Publications by authors named "Andrea E M Seiler"

15 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

An integrative microfluidically supported in vitro model of an endothelial barrier combined with cortical spheroids simulates effects of neuroinflammation in neocortex development.

Biomicrofluidics 2016 Jul 5;10(4):044102. Epub 2016 Jul 5.

Institute of Biochemistry II, Jena University Hospital, Jena, Germany and Center for Sepsis Control and Care, Jena University Hospital, Jena, Germany

The development of therapeutic substances to treat diseases of the central nervous system is hampered by the tightness and selectivity of the blood-brain barrier. Moreover, testing of potential drugs is time-consuming and cost-intensive. Here, we established a new microfluidically supported, biochip-based model of the brain endothelial barrier in combination with brain cortical spheroids suitable to detect effects of neuroinflammation upon disruption of the endothelial layer in response to inflammatory signals. Unilateral perfusion of the endothelial cell layer with a cytokine mix comprising tumor necrosis factor, IL-1β, IFNγ, and lipopolysaccharide resulted in a loss of endothelial von Willebrand factor and VE-cadherin expression accompanied with an increased leakage of the endothelial layer and diminished endothelial cell viability. In addition, cytokine treatment caused a loss of neocortex differentiation markers Tbr1, Tbr2, and Pax6 in the cortical spheroids concomitant with reduced cell viability and spheroid integrity. From these observations, we conclude that our endothelial barrier/cortex model is suitable to specifically reflect cytokine-induced effects on barrier integrity and to uncover damage and impairment of cortical tissue development and viability. With all its limitations, the model represents a novel tool to study cross-communication between the brain endothelial barrier and underlying cortical tissue that can be utilized for toxicity and drug screening studies focusing on inflammation and neocortex formation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4955184DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4947035PMC
July 2016

Classification of reproductive toxicants with diverse mechanisms in the embryonic stem cell test.

J Toxicol Sci 2015 Dec;40(6):809-15

Department of Experimental Toxicology and ZEBET, German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), Germany.

The embryonic stem cell test (EST) is a promising system to detect embryotoxicity in vitro. Recent studies have pointed out some limitations of the EST and suggest that the applicability domain of the EST and its prediction model have to be better defined. Here, eight substances of known reproductive toxicity were tested in the EST under blind conditions. We applied the prediction model to the data of the EST after classifying the substances according to the published criteria. In addition, a simplified classification of the EST results into two classes as an approach to hazard assessment was compared to the European Union Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) Regulation labels of the substances. With one exception, substances that are labeled as reproductive toxicants according to the CLP Regulation were detected as embryotoxic in the EST while substances without label were found to be non-embryotoxic according to the EST.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2131/jts.40.809DOI Listing
December 2015

microRNA Profiling as Tool for Developmental Neurotoxicity Testing (DNT).

Curr Protoc Toxicol 2015 May 4;64:20.9.1-20.9.22. Epub 2015 May 4.

Department of Chemicals and Products Safety, German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), Berlin, Germany.

microRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNA molecules functioning as post-transcriptional regulators of gene expression. miRNAs play a significant role in organism development, regulating developmental timing, cell differentiation, and specification. In the developing brain, miRNAs regulate neural stem cell differentiation, lineage specification, synaptogenesis, and brain morphogenesis. Temporal and spatial specificity of miRNA expression make them an attractive marker to study cellular responses to toxicant exposure. Neural differentiation of murine embryonic stem cells (mESCs) has been established as an alternative method to study developmental neurotoxicity (DNT) in vitro. This unit will describe a method for miRNA profiling (miRNomics) as a molecular end point to study developmental neurotoxicity. A protocol for neural differentiation of mESC will be described as a cellular model for DNT testing. The miRNomics protocol is versatile and can be used with other DNT cellular systems such as primary cultures, human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), or induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/0471140856.tx2009s64DOI Listing
May 2015

Loss of CDK5RAP2 affects neural but not non-neural mESC differentiation into cardiomyocytes.

Cell Cycle 2015 ;14(13):2044-57

a Institute of Cell Biology and Neurobiology; Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin; Campus Mitte ; Berlin , Germany.

Biallelic mutations in the gene encoding centrosomal CDK5RAP2 lead to autosomal recessive primary microcephaly (MCPH), a disorder characterized by pronounced reduction in volume of otherwise architectonical normal brains and intellectual deficit. The current model for the microcephaly phenotype in MCPH invokes a premature shift from symmetric to asymmetric neural progenitor-cell divisions with a subsequent depletion of the progenitor pool. The isolated neural phenotype, despite the ubiquitous expression of CDK5RAP2, and reports of progressive microcephaly in individual MCPH cases prompted us to investigate neural and non-neural differentiation of Cdk5rap2-depleted and control murine embryonic stem cells (mESC). We demonstrate an accumulating proliferation defect of neurally differentiating Cdk5rap2-depleted mESC and cell death of proliferative and early postmitotic cells. A similar effect does not occur in non-neural differentiation into beating cardiomyocytes, which is in line with the lack of non-central nervous system features in MCPH patients. Our data suggest that MCPH is not only caused by premature differentiation of progenitors, but also by reduced propagation and survival of neural progenitors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15384101.2015.1044169DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4613649PMC
April 2016

MicroRNA profiling as tool for in vitro developmental neurotoxicity testing: the case of sodium valproate.

PLoS One 2014 4;9(6):e98892. Epub 2014 Jun 4.

Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), Berlin, Germany.

Studying chemical disturbances during neural differentiation of murine embryonic stem cells (mESCs) has been established as an alternative in vitro testing approach for the identification of developmental neurotoxicants. miRNAs represent a class of small non-coding RNA molecules involved in the regulation of neural development and ESC differentiation and specification. Thus, neural differentiation of mESCs in vitro allows investigating the role of miRNAs in chemical-mediated developmental toxicity. We analyzed changes in miRNome and transcriptome during neural differentiation of mESCs exposed to the developmental neurotoxicant sodium valproate (VPA). A total of 110 miRNAs and 377 mRNAs were identified differently expressed in neurally differentiating mESCs upon VPA treatment. Based on miRNA profiling we observed that VPA shifts the lineage specification from neural to myogenic differentiation (upregulation of muscle-abundant miRNAs, mir-206, mir-133a and mir-10a, and downregulation of neural-specific mir-124a, mir-128 and mir-137). These findings were confirmed on the mRNA level and via immunochemistry. Particularly, the expression of myogenic regulatory factors (MRFs) as well as muscle-specific genes (Actc1, calponin, myosin light chain, asporin, decorin) were found elevated, while genes involved in neurogenesis (e.g. Otx1, 2, and Zic3, 4, 5) were repressed. These results were specific for valproate treatment and--based on the following two observations--most likely due to the inhibition of histone deacetylase (HDAC) activity: (i) we did not observe any induction of muscle-specific miRNAs in neurally differentiating mESCs exposed to the unrelated developmental neurotoxicant sodium arsenite; and (ii) the expression of muscle-abundant mir-206 and mir-10a was similarly increased in cells exposed to the structurally different HDAC inhibitor trichostatin A (TSA). Based on our results we conclude that miRNA expression profiling is a suitable molecular endpoint for developmental neurotoxicity. The observed lineage shift into myogenesis, where miRNAs may play an important role, could be one of the developmental neurotoxic mechanisms of VPA.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0098892PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4045889PMC
August 2015

Uncoupling protein 2 and 4 expression pattern during stem cell differentiation provides new insight into their putative function.

PLoS One 2014 11;9(2):e88474. Epub 2014 Feb 11.

Institute of Physiology, Pathophysiology and Biophysics, University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, Austria ; Institute of Cell Biology and Neurobiology, Charité - Universitätsmedizin, Berlin, Germany.

Apart from the first family member, uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1), the functions of other UCPs (UCP2-UCP5) are still unknown. In analyzing our own results and those previously published by others, we have assumed that UCP's cellular expression pattern coincides with a specific cell metabolism and changes if the latter is altered. To verify this hypothesis, we analyzed the expression of UCP1-5 in mouse embryonic stem cells before and after their differentiation to neurons. We have shown that only UCP2 is present in undifferentiated stem cells and it disappears simultaneously with the initiation of neuronal differentiation. In contrast, UCP4 is simultaneously up-regulated together with typical neuronal marker proteins TUJ-1 and NeuN during mESC differentiation in vitro as well as during murine brain development in vivo. Notably, several tested cell lines express UCP2, but not UCP4. In line with this finding, neuroblastoma cells that display metabolic features of tumor cells express UCP2, but not UCP4. UCP2's occurrence in cancer, immunological and stem cells indicates that UCP2 is present in cells with highly proliferative potential, which have a glycolytic type of metabolism as a common feature, whereas UCP4 is strongly associated with non-proliferative highly differentiated neuronal cells.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0088474PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3921169PMC
October 2014

The DNT-EST: a predictive embryonic stem cell-based assay for developmental neurotoxicity testing in vitro.

Toxicology 2013 Dec 2;314(1):135-47. Epub 2013 Oct 2.

German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), Department of Experimental Toxicology and ZEBET, Max-Dohrn-Strasse 8-10, 10589 Berlin, Germany.

As the developing brain is exquisitely vulnerable to chemical disturbances, testing for developmental neurotoxicity of a substance is an important aspect of characterizing its tissue specific toxicity. Mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs) can be differentiated toward a neural phenotype, and this can be used as a model for early brain development. We developed a new in vitro assay using mESCs to predict adverse effects of chemicals and other compounds on neural development - the so-called DNT-EST. After treatment of differentiating stem cells for 48h or 72h, at two key developmental stages endpoint for neural differentiation, viability, and proliferation were assessed. As a reference, we similarly treated undifferentiated stem cells 2 days after plating for 48h or 72h in parallel to the differentiating stem cells. Here, we show that chemical testing of a training set comprising nine substances (six substances of known developmental toxicity and three without specific developmental neurotoxicity) enabled a mathematical prediction model to be formulated that provided 100% predictivity and accuracy for the given substances, including in leave-one-out cross-validation. The described test method can be performed within two weeks, including data analysis, and provides a prediction of the developmental neurotoxicity potency of a substance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tox.2013.09.012DOI Listing
December 2013

Reconsidering pluripotency tests: do we still need teratoma assays?

Stem Cell Res 2013 Jul 26;11(1):552-62. Epub 2013 Mar 26.

SET Foundation, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

The induction of teratoma in mice by the transplantation of stem cells into extra-uterine sites has been used as a read-out for cellular pluripotency since the initial description of this phenomenon in 1954. Since then, the teratoma assay has remained the assay of choice to demonstrate pluripotency, gaining prominence during the recent hype surrounding human stem cell research. However, the scientific significance of the teratoma assay has been debated due to the fact that transplanted cells are exposed to a non-physiological environment. Since many mice are used for a result that is heavily questioned, it is time to reconsider the teratoma assay from an ethical point of view. Candidate alternatives to the teratoma assay comprise the directed differentiation of pluripotent stem cells into organotypic cells, differentiation of cells in embryoid bodies, the analysis of pluripotency-associated biomarkers with high correlation to the teratoma forming potential of stem cells, predictive epigenetic footprints, or a combination of these technologies. Each of these assays is capable of addressing one or more aspects of pluripotency, however it is essential that these assays are validated to provide an accepted robust, reproducible alternative. In particular, the rapidly expanding number of human induced pluripotent stem cell lines, requires the development of simple, affordable standardized in vitro and in silico assays to reduce the number of animal experiments performed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scr.2013.03.001DOI Listing
July 2013

Reference genes in the developing murine brain and in differentiating embryonic stem cells.

Neurol Res 2012 Sep 26;34(7):664-8. Epub 2012 Jun 26.

Institute of Neuroanatomy and Cell Biology, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany.

Objectives: Gene expression analysis via quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) is a key approach in biological and medical research. Here, variations between runs and samples are compensated for by in-parallel analysis of reference genes, which require a most stable expression throughout all samples and experimental procedures to function as internal standards. In reality, there is no universal reference gene; but rather, assumed reference genes vary widely among various cell types. This demands an evaluation of reference genes for each specific experimental purpose, especially in the case of developmental studies. The aim of the present study was to identify suitable reference genes for gene expression analysis in the developing murine brain neocortex in vivo and in mouse embryonic stem cells (mESC) throughout differentiation in vitro.

Methods: The five candidate genes Actb, 18s, Gapdh, Hprt, and RpII were analyzed throughout development in vivo and in vitro using the quartiles of C(q) values, fold change, coefficient of variation (CV) and the difference between maximum minus twofold standard deviation and mean as the criteria to evaluate their expression stability.

Results: We found that RpII was the most stable expressed gene in mESC throughout differentiation, while in the developing murine neocortex Gapdh showed the highest expression stability.

Conclusions: Based on our results, we suggest for gene expression analysis in the context of neurodevelopment the usage of RpII as a reference gene for mESC and Gapdh or Hprt for the murine neocortex.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1179/1743132812Y.0000000060DOI Listing
September 2012

Neural differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells as a tool to assess developmental neurotoxicity in vitro.

Neurotoxicology 2012 Oct 23;33(5):1135-46. Epub 2012 Jun 23.

ZEBET-Alternative Methods to Animal Experiments, German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), 12277 Berlin, Germany.

Mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs) represent an attractive cellular system for in vitro studies in developmental biology as well as toxicology because of their potential to differentiate into all fetal cell lineages. The present study aims to establish an in vitro system for developmental neurotoxicity testing employing mESCs. We developed a robust and reproducible protocol for fast and efficient differentiation of the mESC line D3 into neural cells, optimized with regard to chemical testing. Morphological examination and immunocytochemical staining confirmed the presence of different neural cell types, including neural progenitors, neurons, astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, and radial glial cells. Neurons derived from D3 cells expressed the synaptic proteins PSD95 and synaptophysin, and the neurotransmitters serotonin and γ-aminobutyric acid. Calcium ion imaging revealed the presence of functionally active glutamate and dopamine receptors. In addition, flow cytometry analysis of the neuron-specific marker protein MAP2 on day 12 after induction of differentiation demonstrated a concentration dependent effect of the neurodevelopmental toxicants methylmercury chloride, chlorpyrifos, and lead acetate on neuronal differentiation. The current study shows that D3 mESCs differentiate efficiently into neural cells involving a neurosphere-like state and that this system is suitable to detect adverse effects of neurodevelopmental toxicants. Therefore, we propose that the protocol for differentiation of mESCs into neural cells described here could constitute one component of an in vitro testing strategy for developmental neurotoxicity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuro.2012.06.006DOI Listing
October 2012

Assaying embryotoxicity in the test tube: current limitations of the embryonic stem cell test (EST) challenging its applicability domain.

Crit Rev Toxicol 2012 May;42(5):443-64

German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), ZEBET - Alternative Methods to Animal Experiments, Berlin, Germany.

Testing for embryotoxicity in vitro is an attractive alternative to animal experimentation. The embryonic stem cell test (EST) is such a method, and it has been formally validated by the European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods. A number of recent studies have underscored the potential of this method. However, the EST performed well below the 78% accuracy expected from the validation study using a new set of chemicals and pharmaceutical compounds, and also of toxicity criteria, tested to enlarge the database of the validated EST as part of the Work Package III of the ReProTect Project funded within the 6th Framework Programme of the European Union. To assess the performance and applicability domain of the EST we present a detailed review of the substances and their effects in the EST being nitrofen, ochratoxin A, D-penicillamine, methylazoxymethanol, lovastatin, papaverine, warfarin, β-aminopropionitrile, dinoseb, furosemide, doxylamine, pravastatin, and metoclopramide. By delineation of the molecular mechanisms of the substances we identify six categories of reasons for misclassifications. Some of these limitations might also affect other in vitro methods assessing embryotoxicity. Substances that fall into these categories need to be included in future validation sets and in validation guidelines for embryotoxicity testing. Most importantly, we suggest conceivable improvements and additions to the EST which will resolve most of the limitations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/10408444.2012.674483DOI Listing
May 2012

The validated embryonic stem cell test to predict embryotoxicity in vitro.

Nat Protoc 2011 Jun 16;6(7):961-78. Epub 2011 Jun 16.

Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), Center for Alternative Methods to Animal Experiments (ZEBET), Berlin, Germany.

In the embryonic stem cell test (EST), differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs) is used as a model to assess embryotoxicity in vitro. The test was successfully validated by the European Center for the Validation of Alternative Methods (ECVAM) and models fundamental mechanisms in embryotoxicity, such as cytotoxicity and differentiation. In addition, differences in sensitivity between differentiated (adult) and embryonic cells are also taken into consideration. To predict the embryotoxic potential of a test substance, three endpoints are assessed: the inhibition of differentiation into beating cardiomyocytes, the cytotoxic effects on stem cells and the cytotoxic effects on 3T3 fibroblasts. A special feature of the EST is that it is solely based on permanent cell lines so that primary embryonic cells and tissues from pregnant animals are not needed. In this protocol, we describe the ECVAM-validated method, in which the morphological assessment of contracting cardiomyocytes is used as an endpoint for differentiation, and the molecular-based FACS-EST method, in which highly predictive protein markers specific for developing heart tissue were selected. With these methods, the embryotoxic potency of a compound can be assessed in vitro within 10 or 7 d, respectively.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nprot.2011.348DOI Listing
June 2011

Developmental neurotoxicity testing: recommendations for developing alternative methods for the screening and prioritization of chemicals.

ALTEX 2011 ;28(1):9-15

National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, US Environmental Protection Agency, Research triangle Park, NC 27711, USA.

Developmental neurotoxicity testing (DNT) is perceived by many stakeholders to be an area in critical need of alternative methods to current animal testing protocols and guidelines. An immediate goal is to develop test methods that are capable of screening large numbers of chemicals. This document provides recommendations for developing alternative DNT approaches that will generate the type of data required for evaluating and comparing predictive capacity and efficiency across test methods and laboratories. These recommendations were originally drafted to stimulate and focus discussions of alternative testing methods and models for DNT at the TestSmart DNT II meeting (http://caat.jhsph.edu/programs/workshops/dnt2.html) and this document reflects critical feedback from all stakeholders that participated in this meeting. The intent of this document is to serve as a catalyst for engaging the research community in the development of DNT alternatives and it is expected that these recommendations will continue to evolve with the science.
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June 2011

Use of murine embryonic stem cells in embryotoxicity assays: the embryonic stem cell test.

Methods Mol Biol 2006 ;329:371-95

National Center for Documentation and Evaluation of Alternative Methods to Animal Experiments (ZEBET), Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), Berlin, Germany.

The embryonic stem cell test (EST) takes advantage of the potential of murine embryonic stem (ES) cells to differentiate in culture to test embryotoxicity in vitro. The EST represents a scientifically validated in vitro system for the classification of compounds according to their teratogenic potential based on the morphological analysis of beating cardiomyocytes in embryoid body outgrowths compared to cytotoxic effects on murine ES cells and differentiated 3T3 fibroblasts. Through a number of prevalidation and validation studies, the EST has been demonstrated to be a reliable alternative method for embryotoxicity testing based on the most important mechanisms in embryotoxicity-cytotoxicity and differentiation--as well as on differences in sensitivity between differentiated and embryonic tissues. Improvements of the EST protocol using flow cytometry analysis showed that differential expression of sarcomeric myosin heavy chain and alpha-actinin proteins quantified under the influence of a test compound is a useful marker for detecting potential teratogenicity. The in vitro embryotoxicity test described in this chapter is rapid, simple, and sensitive and can be usefully employed as a component of the risk/hazard assessment process.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1385/1-59745-037-5:371DOI Listing
August 2006