Capillary Regeneration in Scleroderma: Stem Cell Therapy Reverses Phenotype?
Abstract: Scleroderma is an autoimmune disease with a characteristic vascular pathology. The vasculopathy associated with scleroderma is one of the major contributors to the clinical manifestations of the disease. We used immunohistochemical and mRNA in situ hybridization techniques to characterize this vasculopathy and showed with morphometry that scleroderma has true capillary rarefaction. We compared skin biopsies from 23 scleroderma patients and 24 normal controls and 7 scleroderma patients who had undergone high dose immunosuppressive therapy followed by autologous hematopoietic cell transplant. Along with the loss of capillaries there was a dramatic change in endothelial phenotype in the residual vessels. The molecules defining this phenotype are: vascular endothelial cadherin, a supposedly universal endothelial marker required for tube formation (lost in the scleroderma tissue), antiangiogenic interferon α (overexpressed in the scleroderma dermis) and RGS5, a signaling molecule whose expression coincides with the end of branching morphogenesis during development and tumor angiogenesis (also overexpressed in scleroderma skin. Following high dose immunosuppressive therapy, patients experienced clinical improvement and 5 of the 7 patients with scleroderma had increased capillary counts. It was also observed in the same 5 patients, that the interferon α and vascular endothelial cadherin had returned to normal as other clinical signs in the skin regressed, and in all 7 patients, RGS5 had returned to normal. These data provide the first objective evidence for loss of vessels in scleroderma and show that this phenomenon is reversible. Coordinate changes in expression of three molecules already implicated in angiogenesis or anti-angiogenesis suggest that control of expression of these three molecules may be the underlying mechanism for at least the vascular component of this disease. Since rarefaction has been little studied, these data may have implications for other diseases characterized by loss of capillaries including hypertension, congestive heart failure and scarformation.
Stem cells in human neurodegenerative disorders — time for clinical translation?
Abstract: Stem cell–based approaches have received much hype as potential treatments for neurodegenerative disorders. Indeed, transplantation of stem cells or their derivatives in animal models of neurodegenerative diseases can improve function by replacing the
lost neurons and glial cells and by mediating remyelination, trophic actions, and modulation of inflammation. Endogenous neural stem cells are also potential therapeutic targets because they pro- duce neurons and glial cells in response to injury and could be affected by the degenerative process. As we discuss here, however, significant hurdles remain before these findings can be responsibly translated to novel therapies. In particular, we need to better understand the mechanisms of action of stem cells after transplantation and learn how to control stem cell proliferation, survival, migration, and differentiation in the pathological environment.
Rejuvenation of aged progenitor cells by exposure to a young systemic environment
Abstract: To examine the influence of systemic factors on aged progenitor cells from these tissues, we established parabiotic pairings (that is, a shared circulatory system) between young and old mice (heterochronic parabioses), exposing old mice to factors present in young serum. Notably, heterochronic parabiosis restored the activation of notch signalling as well as the proliferation and regenerative capacity of aged satellite cells. The exposure of satellite cells from old mice to young serum enhanced the expression of the Notch ligand (Delta), increased Notch activation, and enhanced proliferation in vitro. Furthermore, heterochronic parabiosis increased aged hepatocyte proliferation and restored the cEBP-alpha complex to levels seen in young animals. These results suggest that the age-related decline of progenitor cell activity can be modulated by systemic factors that change with age.
[spacer size=”10″] C-Peptide Levels and Insulin Independence Following Autologous Nonmyeloablative Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation in Newly Diagnosed Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus
Context In 2007, the effects of the autologous nonmyeloablative hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) in 15 patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus (DM) were reported. Most patients became insulin free with normal levels of glycated hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) during a mean 18.8-month follow-up. To investigate if this effect was due to preservation of beta-cell mass, continued monitoring was performed of C-peptide levels after stem cell transplantation in the 15 original and 8 additional patients.
Objective To determine C-peptide levels after autologous nonmyeloablative HSCT in patients with newly diagnosed type 1 DM during a longer follow-up.
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