OPF + ESC group compared with that of the PBS +ESC group, OPF group and PBS group (p<0.01). All treatments had significantly reduced MMP2 and MMP9 protein levels compared to the PBS control group, and the OPF + ESC group decreased most by Western blotting. Transplanted mESCs expressed cardiovascular markers. This study suggest the potential of a method for heart regeneration involving oligo(poly(ethylene glycol) fumarate) hydrogels for stem cell encapsulation and transplantation.
PMCID: PMC3227757  PMID: 21838774
cardiac tissue engineering; injectable hydrogels; cell encapsulation; embryonic stem cell; myocardial infarction
17.  Effect of Swelling Ratio of Injectable Hydrogel Composites on Chondrogenic Differentiation of Encapsulated Rabbit Marrow Mesenchymal Stem Cells In Vitro 
Biomacromolecules  2009;10(3):541-546.
An injectable, biodegradable hydrogel composite of oligo(poly(ethylene glycol) fumarate) (OPF) and gelatin microparticles (MPs) has been investigated as a cell and growth factor carrier for cartilage tissue engineering applications. In this study, hydrogel composites with different swelling ratios were prepared by crosslinking OPF macromers with poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) repeating units of varying molecular weights from 1,000 ~ 35,000. Rabbit marrow mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and MPs loaded with transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) were encapsulated in the hydrogel composites in order to examine the effect of the swelling ratio of the hydrogel composites on the chondrogenic differentiation of encapsulated rabbit marrow MSCs both in the presence and absence of TGF-β1. The swelling ratio of the hydrogel composites increased as the PEG molecular weight in the OPF macromers increased. Chondrocyte-specific genes were expressed at higher levels in groups containing TGF-β1-loaded MPs and varied with the swelling ratio of the hydrogel composites. OPF hydrogel composites with PEG repeating units of molecular weight 35,000 and 10,000 with TGF-β1-loaded MPs exhibited a 159 ± 95 and a 89 ± 31 fold increase in type II collagen gene expression at day 28, respectively, while OPF hydrogel composites with PEG repeating units of molecular weight 3,000 and 1,000 with TGF-β1-loaded MPs showed a 27 ± 10 and a 17 ± 7 fold increase in type II collagen gene expression, respectively, as compared to the composites with blank MPs at day 0. The results indicate that chondrogenic differentiation of encapsulated rabbit marrow MSCs within OPF hydrogel composites could be affected by their swelling ratio, thus suggesting the potential of OPF composite hydrogels as part of a novel strategy for controlling the differentiation of stem cells.
PMCID: PMC2765566  PMID: 19173557
injectable hydrogels; crosslinking; marrow mesenchymal stem cells; gelatin microparticles; TGF-β1; chondrogenic differentiation; cartilage tissue engineering
The Journal of Cell Biology  1974;60(1):181-191.
The ability of N6, O2'-dibutyryl cyclic AMP (DBcAMP) to regulate a number of metabolic events in four lines of cultured rat hepatomas has been examined. Although dexamethasone induces tyrosine transaminase in all four lines, DBcAMP induces this enzyme normally only in H35 cells. A slight increase in transaminase activity was seen with MH1C1 cells and HTC cells, but no effect was detectable in RLC cells. In contrast, phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase activity is increased by both agents in H35 and MH1C1 cells, but neither had any effect in HTC or RLC cells. DBcAMP caused a rapid inhibition of the growth rate and DNA synthesis and an increase in protein content in both H35 and MH1C1 cells but not in HTC or RLC cells. The effect of DBcAMP on DNA synthesis in MH1C1 cells could be reversed by deoxycytidine as is also the case with H35 cells. The resistance of HTC and RLC cells to DBcAMP was not due to reduced uptake or deacylation as judged by studies with [3H]DBcAMP. The cyclic nucleotide appears to enter the cells by passive diffusion as the intracellular concentration approaches that in the medium within 30–60 min. Possible explanations for the differential responses observed are discussed.
PMCID: PMC2109136  PMID: 4148931
19.  Relationship between Scaffold Channel Diameter and Number of Regenerating Axons in the Transected Rat Spinal Cord 
Acta biomaterialia  2009;5(7):2551-2559.
Regeneration of endogenous axons through a Schwann cell (SC)-seeded scaffold implant has been demonstrated in the transected rat spinal cord. The formation of a cellular lining in the scaffold channel may limit the degree of axonal regeneration. Spinal cords of adult rats were transected and implanted with the SC-loaded polylactic co-glycollic acid (PLGA) scaffold implants containing seven parallel-aligned channels, either 450-μm (n=19) or 660-μm in diameter (n=14). Animals were sacrificed after 1, 2, and 3 months. Immunohistochemistry for neurofilament-expression was performed. The cross-sectional area of fibrous tissue and regenerative core was calculated. We found that the 450-μm scaffolds had significantly greater axon fibers per channel at the one month (186 ± 37) and three month (78 ± 11) endpoints than the 660-μm scaffolds (90 ± 19 and 40 ± 6, respectively) (P=0.0164 & 0.0149, respectively). The difference in the area of fibrous rim between the 450-μm and 660-μm channels was most pronounced at the one month endpoint, at 28,046 μm2 ± 6,551 and 58,633 μm2 ± 7,063, respectively (P=0.0105). Our study suggests that fabricating scaffolds with smaller diameter channels promotes greater regeneration over larger diameter channels. Axonal regeneration was reduced in the larger channels due to the generation of a large fibrous rim. Optimization of this scaffold environment establishes a platform for future studies of the effects of cell types, trophic factors or pharmacological agents on the regenerative capacity of the injured spinal cord.
PMCID: PMC2731813  PMID: 19409869
Biomedical Engineering; Tissue Development and Growth; Central Nervous System; Polymeric Scaffolds
20.  Stimulation of neurite outgrowth using positively charged hydrogels 
Biomaterials  2009;30(23-24):3874-3881.
Autologous nerve grafts are currently the best option for the treatment of segmental peripheral nerve defects. However, autografts have several drawbacks including size mismatch and loss of sensation in the donor nerve’s sensory distribution. In this work, we have investigated the development of a synthetic hydrogel that contains positive charge for use as a substrate for nerve cell attachment and neurite outgrowth in culture. We have demonstrated that modification of oligo-(polyethylene glycol) fumarate (OPF) with a positively charged monomer improves primary sensory rat neuron attachment and differentiation in a dose-dependent manner. Positively charged hydrogels also supported attachment of dorsal root ganglion (DRG) explants that contain sensory neurons, Schwann cells and neuronal support cells. Furthermore, charged hydrogels were analyzed for the appearance of myelinated structures in a co-culture containing DRG neurons and Schwann cells. DRGs and Schwann cells remained viable on charged hydrogels for a time period of three weeks and neurites extended from the DRGs. Sudan black staining revealed that neurites emerging from DRGs were accompanied by migrating Schwann cells. These findings suggest that charged OPF hydrogels are capable of sustaining both primary nerve cells and the neural support cells that are critical for regeneration.
PMCID: PMC2716054  PMID: 19427689
hydrogel; nerve regeneration; Schwann cells; scaffold
21.  Injectable biodegradable hydrogel composites for rabbit marrow mesenchymal stem cell and growth factor delivery for cartilage tissue engineering 
Biomaterials  2007;28(21):3217-3227.
We investigated the development of an injectable, biodegradable hydrogel composite of oligo(poly(ethylene glycol) fumarate) (OPF) with encapsulated rabbit marrow mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and gelatin microparticles (MPs) loaded with transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) for cartilage tissue engineering applications. Rabbit MSCs and TGF-β1-loaded MPs were mixed with OPF, a poly(ethylene glycol)-diacrylate crosslinker and the radical initiators ammonium persulfate and N,N,N’,N’-tetramethylethylenediamine, and then crosslinked at 37°C for 8 min to form hydrogel composites. Three studies were conducted over 14 days in order to examine the effects of: 1) the composite formulation, 2) the MSC seeding density, and 3) the TGF-β1 concentration on the chondrogenic differentiation of encapsulated rabbit MSCs. Bioassay results showed no significant difference in DNA amount between groups, however, groups with MPs had a significant increase in glycosaminoglycan content per DNA starting at day 7 as compared to controls at day 0. Chondrocyte-specific gene expression of type II collagen and aggrecan were only evident in groups containing TGF-β1-loaded MPs and varied with TGF-β1 concentration in a dose dependent manner. Specifically, type II collagen gene expression exhibited a 161 ± 49 fold increase and aggrecan gene expression a 221 ± 151 fold increase after 14 days with the highest dose of TGF-β1 (16 ng/ml). These results indicate that encapsulated rabbit MSCs remained viable over the culture period and differentiated into chondrocyte-like cells, thus suggesting the potential of OPF composite hydrogels as part of a novel strategy for localized delivery of stem cells and bioactive molecules.
PMCID: PMC2964378  PMID: 17445882
Cartilage tissue engineering; marrow mesenchymal stem cells; gelatin microparticles; injectable hydrogels; TGF-β1
22.  Antagonism by dibutyryl adenosine cyclic 3',5'-monophosphate and testololactone of concanavalin A capping 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1975;66(2):392-403.
Exposure of CHO-K1 cells in vitro to dibutyryl adenosine cyclic 3',5'- monophosphate (DBcAMP) plus testololactone produces a rapid, reversible antagonism of ligand-induced collection of initially dispersed concanavalin A (Con A) binding sites into a caplike mass. Morphologically, as Con A capping occurs, the cells become less spread and then round completely. With prolonged Con A exposure, cells cultured in either the absence or the presence of DBcAMP plus testololactone cap and round. Capping is blocked by cold treatment and respiratory inhibitors. Colcemid at concentrations greater than 1 muM promotes both Con A capping and cell rounding. Cytochalasin B at similar concentrations inhibits both capping and cell rounding. Treatment of cells with Con A has little effect on intracellular cAMP concentration. Possible mechanisms by which cAMP may modulate the movement of Con A binding sites are discussed.
PMCID: PMC2109555  PMID: 167034
23.  Relation between chloride secretion and intracellular cyclic adenosine monophosphate in a cloned human intestinal cell line HT-29 cl 19A. 
Gut  1994;35(5):631-636.
The relation between the intracellular cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) content and the electrogenic chloride secretion induced by cholera toxin was studied in secretory HT-29 cl 19A cell monolayers. Cells were treated by the mucosal addition of cholera toxin (5 micrograms/ml) for 10, 45, or 90 minutes in Ussing chambers. After 10 minutes, the mean (SEM) intracellular cAMP content (3.2 (0.2) pmol/mg protein) and short circuit current (Isc) (1.9 (0.3) did not differ significantly from the corresponding basal values. At 45 minutes, a significant increase in the Isc (22.2 (5.7) was accompanied by a significant elevation in cAMP (10(1.7) pmol/mgh protein). At 90 minutes, when the stimulated Isc plateaued (35.2 (5.2), the cAMP value (99.2 (23.8) pmol/mg protein) increased further. The protein kinase C (PKC) activity of the cells was not affected by cholera toxin. Treatment of cell monolayers by different concentrations of DbcAMP (10(5), 5 x 10(-5), 10(-3) M) showed that the minimal concentration of DbcAMP (serosal) which significantly increased the Isc (delta 4.5 was 10(-4) M, and that this was accompanied by an increase in cAMP of delta 6.7 pmol/mg protein: Compared with DbcAMP, cholera toxin stimulated the Isc (at 45 minutes) to a much higher degree with a comparable elevation of cAMP. It is concluded that in cl 19A cells there is a threshold value of increase in intracellular cAMP that induces chloride secretion. Cholera toxin stimulated chloride secretion can be explained predominantly by an increase in intracellular cAMP that is unrelated to PKC activity.
PMCID: PMC1374746  PMID: 8200555
24.  Intermittent PTHrP(1–34) Exposure Augments Chondrogenesis and Reduces Hypertrophy of Mesenchymal Stromal Cells 
Stem Cells and Development  2014;23(20):2513-2523.
Phenotype instability and premature hypertrophy prevent the use of human mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) for cartilage regeneration. Aim of this study was to investigate whether intermittent supplementation of parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP), as opposed to constant treatment, can beneficially influence MSC chondrogenesis and to explore molecular mechanisms below catabolic and anabolic responses. Human MSCs subjected to chondrogenic induction in high-density culture received PTHrP(1–34), forskolin, dbcAMP, or PTHrP(7–34) either constantly or via 6-h pulses (three times weekly), before proteoglycan, collagen type II, and X deposition; gene expression; and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity were assessed. While constant application of PTHrP(1–34) suppressed chondrogenesis of MSCs, pulsed application significantly increased collagen type 2 (COL2A1) gene expression and the collagen type II, proteoglycan, and DNA content of pellets after 6 weeks. Collagen type 10 (COL10A1) gene expression was little affected but Indian hedgehog (IHH) expression and ALP activity were significantly downregulated by pulsed PTHrP. A faster response to PTHrP exposure was recorded for ALP activity over COL2A1 regulation, suggesting that signal duration is critical for catabolic versus anabolic reactions. Stimulation of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP)/protein kinase A (PKA) signaling by forskolin reproduced major effects of both treatment modes, whereas application of PTHrP(7–34) capable of protein kinase C (PKC) signaling was ineffective. Pulsed PTHrP exposure of MSCs stimulated chondrogenesis and reduced endochondral differentiation apparently uncoupling chondrogenic matrix deposition from hypertrophic marker expression. cAMP/PKA was the major signaling pathway triggering the opposing effects of both treatment modes. Intermittent application of PTHrP represents an important novel means to improve chondrogenesis of MSCs and may be considered as a supporting clinical-treatment mode for MSC-based cartilage defect regeneration.
PMCID: PMC4186799  PMID: 24836507
25.  Neural Stem Cell– and Schwann Cell–Loaded Biodegradable Polymer Scaffolds Support Axonal Regeneration in the Transected Spinal Cord 
Tissue Engineering. Part A  2009;15(7):1797-1805.
Biodegradable polymer scaffolds provide an excellent approach to quantifying critical factors necessary for restoration of function after a transection spinal cord injury. Neural stem cells (NSCs) and Schwann cells (SCs) support axonal regeneration. This study examines the compatibility of NSCs and SCs with the poly-lactic-co-glycolic acid polymer scaffold and quantitatively assesses their potential to promote regeneration after a spinal cord transection injury in rats. NSCs were cultured as neurospheres and characterized by immunostaining for nestin (NSCs), glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) (astrocytes), βIII-tubulin (immature neurons), oligodendrocyte-4 (immature oligodendrocytes), and myelin oligodendrocyte (mature oligodendrocytes), while SCs were characterized by immunostaining for S-100. Rats with transection injuries received scaffold implants containing NSCs (n = 17), SCs (n = 17), and no cells (control) (n = 8). The degree of axonal regeneration was determined by counting neurofilament-stained axons through the scaffold channels 1 month after transplantation. Serial sectioning through the scaffold channels in NSC- and SC-treated groups revealed the presence of nestin, neurofilament, S-100, and βIII tubulin–positive cells. GFAP-positive cells were only seen at the spinal cord–scaffold border. There were significantly more axons in the NSC- and SC- treated groups compared to the control group. In conclusion, biodegradable scaffolds with aligned columns seeded with NSCs or SCs facilitate regeneration across the transected spinal cord. Further, these multichannel biodegradable polymer scaffolds effectively serve as platforms for quantitative analysis of axonal regeneration.
PMCID: PMC2792101  PMID: 19191513

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