Stem Cell


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0 Q&A 394 Views Jun 20, 2024

The intricate composition, heterogeneity, and hierarchical organization of the human bone marrow hematopoietic microenvironment (HME) present challenges for experimentation, which is primarily due to the scarcity of HME-forming cells, notably bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs). The limited understanding of non-hematopoietic cell phenotypes complicates the unraveling of the HME’s intricacies and necessitates a precise isolation protocol for systematic studies. The protocol presented herein puts special emphasis on the accuracy and high quality of BMSCs obtained for downstream sequencing analysis. Utilizing CD45 and CD235a as negative markers ensures sufficient enrichment of non-hematopoietic cells within the HME. By adding positive selection based on CD271 expression, this protocol allows for selectively isolating the rare and pivotal bona fide stromal cell population with high precision. The outlined step-by-step protocol provides a robust tool for isolating and characterizing non-hematopoietic cells, including stromal cells, from human bone marrow preparations. This approach thus contributes valuable information to promote research in a field that is marked by a scarcity of studies and helps to conduct important experimentation that will deepen our understanding of the intricate cellular interactions within the bone marrow niche.

0 Q&A 532 Views Oct 5, 2023

Adult neural stem/progenitor cells (NSPCs) in two neurogenic areas of the brain, the dentate gyrus and the subventricular zone, are major players in adult neurogenesis. Addressing specific questions regarding NSPCs outside of their niche entails in vitro studies through isolation and culture of these cells. As there is heterogeneity in their morphology, proliferation, and differentiation capacity between these two neurogenic areas, NSPCs should be isolated from each area through specific procedures and media. Identifying region-specific NPSCs provides an accurate pathway for assessing the effects of extrinsic factors and drugs on these cells and investigating the mechanisms of neurogenesis in both healthy and pathologic conditions. A great number of isolation and expansion techniques for NSPCs have been reported. The growth and expansion of NSPCs obtained from the dentate gyrus of aged rats are generally difficult. There are relatively limited data and protocols about NSPCs isolation and their culture from aged rats. Our approach is an efficient and reliable strategy to isolate and expand NSPCs obtained from young adult and aged rats. NSPCs isolated by this method maintain their self-renewal and multipotency.


Key features

• NSPCs isolated from the hippocampal dentate gyrus of young adult and aged rats, based on Kempermann et al. (2014) and Aligholi et al. (2014).

• Maintenance of NSPCs isolated from the dentate gyrus of aged rats (20–24 months) in our culture condition is feasible.

• According to our protocol, maximum growth of primary neurospheres obtained from isolated NSPCs of young and aged rats took 15 and 35 days, respectively.


Graphical overview



Isolation and expansion of neural stem/progenitor cells

0 Q&A 383 Views Sep 5, 2023

Adult stem cells play key roles in homeostasis and tissue repair. These cells are regulated by a tight control of transcriptional programs. For example, muscle stem cells (MuSCs), located beneath the basal lamina, exist in the quiescent state but can transition to an activated, proliferative state upon injury. The control of MuSC state depends on the expression levels of myogenic transcription factors. Recent studies revealed the presence of different mRNA isoforms, with distinct biological regulation. Quantifying the exact expression levels of the mRNA isoforms encoding these myogenic transcription factors is therefore key to understanding how MuSCs switch between cell states. Previously, quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) has been used to quantify RNA expression levels. However, qRT-PCR depends on large amounts of RNA input and only measures relative abundance. Here, we present a protocol for the absolute quantification of mRNA isoforms using microfluidic digital PCR (mdPCR). Primary MuSCs isolated from individual skeletal muscles (gastrocnemius and masseter) are lysed, and their RNA is reverse-transcribed into cDNA and copied into double-stranded DNA. Following exonuclease I digestion to remove remaining single-stranded DNA, the samples are loaded onto a mdPCR chip with TaqMan probes targeting the mRNA isoforms of interest, whereupon target molecules are amplified in nanoliter chambers. We demonstrate that mdPCR can give exact molecule counts per cell for mRNA isoforms encoding the myogenic transcription factor Pax3. This protocol enables the absolute quantification of low abundant mRNA isoforms in a fast, precise, and reliable way.


Graphical overview



Schematic overview of the workflow. (A) Isolation of individual muscles (gastrocnemius and masseter) from C57/BL6 mice followed by digestion using collagenase II and dispase. (B) Sorting of 500 cells directly into PCR tubes using fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS). (C) Reverse transcription of mRNA to cDNA. (D) Polymerase reaction to generate a duplicated cDNA product. (E) Exonuclease I digestion to remove remaining single-stranded DNA and the non-hybridized primers. (F) Denaturation step to inactivate exonuclease I. (G) Loading the samples into the microfluidic chip. (H) Running the TaqMan Digital PCR assay in the Fluidigm Biomark HD real-time PCR machine. (I) Data analysis using the Digital PCR software.

0 Q&A 776 Views Aug 20, 2023

Kidney diseases are a global health concern. Modeling of kidney disease for translational research is often challenging because of species specificities or the postmitotic status of kidney epithelial cells that make primary cultures, for example podocytes. Here, we report a protocol for preparing primary cultures of podocytes based on the isolation and in vitro propagation of immature kidney progenitor cells subsequently differentiated into mature podocytes. This protocol can be useful for studying physiology and pathophysiology of human kidney progenitors and to obtain differentiated podocytes for modeling podocytopathies and other kidney disorders involving podocytes.


Graphical overview


0 Q&A 312 Views Mar 20, 2023

Adult stem cells not only maintain tissue homeostasis but are also critical for tissue regeneration during injury. Skeletal stem cells are multipotent stem cells that can even generate bones and cartilage upon transplantation to an ectopic site. This tissue generation process requires essential stem cell characteristics including self-renewal, engraftment, proliferation, and differentiation in the microenvironment. Our research team has successfully characterized and isolated skeletal stem cells (SSCs) from the cranial suture called suture stem cells (SuSCs), which are responsible for craniofacial bone development, homeostasis, and injury-induced repair. To assess their stemness features, we have demonstrated the use of kidney capsule transplantation for an in vivo clonal expansion study. The results show bone formation at a single-cell level, thus permitting a faithful assessment of stem cell numbers at the ectopic site. The sensitivity in assessing stem cell presence permits using kidney capsule transplantation to determine stem cell frequency by limiting dilution assay. Here, we described detailed protocols for kidney capsule transplantation and limiting dilution assay. These methods are extremely valuable both for the evaluation of skeletogenic ability and the determination of stem cell frequency.

0 Q&A 807 Views Mar 5, 2023

In mammals, the skin comprises several distinct cell populations that are organized into the following layers: epidermis (stratum corneum, stratum granulosum, stratum spinosum, and basal layer), basement membrane, dermis, and hypodermal (subcutaneous fat) layers. It is vital to identify the exact location and function of proteins in different skin layers. Laser capture microdissection (LCM) is an effective technique for obtaining pure cell populations from complex tissue sections for disease-specific genomic and proteomic analysis. In this study, we used LCM to isolate different skin layers, constructed a stratified developmental lineage proteome map of human skin that incorporates spatial protein distribution, and obtained new insights into the role of extracellular matrix (ECM) on stem cell regulation.

0 Q&A 694 Views Jan 20, 2023

Primary hematopoietic stem and progenitor cell (HSPC)-derived megakaryocytes are a valuable tool for translational research interrogating disease pathogenesis and developing new therapeutic avenues for patients with hematologic disorders including myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs). Thrombopoietin (TPO)-independent proliferation and megakaryocyte differentiation play a central role in the pathogenesis of essential thrombocythemia and myelofibrosis, two MPN subtypes that are characterized by increased numbers of bone marrow megakaryocytes and somatic mutations in either JAK2, CALR, or MPL. However, current culture strategies generally use healthy HSPCs for megakaryocyte production and are not optimized for the investigation of TPO-independent or TPO-hypersensitive growth and megakaryocyte-directed differentiation of primary patient–derived HSPCs. Here, we describe a detailed protocol covering all necessary steps for the isolation of CD34+ HSPCs from the peripheral blood of MPN patients and the subsequent TPO-independent differentiation into CD41+ megakaryocytes using both a collagen-based colony assay and a liquid culture assay. This protocol provides a novel, reproducible, and cost-effective approach for investigating megakaryocyte growth and differentiation properties from primary MPN patient cells that can be easily adapted for research on other megakaryocyte-related disorders.


Graphical abstract



Schematic representation of the isolation of CD34+ progenitor cells and subsequent TPO-independent megakaryocyte differentiation

0 Q&A 1346 Views Jul 20, 2022

Limbal mesenchymal stromal cells (LMSC), a cellular component of the limbal stem cell niche, have the capability of determining the fate of limbal epithelial progenitor cells (LEPC), which are responsible for the homeostasis of corneal epithelium. However, the isolation of these LMSC has proven to be difficult due to the small fraction of LMSC in the total limbal population, and primary cultures are always hampered by contamination with other cell types. We recently published the efficient isolation and functional characterization of LMSC from the human corneal limbus using CD90 as a selective marker. We observed that flow sorting yielded a pure population of LMSC with superior self-renewal capacity and transdifferentiation potential, and supported the maintenance of the LEPC phenotype. Here, we describe an optimized protocol for the isolation of LMSC from cadaveric corneal limbal tissue by combined collagenase digestion and flow sorting with expansion of LMSC on plastic.


Graphical abstract:




0 Q&A 1922 Views Jun 5, 2022

Transplantation of hematopoietic material into recipient mice is an assay routinely used to determine the presence and function of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) in vivo. The principle of the method is to transplant donor cells being tested for HSPCs into a recipient mouse following bone marrow ablation and testing for reconstitution of hematopoiesis. Congenic mouse strains where donor and recipient differ by a distinct cell surface antigen (commonly CD45.1 versus CD45.2) are used to distinguish between cells derived from the donor and any residual recipient cells. Typically, the transplantation is performed using bone marrow cells, which are enriched for HSPCs. Here, we describe an analogous procedure using hematopoietic material from spleen, allowing detection of functional progenitors and/or stem cells in the spleen that can occur under certain pathologies. Key to the success of this procedure is the prior removal of mature T cells from the donor sample, to minimize graft versus host reactions. As such, this protocol is highly analogous to standard bone marrow transplant procedures, differing mainly only in the source of stem cells (spleen rather than bone marrow) and the recommendation for T cell depletion to avoid potential immune incompatibilities.


Graphical abstract:



Schematic overview for assessment of stem cells in spleen by transplantation. Single cell suspensions from spleens are depleted of potentially pathogenic mature T lymphocytes by magnetic bead immunoselection using biotinylated antibodies against CD4 and CD8, followed by streptavidin magnetic beads, which are subsequently removed by using a magnet (MojoSort, Biolegend). Successful T cell depletion is then evaluated by Fluorescence Activated Cell Sorting (FACS). T-cell depleted cell suspension is injected intravenously through the retro-orbital sinus into lethally irradiated recipients. Recipients are analyzed for successful engraftment by FACS analysis for the presence of donor-derived mature hematopoietic lineages in the peripheral blood. A second serial transplantation can be used to document the presence of long-term reconstituting stem cells in the periphery of the original donor mice.


1 Q&A 1772 Views Apr 5, 2022

Craniofacial anomalies (CFA) are a diverse group of deformities, which affect the growth of the head and face. Dysregulation of cranial neural crest cell (NCC) migration, proliferation, differentiation, and/or cell fate specification have been reported to contribute to CFA. Understanding of the mechanisms through which cranial NCCs contribute for craniofacial development may lead to identifying meaningful clinical targets for the prevention and treatment of CFA. Isolation and culture of cranial NCCs in vitro facilitates screening and analyses of molecular cellular mechanisms of cranial NCCs implicated in craniofacial development. Here, we present a method for the isolation and culture of cranial NCCs harvested from the first branchial arch at early embryonic stages. Morphology of isolated cranial NCCs was similar to O9-1 cells, a cell line for neural crest stem cells. Moreover, cranial NCCs isolated from a transgenic mouse line with enhanced bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling in NCCs showed an increase in their chondrogenic differentiation capacity, suggesting maintenance of their in vivo differentiation potentials observed in vitro. Taken together, our established method is useful to visualize cellular behaviors of cranial NCCs.




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