Mash1 and neurogenin 2 enhance survival and differentiation of neural precursor cells after transplantation to rat brains via distinct modes of action

Sang Hoon Yi, A. Young Jo, Chang Hwan Park, Hyun Chul Koh, Rae Hee Park, Haeyoung Suh-Kim, Incheol Shin, Yong Sung Lee, Jaesang Kim, Sang Hun Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations

Abstract

Neural precursor cells (NPCs) are regarded as a promising source of donor cells in transplantation-based therapies for neurodegenerative disorders. However, poor survival and limited neuronal differentiation of the transplanted NPCs remain critical limitations for developing therapeutic strategies. In this study, we investigated the effects of the proneural basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factors Mash1 and Neurogenin 2 (Ngn2) in neuronal differentiation and survival of NPCs. Induction of Mash1 or Ngn2 expression strikingly enhanced neuronal differentiation of cultured NPCs in vitro. Ngn2-transduced NPCs underwent a rapid cell cycle arrest, which often accompanies differentiation. In contrast, cells continuously expanded upon Mash1 expression during NPC differentiation. Notably, sonic hedgehog (SHH) was upregulated by Mash1 and mediated the proliferative and survival effects of Mash1 on NPCs. Upon transplantation into adult rat brains, Mash1-expressing NPCs yielded large grafts enriched with neurons compared to control LacZ-transduced NPCs. Interestingly, enhancements in neuronal yield, as well as in donor cell survival, were also achieved by transplanting Ngn2-transduced NPCs. We show that a differentiation stage- and cell density-dependent survival effect of Ngn2 involves neurotrophin3 (NT3)/TrkC-mediated signaling. Together, these findings suggest potential benefits of bHLH gene manipulation to develop successful transplantation strategies for brain disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1873-1882
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Therapy
Volume16
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - 2008

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