Stem Cell


Protocols in Current Issue
Protocols in Past Issues
0 Q&A 1124 Views Sep 5, 2022

Skeletal muscle stem cells differentiated from human-induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) serve as a uniquely promising model system for investigating human myogenesis and disease pathogenesis, and for the development of gene editing and regenerative stem cell therapies. Here, we present an effective and reproducible transgene-free protocol for derivation of human skeletal muscle stem cells, iMyoblasts, from hiPSCs. Our two-step protocol consists of 1) small molecule-based differentiation of hiPSCs into myocytes, and 2) stimulation of differentiated myocytes with growth factor-rich medium to activate the proliferation of undifferentiated reserve cells, for expansion and cell line establishment. iMyoblasts are PAX3+/MyoD1+ myogenic stem cells with dual potential to undergo muscle differentiation and to self-renew as a regenerative cell population for muscle regeneration both ex vivo and in vivo. The simplicity and robustness of iMyoblast generation and expansion have enabled their application to model the molecular pathogenesis of Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy and Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophies, to both ex vivo and in vivo muscle xenografts, and to respond efficiently to gene editing, enabling the co-development of gene correction and stem cell regenerative therapeutic technologies for the treatment of muscular dystrophies and muscle injury.

Graphical abstract:

0 Q&A 1341 Views Jul 20, 2022

To optimize differentiation protocols for stem cell-based in vitro modeling applications, it is essential to assess the change in gene expression during the differentiation process. This allows controlling its differentiation efficiency into the target cell types. While RNA transcriptomics provides detail at a larger scale, timing and cost are prohibitive to include such analyses in the optimization process. In contrast, expression analysis of individual genes is cumbersome and lengthy.

Here, we developed a versatile and cost-efficient SYBR Green array of 27 markers along with two housekeeping genes to quickly screen for differentiation efficiency of human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) into excitatory cortical neurons. We first identified relevant pluripotency, neuroprogenitor, and neuronal markers for the array by literature search, and designed primers with a product size of 80-120 bp length, an annealing temperature of 60°C, and minimal predicted secondary structures. We spotted combined forward and reverse primers on 96-well plates and dried them out overnight. These plates can be prepared in advance in batches and stored at room temperature until use. Next, we added the SYBR Green master mix and complementary DNA (cDNA) to the plate in triplicates, ran quantitative PCR (qPCR) on a Quantstudio 6 Flex, and analyzed results with QuantStudio software.

We compared the expression of genes for pluripotency, neuroprogenitor cells, cortical neurons, and synaptic markers in a 96-well format at four different time points during the cortical differentiation. We found a sharp reduction of pluripotency genes within the first three days of pre-differentiation and a steady increase of neuronal markers and synaptic markers over time. In summary, we built a gene expression array that is customizable, fast, medium-throughput, and cost-efficient, ideally suited for optimization of differentiation protocols for stem cell-based in vitro modeling.

0 Q&A 1833 Views Mar 20, 2022

As a model to interrogate human macrophage biology, macrophages differentiated from human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) transcend other existing models by circumventing the variability seen in human monocyte-derived macrophages, whilst epitomizing macrophage phenotypic and functional characteristics over those offered by macrophage-like cell lines (Mukherjee et al., 2018). Furthermore, hiPSCs are amenable to genetic manipulation, unlike human monocyte-derived macrophages (MDMs) (van Wilgenburg et al., 2013; Lopez-Yrigoyen et al., 2020), proposing boundless opportunities for specific disease modelling.

We outline an effective and efficient protocol that delivers a continual production of hiPSC-derived-macrophages (iMACs), exhibiting human macrophage surface and intracellular markers, together with functional activity.

The protocol describes the resuscitation, culture, and differentiation of hiPSC into mature terminal macrophages, via the initial and intermediate steps of expansion of hiPSCs, formation into embryoid bodies (EBs), and generation of hematopoietic myeloid precursors.

We offer a simplified, scalable, and adaptable technique that advances upon other protocols, utilizing feeder-free conditions and reduced growth factors, to produce high yields of consistent iMACs over a period of several months, economically.

0 Q&A 1835 Views Jan 20, 2022

Planarians are free-living flatworms that emerged as a crucial model system to understand regeneration and stem cell biology. The ability to purify neoblasts, the adult stem cell population of planaria, through fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) has tremendously increased our understanding of pluripotency, specialization, and heterogeneity. To date, the FACS-based purification methods for neoblasts relied on nuclear dyes that discriminate proliferating cells (>2N), as neoblasts are the only dividing somatic cells. However, this method does not distinguish the functional states within the neoblast population. Our work has shown that among the neoblasts, the pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) are associated with low mitochondrial content and this property could be leveraged for purification of the PSC-enriched population. Using the mitochondrial dye MitoTracker Green (MTG) and the nuclear dye SiR-DNA, we have described a method for isolation of PSCs that are viable and compatible with downstream experiments, such as transplantation and cell culture. In this protocol, we provide a detailed description for sample preparation and FACS gating for neoblast isolation in planaria.

0 Q&A 1828 Views Nov 5, 2021

High-throughput 3D spheroid formation from human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) can be easily performed using the unique microfabric vessels EZSPHERE, resulting in effective and large scale generation of differentiated cells such as cardiomyocytes or neurons. Such hiPSC-derived cardiomyocytes (hiPSC-CMs) or neurons are very useful in the fields of regenerative medicine or cell-based drug safety tests. Previous studies indicated that 3D spheroids arising from hiPSCs are effectively differentiated into high quality hiPSC-CMs by controlling Wnt signals through utilization of the microfabric vessels EZSPHERE. Here, we describe a simple and highly efficient protocol for generating a large number of uniformly sized hiPSC spheroids and inducing them for cardiac differentiation using the EZSPHERE. This method comprises the collection and dissociation of the spheroids from cardiac differentiation medium, in the middle stage of the whole cardiac differentiation process, and re-seeding the obtained single cells into the EZSPHERE to re-aggregate them into uniform hiPSC-CM spheroids with controlled size. This re-aggregation process promotes non-canonical Wnt signal-related cardiac development and improves the purity and maturity of the hiPSC-CMs generated.

Graphic abstract:

Overview of cardiac differentiation from iPSCs by spheroid formation and reaggregation using EZSPHERE.

0 Q&A 1655 Views Sep 5, 2021

MicroRNAs are small RNAs that negatively regulate gene expression and play an important role in fine-tuning molecular pathways during development. There is increasing interest in studying their function in the kidney, but the majority of studies to date use kidney cell lines and assess the total amounts of miRNAs of interest either by qPCR or by high-throughput methods such as next generation sequencing. However, this provides little information as to the distribution of the miRNAs in the developing kidney, which is crucial in deciphering their role, especially as there are multiple kidney cell types, each with its own specific transcriptome. Thus, we present a protocol for obtaining spatial information for miRNA expression during kidney development by in situ hybridization (ISH) of anti-miRNA, digoxigenin-labelled (DIG), Locked Nucleic Acid (LNA®) probes on (i) native human embryonic tissue and (ii) human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC)-derived 3D kidney organoids that model kidney development. We found that the method reveals the precise localization of miRNA in specific anatomical structures and/or cell types and confirms their absence from others, thus informing as to their specific role during development.

0 Q&A 3685 Views Jun 20, 2021

Human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) have been extensively used in the fields of developmental biology and disease modeling. CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing in iPSC lines often has a low frequency, which hampers its application in precise allele editing of disease-associated single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), especially those in the noncoding parts of the genome. Here, we present a unique workflow to engineer isogenic iPSC lines by SNP editing from heterozygous to homozygous for disease risk alleles or non-risk alleles using a transient and straightforward transfection-based protocol. This protocol enables us to simultaneously obtain pure and clonal isogenic lines of all three possible genotypes of a SNP site within about 4 to 5 weeks.

0 Q&A 3780 Views Jun 5, 2021

Three-dimensional cell cultures (“organoids”) promise to better recapitulate native tissue physiology than traditional 2D cultures and are becoming increasingly interesting for disease modeling and compound screening efforts. While a number of protocols for the generation of neural organoids have been published, most protocols require extensive manual handling and result in heterogeneous aggregates with high sample-to-sample variation, which can hinder screening-based strategies. We have now developed a fast and efficient protocol for the generation and maintenance of highly homogeneous and reproducible midbrain organoids. The protocol is streamlined for use in fully automated workflows but can also be performed manually without the need for highly specialized equipment. It relies on the aggregation of small molecule neural precursor cells (smNPCs) in standard 96-well V-bottomed plates under static culture conditions without cumbersome matrix embedding. The result is ready-to-assay uniform 3D human midbrain organoids available in freely scalable quantities for downstream analyses in 3D cell culture

Graphic abstract:

Automated midbrain organoid generation workflow and timeline

0 Q&A 3847 Views Apr 20, 2021

Odor-detecting olfactory sensory neurons residing in the nasal olfactory epithelium (OE) are the only neurons in direct contact with the external environment. As a result, these neurons are subjected to chemical, physical, and infectious insults, which may be the underlying reason why neurogenesis occurs in the OE of adult mammals. This feature makes the OE a useful model for studying neurogenesis and neuronal differentiation, with the possibility for systemic as well as local administration of various compounds and infectious agents that may interfere with these cellular processes. Several different chemical compounds have been shown to cause toxic injury to the OE, which can be used for OE ablation. We, and others, have found that the systemic administration of the hyperthyroid drug, methimazole, reliably causes olfactotoxicity as a side effect. Here, we outline an OE lesioning protocol for single or repeated ablation by methimazole. A single methimazole administration can be used to study neuroepithelial regeneration and stem cell activation, while repeated ablation and regeneration of OE enable the study of tissue stem cell exhaustion and generation of tissue metaplasia.

2 Q&A 5218 Views Mar 5, 2021

The high attrition rate in drug development processes calls for additional human-based model systems. However, in the context of brain disorders, sampling live neuronal cells for compound testing is not applicable. The use of human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) has revolutionized the field of neuronal disease modeling and drug discovery. Thanks to the development of iPSC-based neuronal differentiation protocols, including tridimensional cerebral organoids, it is now possible to molecularly dissect human neuronal development and human brain disease pathogenesis in a dish. These approaches may allow dissecting patient-specific treatment efficacy in a disease-relevant cellular context. For drug discovery approaches, however, a highly reproducible and cost-effective cell model is desirable. Here, we describe a step-by-step process for generating robust and expandable neural progenitor cells (NPCs) from human iPSCs. NPCs generated with this protocol are homogeneous and highly proliferative. These features make NPCs suitable for the development of high-throughput compound screenings for drug discovery. Human iPSC-derived NPCs show a metabolism dependent on mitochondrial activity and can therefore be used also to investigate neurological disorders in which mitochondrial function is affected. The protocol covers all steps necessary for the preparation, culture, and characterization of human iPSC-derived NPCs.

Graphic abstract:

Schematic of the protocol for the generation of human iPSC-derived NPCs

We use cookies on this site to enhance your user experience. By using our website, you are agreeing to allow the storage of cookies on your computer.