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Santa María de la Isla, Spain

Osorio C.,University of Cardiff | Chacon P.J.,University of Cardiff | Kisiswa L.,University of Cardiff | Kisiswa L.,Karolinska Institutet | And 4 more authors.
Development (Cambridge) | Year: 2013

Dendrite size and morphology are key determinants of the functional properties of neurons. Here, we show that growth differentiation factor 5 (GDF5), a member of the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) subclass of the transforming growth factor β superfamily with a wellcharacterised role in limb morphogenesis, is a key regulator of the growth and elaboration of pyramidal cell dendrites in the developing hippocampus. Pyramidal cells co-express GDF5 and its preferred receptors, BMP receptor 1B and BMP receptor 2, during development. In culture, GDF5 substantially increased dendrite, but not axon, elongation from these neurons by a mechanism that depends on activation of SMADs 1/5/8 and upregulation of the transcription factor HES5. In vivo, the apical and basal dendritic arbours of pyramidal cells throughout the hippocampus were markedly stunted in both homozygous and heterozygous Gdf5 null mutants, indicating that dendrite size and complexity are exquisitely sensitive to the level of endogenous GDF5 synthesis. © 2013. Source


Calado S.M.,University of Algarve | Calado S.M.,New University of Lisbon | Diaz-Corrales F.,CABIMER | Silva G.A.,New University of Lisbon
Human Gene Therapy Methods | Year: 2016

Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is one of the major complications of diabetes mellitus. It is characterized by retinal microvascular changes caused by chronic exposure to hyperglycemia, leading to low tissue oxygenation and ultimately to neovascularization. Laser photocoagulation and vitrectomy are the most efficient treatments for DR, but display severe side effects such as the destruction of the healthy retina. Another clinical approach uses antiangiogenic agents to prevent and delay progression of neovascularization, but these require recurrent local administrations that increase the possibility of retinal detachment, vitreous hemorrhage, and cataract formation. Studies in human diabetic retinas have revealed an imbalance between proangiogenic factors such as the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and antiangiogenic factors, such as pigment epithelial-derived factor (PEDF). This imbalance favors pathological angiogenesis contributing to DR, and can constitute a therapeutic target. Gene therapy was recently shown to be an adequate intervention for long-term treatment of several retinal pathologies. We have previously shown the newly engineered episomal vector pEPito to be able of sustained gene expression in the mouse retina. We here show that pEPito was able to overexpress PEDF for up to three months, both in in vitro cultures of human retinal pigment epithelial cells and in the retina of diabetic mice after a single subretinal injection. In vivo, in parallel with the increase in PEDF we observed a decrease in VEGF levels in injected compared with noninjected eyes and a significant effect on two hallmarks of DR: reduction of glucose transport (by glucose transporter GLUT1), and reduction of inflammation by decreased reactivity of microglia. Jointly, these results point to a significant therapeutic potential of gene therapy with pEPito-PEDF for the treatment of DR. © 2016, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. Source


Bae D.,University College London | Mondragon-Teran P.,University College London | Hernandez D.,University College London | Ruban L.,University College London | And 4 more authors.
Stem Cells and Development | Year: 2012

The efficient differentiation of retinal cells from human pluripotent stem cells remains a major challenge for the development of successful and cost-effective cellular therapies for various forms of blindness. Current differentiation strategies rely on exposing pluripotent stem cells to soluble growth factors that play key roles during early development (such as DKK-1, Noggin, and IGF-1) at 20% oxygen (O2). This O2 tension is, however, considerably higher than O2 levels during organogenesis and may impair the differentiation process. In this study, we examined the effect of mimicking the physiological O2 tension (2%) on the generation of retinal progenitor cells (RPCs) from human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). Both cell types were induced to differentiate into RPCs at 20% and 2% O2. After 3 days in suspension culture as embryoid bodies (EBs), 2% O2 caused the activation of hypoxia inducible factor responsive genes VEGF and LDHA and was accompanied by elevated expression levels of the early eye field genes Six3 and Lhx2. Twenty-one days after plating EBs in an adherent culture, we observed more RPCs co-expressing Pax6 and Chx10 at 2% O2. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction analysis confirmed that lowering O2 tension had caused a rise in the expression of both genes compared with 20% O2. Our results indicate that mimicking physiological O2 is a favorable condition for the efficient generation of RPCs from both hiPSCs and hESCs. © Copyright 2012, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. Source


Delaspre F.,Institute Hospital del Mar dInvestigacions Mediques IMIM | Massumi M.,Institute Hospital del Mar dInvestigacions Mediques IMIM | Massumi M.,Iran National Institute of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology | Salido M.,Institute Hospital del Mar dInvestigacions Mediques IMIM | And 6 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Pluripotent embryonic stem cells (ESC) are a promising cellular system for generating an unlimited source of tissue for the treatment of chronic diseases and valuable in vitro differentiation models for drug testing. Our aim was to direct differentiation of mouse ESC into pancreatic acinar cells, which play key roles in pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer. To that end, ESC were first differentiated as embryoid bodies and sequentially incubated with activin A, inhibitors of Sonic hedgehog (Shh) and bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) pathways, fibroblast growth factors (FGF) and retinoic acid (RA) in order to achieve a stepwise increase in the expression of mRNA transcripts encoding for endodermal and pancreatic progenitor markers. Subsequent plating in Matrigel® and concomitant modulation of FGF, glucocorticoid, and folllistatin signalling pathways involved in exocrine differentiation resulted in a significant increase of mRNAs encoding secretory enzymes and in the number of cells co-expressing their protein products. Also, pancreatic endocrine marker expression was down-regulated and accompanied by a significant reduction in the number of hormone-expressing cells with a limited presence of hepatic marker expressing-cells. These findings suggest a selective activation of the acinar differentiation program. The newly differentiated cells were able to release α-amylase and this feature was greatly improved by lentiviral-mediated expression of Rbpjl and Ptf1a, two transcription factors involved in the maximal production of digestive enzymes. This study provides a novel method to produce functional pancreatic exocrine cells from ESC. © 2013 Delaspre et al. Source


Chakarova C.F.,University College London | Khanna H.,University of Massachusetts Medical School | Shah A.Z.,University College London | Patil S.B.,University of Massachusetts Medical School | And 15 more authors.
Human Molecular Genetics | Year: 2011

We recently reported that mutations in the widely expressed nuclear protein TOPORS (topoisomerase I-binding arginine/serine rich) are associated with autosomal dominant retinal degeneration. However, the precise localization and a functional role of TOPORS in the retina remain unknown. Here, we demonstrate that TOPORS is a novel component of the photoreceptor sensory cilium, which is a modified primary cilium involved with polarized trafficking of proteins. In photoreceptors, TOPORS localizes primarily to the basal bodies of connecting cilium and in the centrosomes of cultured cells. Morpholino-mediated silencing of topors in zebrafish embryos demonstrates in another species a comparable retinal problem as seen in humans, resulting in defective retinal development and failure to form outer segments. These defects can be rescued by mRNA encoding human TOPORS. Taken together, our data suggest that TOPORS may play a key role in regulating primary cilia-dependent photoreceptor development and function. Additionally, it is well known that mutations in other ciliary proteins cause retinal degeneration, which may explain why mutations in TOPORS result in the same phenotype. © The Author 2010. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. Source

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