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Nostro M.C.,en Center for Regenerative Medicine | Nostro M.C.,Toronto General Research Institute | Nostro M.C.,University of Toronto | Sarangi F.,en Center for Regenerative Medicine | And 10 more authors.
Stem Cell Reports | Year: 2015

Human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) represent a renewable source of pancreatic beta cells for both basic research and therapeutic applications. Given this outstanding potential, significant efforts have been made to identify the signaling pathways that regulate pancreatic development in hPSC differentiation cultures. In this study, we demonstrate that the combination of epidermal growth factor (EGF) and nicotinamide signaling induces the generation of NKX6-1+ progenitors from all hPSC lines tested. Furthermore, we show that the size of the NKX6-1+ population is regulated by the duration of treatment with retinoic acid, fibroblast growth factor 10 (FGF10), and inhibitors of bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) and hedgehog signaling pathways. Whentransplanted intoNODscid gamma (NSG) recipients, these progenitors differentiate to give rise to exocrine and endocrine cells, includingmonohormonal insulin+ cells. Together, these findings provide an efficient and reproducible strategy for generating highly enriched populations of hPSC-derived beta cell progenitors for studies aimed at further characterizing their developmental potential in vivoand deciphering the pathways that regulate their maturation in vitro.

Korytnikov R.,University of Toronto | Korytnikov R.,en Center for Regenerative Medicine | Nostro M.C.,Toronto General Research Institute
Methods | Year: 2015

Generation of pancreatic β-cells from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) has enormous importance in type 1 diabetes (T1D), as it is fundamental to a treatment strategy based on cellular therapeutics. Being able to generate β-cells, as well as other mature pancreatic cells, from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) will also enable the development of platforms that can be used for disease modeling and drug testing for a variety of pancreas-associated diseases, including cystic fibrosis. For this to occur, it is crucial to develop differentiation strategies that are robust and reproducible across cell lines and laboratories. In this article we describe two serum-free differentiation protocols designed to generate specific pancreatic lineages from hPSCs. Our approach employs a variety of cytokines and small molecules to mimic developmental pathways active during pancreatic organogenesis and allows for the in vitro generation of distinct pancreatic populations. The first protocol is designed to give rise to polyhormonal cells that have the potential to differentiate into glucagon-producing cells. The second protocol is geared to generate multipotent pancreatic progenitor cells, which harbor the potential to generate all pancreatic lineages including: monohormonal endocrine cells, acinar, and ductal cells. © 2015 Elsevier Inc.

Ichim C.V.,University of Toronto | Ichim C.V.,Sunnybrook Research Institute | Atkins H.L.,Ottawa Hospital Research Institute | Iscove N.N.,University of Toronto | And 6 more authors.
Leukemia | Year: 2011

Identification of genes that regulate clonogenicity of acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) cells is hindered by the difficulty of isolating pure populations of cells with defined proliferative abilities. By analyzing the growth of clonal siblings in low passage cultures of the cell line OCI/AML4 we resolved this heterogeneous population into strata of distinct clonogenic potential, permitting analysis of the transcriptional signature of single cells with defined proliferative abilities. By microarray analysis we showed that the expression of the orphan nuclear receptor EAR-2 (NR2F6) is greater in leukemia cells with extensive proliferative capacity than in those that have lost proliferative ability. EAR-2 is expressed highly in long-term hematopoietic stem cells, relative to short-term hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells, and is downregulated in AML cells after induction of differentiation. Exogenous expression of EAR-2 increased the growth of U937 cells and prevented the proliferative arrest associated with terminal differentiation, and blocked differentiation of U937 and 32Dcl3 cells. Conversely, silencing of EAR-2 by short-hairpin RNA initiated terminal differentiation of these cell lines. These data identify EAR-2 as an important factor in the regulation of clonogenicity and differentiation, and establish that analysis of clonal siblings allows the elucidation of differences in gene expression within the AML hierarchy. © 2011 Macmillan Publishers Limited All rights reserved.

Steinbach S.K.,en Center for Regenerative Medicine | Steinbach S.K.,Toronto General Research Institute | El-Mounayri O.,en Center for Regenerative Medicine | El-Mounayri O.,Toronto General Research Institute | And 8 more authors.
Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology | Year: 2011

Objective-The goal of this study was to characterize the factors and conditions required for smooth muscle cell (SMC)-directed differentiation of Sox2 multipotent rat and human skin-derived precursors (SKPs) and to define whether they represent a source of fully functional vascular SMCs for applications in vivo. Methods and results-We found that rat SKPs can differentiate almost exclusively into SMCs by reducing serum concentrations to 0.5% to 2% and plating them at low density. Human SKPs derived from foreskin required the addition of transforming growth factor-β1 or-β3 to differentiate into SMCs, but they did so even in the absence of serum. SMC formation was confirmed by quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, immunocytochemistry, and fluorescence-activated cell sorting, with increased expression of smoothelin-B and little to no expression of telokin or smooth muscle γ-actin, together indicating that SKPs differentiated into vascular rather than visceral SMCs. Rat and human SKP-derived SMCs were able to contract in vitro and also wrap around and support new capillary and larger blood vessel formation in angiogenesis assays in vivo. Conclusion-SKPs are Sox2 progenitors that represent an attainable autologous source of stem cells that can be easily differentiated into functional vascular SMCs in defined serum-free conditions without reprogramming. SKPs represent a clinically viable cell source for potential therapeutic applications in neovascularization. © 2011 American Heart Association, Inc.

Kubo A.,Nara Medical University | Stull R.,VistaGen Therapeutics | Takeuchi M.,Nara Medical University | Bonham K.,VistaGen Therapeutics | And 6 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2011

In order to define the molecular mechanisms regulating the specification and differentiation of pancreatic β-islet cells, we investigated the effect of upregulating Pdx1 and Ngn3 during the differentiation of the β-islet-like cells from murine embryonic stem (ES) cell-derived activin induced-endoderm. Induced overexpression of Pdx1 resulted in a significant upregulation of insulin (Ins1 and Ins2), and other pancreas-related genes. To enhance the developmental progression from the pancreatic bud to the formation of the endocrine lineages, we induced the overexpression express of Ngn3 together with Pdx1. This combination dramatically increased the level and timing of maximal Ins1 mRNA expression to approximately 100% of that found in the βTC6 insulinoma cell line. Insulin protein and C-peptide expression was confirmed by immunohistochemistry staining. These inductive effects were restricted to c-kit + endoderm enriched EB-derived populations suggesting that Pdx1/Ngn3 functions after the specification of pancreatic endoderm. Although insulin secretion was stimulated by various insulin secretagogues, these cells had only limited glucose response. Microarray analysis was used to evaluate the expression of a broad spectrum of pancreatic endocrine cell-related genes as well as genes associated with glucose responses. Taken together, these findings demonstrate the utility of manipulating Pdx1 and Ngn3 expression in a stage-specific manner as an important new strategy for the efficient generation of functionally immature insulin-producing β-islet cells from ES cells. © 2011 Kubo et al.

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