Turgeman G, Pittman DD, Muller R, Kurkalli BG, Zhou S, Pelled G, Peyser A, Zilberman Y, Moutsatsos IK, Gazit D
. Engineered human mesenchymal stem cells: a novel platform for skeletal cell mediated gene therapy
[Internet]. J Gene Med 2001;3(3):240-51. Publisher's VersionAbstract
BACKGROUND: Human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) are pluripotent cells that can differentiate to various mesenchymal cell types. Recently, a method to isolate hMSCs from bone marrow and expand them in culture was described. Here we report on the use of hMSCs as a platform for gene therapy aimed at bone lesions. METHODS: Bone marrow derived hMSCs were expanded in culture and infected with recombinant adenoviral vector encoding the osteogenic factor, human BMP-2. The osteogenic potential of genetically engineered hMSCs was assessed in vitro and in vivo. RESULTS: Genetically engineered hMSCs displayed enhanced proliferation and osteogenic differentiation in culture. In vivo, transplanted genetically engineered hMSCs were able to engraft and form bone and cartilage in ectopic sites, and regenerate bone defects (non-union fractures) in mice radius bone. Importantly, the same results were obtained with hMSCs isolated from a patient suffering from osteoporosis. CONCLUSIONS: hMSCs represent a novel platform for skeletal gene therapy and the present results suggest that they can be genetically engineered to express desired therapeutic proteins inducing specific differentiation pathways. Moreover, hMSCs obtained from osteoporotic patients can restore their osteogenic activity following human BMP-2 gene transduction, an important finding in the future planning of gene therapy treatment for osteoporosis.
Zhou S, Zilberman Y, Wassermann K, Bain SD, Sadovsky Y, Gazit D
. Estrogen modulates estrogen receptor alpha and beta expression, osteogenic activity, and apoptosis in mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) of osteoporotic mice
[Internet]. J Cell Biochem Suppl 2001;Suppl 36:144-55. Publisher's VersionAbstract
In the mouse, ovariectomy (OVX) leads to significant reductions in cancellous bone volume while estrogen (17beta-estradiol, E2) replacement not only prevents bone loss but can increase bone formation. As the E2-dependent increase in bone formation would require the proliferation and differentiation of osteoblast precursors, we hypothesized that E2 regulates mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) activity in mouse bone marrow. We therefore investigated proliferation, differentiation, apoptosis, and estrogen receptor (ER) alpha and beta expression of primary culture MSCs isolated from OVX and sham-operated mice. MSCs, treated in vitro with 10(-7) M E2, displayed a significant increase in ERalpha mRNA and protein expression as well as alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity and proliferation rate. In contrast, E2 treatment resulted in a decrease in ERbeta mRNA and protein expression as well as apoptosis in both OVX and sham mice. E2 up-regulated the mRNA expression of osteogenic genes for ALP, collagen I, TGF-beta1, BMP-2, and cbfa1 in MSCs. In a comparison of the relative mRNA expression and protein levels for two ER isoforms, ERalpha was the predominant form expressed in MSCs obtained from both OVX and sham-operated mice. Cumulatively, these results indicate that estrogen in vitro directly augments the proliferation and differentiation, ERalpha expression, osteogenic gene expression and, inhibits apoptosis and ERbeta expression in MSCs obtained from OVX and sham-operated mice. Co-expression of ERalpha, but not ERbeta, and osteogenic differentiation markers might indicate that ERalpha function as an activator and ERbeta function as a repressor in the osteogenic differentiation in MSCs. These results suggest that mouse MSCs are anabolic targets of estrogen action, via ERalpha activation. J. Cell. Biochem. Suppl. 36: 144-155, 2001.
Moutsatsos IK, Turgeman G, Zhou S, Kurkalli BG, Pelled G, Tzur L, Kelley P, Stumm N, Mi S, Muller R, Zilberman Y, Gazit D
. Exogenously regulated stem cell-mediated gene therapy for bone regeneration
[Internet]. Mol Ther 2001;3(4):449-61. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Regulated expression of transgene production and function is of great importance for gene therapy. Such regulation can potentially be used to monitor and control complex biological processes. We report here a regulated stem cell-based system for controlling bone regeneration, utilizing genetically engineered mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) harboring a tetracycline-regulated expression vector encoding the osteogenic growth factor human BMP-2. We show that doxycycline (a tetracycline analogue) is able to control hBMP-2 expression and thus control MSC osteogenic differentiation both in vitro and in vivo. Following in vivo transplantation of genetically engineered MSCs, doxycycline administration controlled both bone formation and bone regeneration. Moreover, our findings showed increased angiogenesis accompanied by bone formation whenever genetically engineered MSCs were induced to express hBMP-2 in vivo. Thus, our results demonstrate that regulated gene expression in mesenchymal stem cells can be used as a means to control bone healing.
Alexander JM, Bab I, Fish S, Muller R, Uchiyama T, Gronowicz G, Nahounou M, Zhao Q, White DW, Chorev M, Gazit D, Rosenblatt M
. Human parathyroid hormone 1-34 reverses bone loss in ovariectomized mice
[Internet]. J Bone Miner Res 2001;16(9):1665-73. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The experimental work characterizing the anabolic effect of parathyroid hormone (PTH) in bone has been performed in nonmurine ovariectomized (OVX) animals, mainly rats. A major drawback of these animal models is their inaccessibility to genetic manipulations such as gene knockout and overexpression. Therefore, this study on PTH anabolic activity was carried out in OVX mice that can be manipulated genetically in future studies. Adult Swiss-Webster mice were OVX, and after the fifth postoperative week were treated intermittently with human PTH(1-34) [hPTH(1-34)] or vehicle for 4 weeks. Femoral bones were evaluated by microcomputed tomography (microCT) followed by histomorphometry. A tight correlation was observed between trabecular density (BV/TV) determinations made by both methods. The BV/TV showed >60% loss in the distal metaphysis in 5-week and 9-week post-OVX, non-PTH-treated animals. PTH induced a approximately 35% recovery of this loss and a approximately 40% reversal of the associated decreases in trabecular number (Tb.N) and connectivity. PTH also caused a shift from single to double calcein-labeled trabecular surfaces, a significant enhancement in the mineralizing perimeter and a respective 2- and 3-fold stimulation of the mineral appositional rate (MAR) and bone formation rate (BFR). Diaphyseal endosteal cortical MAR and thickness also were increased with a high correlation between these parameters. These data show that OVX osteoporotic mice respond to PTH by increased osteoblast activity and the consequent restoration of trabecular network. The Swiss-Webster mouse model will be useful in future studies investigating molecular mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis and treatment of osteoporosis, including the mechanisms of action of known and future bone antiresorptive and anabolic agents.
Honigman A, Zeira E, Ohana P, Abramovitz R, Tavor E, Bar I, Zilberman Y, Rabinovsky R, Gazit D, Joseph A, Panet A, Shai E, Palmon A, Laster M, Galun E
. Imaging transgene expression in live animals
[Internet]. Mol Ther 2001;4(3):239-49. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Monitoring the expression of therapeutic genes in targeted tissues in disease models is important to assessing the effectiveness of systems of gene therapy delivery. We applied a new light-detection cooled charged-coupled device (CCCD) camera for continuous in vivo assessment of commonly used gene therapy delivery systems (such as ex vivo manipulated cells, viral vectors, and naked DNA), without the need to kill animals. We examined a variety of criteria related to real-time monitoring of luciferase (luc) gene expression in tissues including bone, muscle, salivary glands, dermis, liver, peritoneum, testis, teeth, prostate, and bladder in living mice and rats. These criteria included determination of the efficiency of infection/transfection of various viral and nonviral delivery systems, promoter specificity, and visualization of luciferase activity, and of the ability of luciferin to reach various organs. The exposure time for detection of luc activity by the CCCD camera is relatively short (approximately 2 minutes) compared with the intensified CCD camera photon-counting method (approximately 15 minutes). Here we transduce a variety of vectors (such as viruses, transfected cells, and naked DNA) by various delivery methods, including electroporation, systemic injection of viruses, and tail-vein, high-velocity-high-volume administration of DNA plasmids. The location, intensity, and duration of luc expression in different organs were determined. The distribution of luciferin is most probably not a barrier for the detection of in vivo luciferase activity. We showed that the CCCD photon detection system is a simple, reproducible, and applicable method that enables the continuous monitoring of a gene delivery system in living animals.