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1.  Mesenchymal Stem Cells from Human Umbilical Cord Express Preferentially Secreted Factors Related to Neuroprotection, Neurogenesis, and Angiogenesis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e72604.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are promising tools for the treatment of diseases such as infarcted myocardia and strokes because of their ability to promote endogenous angiogenesis and neurogenesis via a variety of secreted factors. MSCs found in the Wharton’s jelly of the human umbilical cord are easily obtained and are capable of transplantation without rejection. We isolated MSCs from Wharton’s jelly and bone marrow (WJ-MSCs and BM-MSCs, respectively) and compared their secretomes. It was found that WJ-MSCs expressed more genes, especially secreted factors, involved in angiogenesis and neurogenesis. Functional validation showed that WJ-MSCs induced better neural differentiation and neural cell migration via a paracrine mechanism. Moreover, WJ-MSCs afforded better neuroprotection efficacy because they preferentially enhanced neuronal growth and reduced cell apoptotic death of primary cortical cells in an oxygen-glucose deprivation (OGD) culture model that mimics the acute ischemic stroke situation in humans. In terms of angiogenesis, WJ-MSCs induced better microvasculature formation and cell migration on co-cultured endothelial cells. Our results suggest that WJ-MSC, because of a unique secretome, is a better MSC source to promote in vivo neurorestoration and endothelium repair. This study provides a basis for the development of cell-based therapy and carrying out of follow-up mechanistic studies related to MSC biology.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0072604
PMCID: PMC3749979  PMID: 23991127
2.  miR-146a-5p circuitry uncouples cell proliferation and migration, but not differentiation, in human mesenchymal stem cells 
Nucleic Acids Research  2013;41(21):9753-9763.
Administration of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) has the potential to ameliorate degenerative disorders and to repair damaged tissues. The homing of transplanted MSCs to injured sites is a critical property of engraftment. Our aim was to identify microRNAs involved in controlling MSC proliferation and migration. MSCs can be isolated from bone marrow and umbilical cord Wharton’s jelly (BM-MSCs and WJ-MSCs, respectively), and WJ-MSCs show poorer motility yet have a better amplification rate compared with BM-MSCs. Small RNA sequencing revealed that miR-146a-5p is significantly overexpressed and has high abundance in WJ-MSCs. Knockdown of miR-146a-5p in WJ-MSCs inhibited their proliferation yet enhanced their migration, whereas overexpression of miR-146a-5p in BM-MSCs did not influence their osteogenic and adipogenic potentials. Chemokine (C-X-C motif) ligand 12 (CXCL12), together with SIKE1, which is an I-kappa-B kinase epsilon (IKKε) suppressor, is a direct target of miR-146a-5p in MSCs. Knockdown of miR-146a-5p resulted in the down-regulation of nuclear factor kappa-B (NF-κB) activity, which is highly activated in WJ-MSCs and is known to activate miR-146a-5p promoter. miR-146a-5p is also downstream of CXCL12, and a negative feedback loop is therefore formed in MSCs. These findings suggest that miR-146a-5p is critical to the uncoupling of motility and proliferation of MSCs. Our miRNome data also provide a roadmap for further understanding MSC biology.
doi:10.1093/nar/gkt666
PMCID: PMC3834804  PMID: 23963696
3.  MicroRNA-34a modulates genes involved in cellular motility and oxidative phosphorylation in neural precursors derived from human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells 
BMC Medical Genomics  2011;4:65.
Background
Mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) found in bone marrow (BM-MSCs) and the Wharton's jelly matrix of human umbilical cord (WJ-MSCs) are able to transdifferentiate into neuronal lineage cells both in vitro and in vivo and therefore hold the potential to treat neural disorders such as stroke or Parkinson's disease. In bone marrow MSCs, miR-130a and miR-206 have been show to regulate the synthesis of neurotransmitter substance P in human mesenchymal stem cell-derived neuronal cells. However, how neuronal differentiation is controlled in WJ-MSC remains unclear.
Methods
WJ-MSCs were isolated from human umbilical cords. We subjected WJ-MSCs into neurogenesis by a published protocol, and the miRNome patterns of WJ-MSCs and their neuronal progenitors (day 9 after differentiation) were analyzed by the Agilent microRNA microarray.
Results
Five miRNAs were enriched in WJ-MSCs, including miR-345, miR-106a, miR-17-5p, miR-20a and miR-20b. Another 11 miRNAs (miR-206, miR-34a, miR-374, miR-424, miR-100, miR-101, miR-323, miR-368, miR-137, miR-138 and miR-377) were abundantly expressed in transdifferentiated neuronal progenitors. Among these miRNAs, miR-34a and miR-206 were the only 2 miRNAs been linked to BM-MSC neurogenesis. Overexpressing miR-34a in cells suppressed the expression of 136 neuronal progenitor genes, which all possess putative miR-34a binding sites. Gene enrichment analysis according to the Gene Ontology database showed that those 136 genes were associated with cell motility, energy production (including those with oxidative phosphorylation, electron transport and ATP synthesis) and actin cytoskeleton organization, indicating that miR-34a plays a critical role in precursor cell migration. Knocking down endogenous miR-34a expression in WJ-MSCs resulted in the augment of WJ-MSC motility.
Conclusions
Our data suggest a critical role of miRNAs in MSC neuronal differentiation, and miR-34a contributes in neuronal precursor motility, which may be crucial for stem cells to home to the target sites they should be.
doi:10.1186/1755-8794-4-65
PMCID: PMC3195087  PMID: 21923954
4.  Pediatric primary central nervous system germ cell tumors of different prognosis groups show characteristic miRNome traits and chromosome copy number variations 
BMC Genomics  2010;11:132.
Background
Intracranial pediatric germ cell tumors (GCTs) are rare and heterogeneous neoplasms and vary in histological differentiation, prognosis and clinical behavior. Germinoma and mature teratoma are GCTs that have a good prognosis, while other types of GCTs, termed nongerminomatous malignant germ cell tumors (NGMGCTs), are tumors with an intermediate or poor prognosis. The second group of tumors requires more extensive drug and irradiation treatment regimens. The mechanisms underlying the differences in incidence and prognosis of the various GCT subgroups are unclear.
Results
We identified a distinct mRNA profile correlating with GCT histological differentiation and prognosis, and also present in this study the first miRNA profile of pediatric primary intracranial GCTs. Most of the differentially expressed miRNAs were downregulated in germinomas, but miR-142-5p and miR-146a were upregulated. Genes responsible for self-renewal (such as POU5F1 (OCT4), NANOG and KLF4) and the immune response were abundant in germinomas, while genes associated with neuron differentiation, Wnt/β-catenin pathway, invasiveness and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (including SNAI2 (SLUG) and TWIST2) were abundant in NGMGCTs. Clear transcriptome segregation based on patient survival was observed, with malignant NGMGCTs being closest to embryonic stem cells. Chromosome copy number variations (CNVs) at cytobands 4q13.3-4q28.3 and 9p11.2-9q13 correlated with GCT malignancy and clinical risk. Six genes (BANK1, CXCL9, CXCL11, DDIT4L, ELOVL6 and HERC5) within 4q13.3-4q28.3 were more abundant in germinomas.
Conclusions
Our results integrate molecular profiles with clinical observations and provide insights into the underlying mechanisms causing GCT malignancy. The genes, pathways and microRNAs identified have the potential to be novel therapeutic targets.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-11-132
PMCID: PMC2837036  PMID: 20178649

Results 1-4 (4)