Publications by authors named "Franklin D West"

56 Publications

Detecting functional connectivity disruptions in a translational pediatric traumatic brain injury porcine model using resting-state and task-based fMRI.

Sci Rep 2021 06 11;11(1):12406. Epub 2021 Jun 11.

Department of Physics and Astronomy, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, University of Georgia, 500 D.W. Brooks Drive Rm 119, Athens, GA, 30602, USA.

Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has significant potential to evaluate changes in brain network activity after traumatic brain injury (TBI) and enable early prognosis of potential functional (e.g., motor, cognitive, behavior) deficits. In this study, resting-state and task-based fMRI (rs- and tb-fMRI) were utilized to examine network changes in a pediatric porcine TBI model that has increased predictive potential in the development of novel therapies. rs- and tb-fMRI were performed one day post-TBI in piglets. Activation maps were generated using group independent component analysis (ICA) and sparse dictionary learning (sDL). Activation maps were compared to pig reference functional connectivity atlases and evaluated using Pearson spatial correlation coefficients and mean ratios. Nonparametric permutation analyses were used to determine significantly different activation areas between the TBI and healthy control groups. Significantly lower Pearson values and mean ratios were observed in the visual, executive control, and sensorimotor networks for TBI piglets compared to controls. Significant differences were also observed within several specific individual anatomical structures within each network. In conclusion, both rs- and tb-fMRI demonstrate the ability to detect functional connectivity disruptions in a translational TBI piglet model, and these disruptions can be traced to specific affected anatomical structures.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-91853-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8196021PMC
June 2021

Intracisternal administration of tanshinone IIA-loaded nanoparticles leads to reduced tissue injury and functional deficits in a porcine model of ischemic stroke.

IBRO Neurosci Rep 2021 Jun 5;10:18-30. Epub 2021 Jan 5.

Regenerative Bioscience Center, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, United States.

Background: The absolute number of new stroke patients is annually increasing and there still remains only a few Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved treatments with significant limitations available to patients. Tanshinone IIA (Tan IIA) is a promising potential therapeutic for ischemic stroke that has shown success in pre-clinical rodent studies but lead to inconsistent efficacy results in human patients. The physical properties of Tan-IIA, including short half-life and low solubility, suggests that Poly (lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) nanoparticle-assisted delivery may lead to improve bioavailability and therapeutic efficacy. The objective of this study was to develop Tan IIA-loaded nanoparticles (Tan IIA-NPs) and to evaluate their therapeutic effects on cerebral pathological changes and consequent motor function deficits in a pig ischemic stroke model.

Results: Tan IIA-NP treated neural stem cells showed a reduction in SOD activity in in vitro assays demonstrating antioxidative effects. Ischemic stroke pigs treated with Tan IIA-NPs showed reduced hemispheric swelling when compared to vehicle only treated pigs (7.85 ± 1.41 vs. 16.83 ± 0.62%), consequent midline shift (MLS) (1.72 ± 0.07 vs. 2.91 ± 0.36 mm), and ischemic lesion volumes (9.54 ± 5.06 vs. 12.01 ± 0.17 cm) when compared to vehicle-only treated pigs. Treatment also lead to lower reductions in diffusivity (-37.30 ± 3.67 vs. -46.33 ± 0.73%) and white matter integrity (-19.66 ± 5.58 vs. -30.11 ± 1.19%) as well as reduced hemorrhage (0.85 ± 0.15 vs 2.91 ± 0.84 cm) 24 h post-ischemic stroke. In addition, Tan IIA-NPs led to a reduced percentage of circulating band neutrophils at 12 (7.75 ± 1.93 vs. 14.00 ± 1.73%) and 24 (4.25 ± 0.48 vs 5.75 ± 0.85%) hours post-stroke suggesting a mitigated inflammatory response. Moreover, spatiotemporal gait deficits including cadence, cycle time, step time, swing percent of cycle, stride length, and changes in relative mean pressure were less severe post-stroke in Tan IIA-NP treated pigs relative to control pigs.

Conclusion: The findings of this proof of concept study strongly suggest that administration of Tan IIA-NPs in the acute phase post-stroke mitigates neural injury likely through limiting free radical formation, thus leading to less severe gait deficits in a translational pig ischemic stroke model. With stroke as one of the leading causes of functional disability in the United States, and gait deficits being a major component, these promising results suggest that acute Tan IIA-NP administration may improve functional outcomes and the quality of life of many future stroke patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ibneur.2020.11.003DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8019951PMC
June 2021

Exploring the predictive value of lesion topology on motor function outcomes in a porcine ischemic stroke model.

Sci Rep 2021 Feb 15;11(1):3814. Epub 2021 Feb 15.

Regenerative Bioscience Center, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA.

Harnessing the maximum diagnostic potential of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) by including stroke lesion location in relation to specific structures that are associated with particular functions will likely increase the potential to predict functional deficit type, severity, and recovery in stroke patients. This exploratory study aims to identify key structures lesioned by a middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) that impact stroke recovery and to strengthen the predictive capacity of neuroimaging techniques that characterize stroke outcomes in a translational porcine model. Clinically relevant MRI measures showed significant lesion volumes, midline shifts, and decreased white matter integrity post-MCAO. Using a pig brain atlas, damaged brain structures included the insular cortex, somatosensory cortices, temporal gyri, claustrum, and visual cortices, among others. MCAO resulted in severely impaired spatiotemporal gait parameters, decreased voluntary movement in open field testing, and higher modified Rankin Scale scores at acute timepoints. Pearson correlation analyses at acute timepoints between standard MRI metrics (e.g., lesion volume) and functional outcomes displayed moderate R values to functional gait outcomes. Moreover, Pearson correlation analyses showed higher R values between functional gait deficits and increased lesioning of structures associated with motor function, such as the putamen, globus pallidus, and primary somatosensory cortex. This correlation analysis approach helped identify neuroanatomical structures predictive of stroke outcomes and may lead to the translation of this topological analysis approach from preclinical stroke assessment to a clinical biomarker.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-83432-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7884696PMC
February 2021

Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Gait Analysis Indicate Similar Outcomes Between Yucatan and Landrace Porcine Ischemic Stroke Models.

Front Neurol 2020 21;11:594954. Epub 2021 Jan 21.

Regenerative Bioscience Center, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, United States.

The Stroke Therapy Academic Industry Roundtable (STAIR) has recommended that novel therapeutics be tested in a large animal model with similar anatomy and physiology to humans. The pig is an attractive model due to similarities in brain size, organization, and composition relative to humans. However, multiple pig breeds have been used to study ischemic stroke with potentially differing cerebral anatomy, architecture and, consequently, ischemic stroke pathologies. The objective of this study was to characterize brain anatomy and assess spatiotemporal gait parameters in Yucatan (YC) and Landrace (LR) pigs pre- and post-stroke using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and gait analysis, respectively. Ischemic stroke was induced via permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO). MRI was performed pre-stroke and 1-day post-stroke. Structural and diffusion-tensor sequences were performed at both timepoints and analyzed for cerebral characteristics, lesion diffusivity, and white matter changes. Spatiotemporal and relative pressure gait measurements were collected pre- and 2-days post-stroke to characterize and compare acute functional deficits. The results from this study demonstrated that YC and LR pigs exhibit differences in gross brain anatomy and gait patterns pre-stroke with MRI and gait analysis showing statistical differences in the majority of parameters. However, stroke pathologies in YC and LR pigs were highly comparable post-stroke for most evaluated MRI parameters, including lesion volume and diffusivity, hemisphere swelling, ventricle compression, caudal transtentorial and foramen magnum herniation, showing no statistical difference between the breeds. In addition, post-stroke changes in velocity, cycle time, swing percent, cadence, and mean hoof pressure showed no statistical difference between the breeds. These results indicate significant differences between pig breeds in brain size, anatomy, and motor function pre-stroke, yet both demonstrate comparable brain pathophysiology and motor outcomes post-stroke. The conclusions of this study suggest pigs of these different breeds generally show a similar ischemic stroke response and findings can be compared across porcine stroke studies that use different breeds.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2020.594954DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7859633PMC
January 2021

Semi-Automated Cell and Tissue Analyses Reveal Regionally Specific Morphological Alterations of Immune and Neural Cells in a Porcine Middle Cerebral Artery Occlusion Model of Stroke.

Front Cell Neurosci 2020 22;14:600441. Epub 2021 Jan 22.

Regenerative Bioscience Center, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, United States.

Histopathological analysis of cellular changes in the stroked brain provides critical information pertaining to inflammation, cell death, glial scarring, and other dynamic injury and recovery responses. However, commonly used manual approaches are hindered by limitations in speed, accuracy, bias, and the breadth of morphological information that can be obtained. Here, a semi-automated high-content imaging (HCI) and CellProfiler histological analysis method was developed and used in a Yucatan miniature pig permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion (pMCAO) model of ischemic stroke to overcome these limitations. Evaluation of 19 morphological parameters in IBA1 microglia/macrophages, GFAP astrocytes, NeuN neuronal, FactorVIII vascular endothelial, and DCX neuroblast cell areas was conducted on porcine brain tissue 4 weeks post pMCAO. Out of 19 morphological parameters assessed in the stroke perilesional and ipsilateral hemisphere regions (38 parameters), a significant change in measured IBA1 parameters, GFAP parameters, NeuN parameters, FactorVIII parameters, and DCX parameters were observed in stroked vs. non-stroked animals. Principal component analysis (PCA) and correlation analyses demonstrated that stroke-induced significant and predictable morphological changes that demonstrated strong relationships between IBA1, GFAP, and NeuN areas. Ultimately, this unbiased, semi-automated HCI and CellProfiler histopathological analysis approach revealed regional and cell specific morphological signatures of immune and neural cells after stroke in a highly translational porcine model. These identified features can provide information of disease pathogenesis and evolution with high resolution, as well as be used in therapeutic screening applications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fncel.2020.600441DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7862775PMC
January 2021

Alcohol Induced Brain and Liver Damage: Advantages of a Porcine Alcohol Use Disorder Model.

Front Physiol 2020 7;11:592950. Epub 2021 Jan 7.

Regenerative Bioscience Center, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, United States.

Alcohol is one of the most commonly abused intoxicants with 1 in 6 adults at risk for alcohol use disorder (AUD) in the United States. As such, animal models have been extensively investigated with rodent AUD models being the most widely studied. However, inherent anatomical and physiological differences between rodents and humans pose a number of limitations in studying the complex nature of human AUD. For example, rodents differ from humans in that rodents metabolize alcohol rapidly and do not innately demonstrate voluntary alcohol consumption. Comparatively, pigs exhibit similar patterns observed in human AUD including voluntary alcohol consumption and intoxication behaviors, which are instrumental in establishing a more representative AUD model that could in turn delineate the risk factors involved in the development of this disorder. Pigs and humans also share anatomical similarities in the two major target organs of alcohol- the brain and liver. Pigs possess gyrencephalic brains with comparable cerebral white matter volumes to humans, thus enabling more representative evaluations of susceptibility and neural tissue damage in response to AUD. Furthermore, similarities in the liver result in a comparable rate of alcohol elimination as humans, thus enabling a more accurate extrapolation of dosage and intoxication level to humans. A porcine model of AUD possesses great translational potential that can significantly advance our current understanding of the complex development and continuance of AUD in humans.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2020.592950DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7818780PMC
January 2021

Dynamic Changes in the Gut Microbiome at the Acute Stage of Ischemic Stroke in a Pig Model.

Front Neurosci 2020 3;14:587986. Epub 2020 Dec 3.

Department of Foods and Nutrition, College of Family and Consumer Sciences, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, United States.

Stroke is a major cause of death and long-term disability affecting seven million adults in the United States each year. Recently, it has been demonstrated that neurological diseases, associated pathology, and susceptibility changes correlated with changes in the gut microbiota. However, changes in the microbial community in stroke has not been well characterized. The acute stage of stroke is a critical period for assessing injury severity, therapeutic intervention, and clinical prognosis. We investigated the changes in the gut microbiota composition and diversity using a middle cerebral artery (MCA) occlusion ischemic stroke pig model. Ischemic stroke was induced by cauterization of the MCA in pigs. Blood samples were collected prestroke and 4 h, 12 h, 1 day, and 5 days poststroke to evaluate circulating proinflammatory cytokines. Fecal samples were collected prestroke and 1, 3, and 5 days poststroke to assess gut microbiome changes. Results showed elevated systemic inflammation with increased plasma levels of tumor necrosis factor alpha at 4 h and interleukin-6 at 12 h poststroke, relative to prestroke. Microbial diversity and evenness were reduced at 1 day poststroke compared to prestroke. Microbial diversity at 3 days poststroke was negatively correlated with lesion volume. Moreover, beta-diversity analysis revealed trending overall differences over time, with the most significant changes in microbial patterns observed between prestroke and 3 days poststroke. Abundance of the Proteobacteria was significantly increased, while Firmicutes decreased at 3 days poststroke, compared to prestroke populations. Abundance of the lactic acid bacteria was reduced at 3 days poststroke. By day 5, the microbial pattern returned to similar values as prestroke, suggesting the plasticity of gut microbiome in an acute period of stroke in a pig model. These findings provide a basis for characterizing gut microbial changes during the acute stage of stroke, which can be used to assess stroke pathology and the potential development of therapeutic targets.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2020.587986DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7744295PMC
December 2020

An integrative multivariate approach for predicting functional recovery using magnetic resonance imaging parameters in a translational pig ischemic stroke model.

Neural Regen Res 2021 May;16(5):842-850

Regenerative Bioscience Center; Neuroscience, Biomedical and Health Sciences Institute; Department of Animal and Dairy Science, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a clinically relevant, real-time imaging modality that is frequently utilized to assess stroke type and severity. However, specific MRI biomarkers that can be used to predict long-term functional recovery are still a critical need. Consequently, the present study sought to examine the prognostic value of commonly utilized MRI parameters to predict functional outcomes in a porcine model of ischemic stroke. Stroke was induced via permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion. At 24 hours post-stroke, MRI analysis revealed focal ischemic lesions, decreased diffusivity, hemispheric swelling, and white matter degradation. Functional deficits including behavioral abnormalities in open field and novel object exploration as well as spatiotemporal gait impairments were observed at 4 weeks post-stroke. Gaussian graphical models identified specific MRI outputs and functional recovery variables, including white matter integrity and gait performance, that exhibited strong conditional dependencies. Canonical correlation analysis revealed a prognostic relationship between lesion volume and white matter integrity and novel object exploration and gait performance. Consequently, these analyses may also have the potential of predicting patient recovery at chronic time points as pigs and humans share many anatomical similarities (e.g., white matter composition) that have proven to be critical in ischemic stroke pathophysiology. The study was approved by the University of Georgia (UGA) Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC; Protocol Number: A2014-07-021-Y3-A11 and 2018-01-029-Y1-A5) on November 22, 2017.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4103/1673-5374.297079DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8178783PMC
May 2021

An Adolescent Porcine Model of Voluntary Alcohol Consumption Exhibits Binge Drinking and Motor Deficits in a Two Bottle Choice Test.

Alcohol Alcohol 2021 Apr;56(3):266-274

Regenerative Bioscience Center, University of Georgia, 425 River Road, Athens, GA, 30602, USA.

Aims: Alcohol is the most commonly abused substance leading to significant economic and medical burdens. Pigs are an attractive model for studying alcohol abuse disorder due to the comparable alcohol metabolism and consumption behavior, which are in stark contrast to rodent models. This study investigates the usage of a porcine model for voluntary binge drinking (BD) and a detailed analysis of gait changes due to motor function deficits during alcohol intoxication.

Methods: Adolescent pigs were trained to drink increasing concentration (0-8%) of alcohol mixed in a 0.2% saccharin solution for 1 h in a two bottle choice test for 2 weeks. The training period was followed by a 3-week alcohol testing period, where animals were given free access to 8% alcohol in 0.2% saccharin solution and 0.2% saccharin water solution. Blood alcohol levels were tested and gait analysis was performed pre-alcohol consumption, last day of training, and Day 5 of each testing period.

Results: Pigs voluntarily consumed alcohol to intoxication at all timepoints with blood alcohol concentration (BAL) ≥80 mg/dl. Spatiotemporal gait parameters including velocity, cadence, cycle time, swing time, stance time, step time, and stride length were perturbed as a result of intoxication. The stratification of the gait data based on BAL revealed that the gait parameters were affected in a dose-dependent manner.

Conclusion: This novel adolescent BD porcine model with inherent anatomical and physiological similarities to humans display similar consumption and intoxication behavior that is likely to yield results that are translatable to human patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/alcalc/agaa105DOI Listing
April 2021

Identification of predictive MRI and functional biomarkers in a pediatric piglet traumatic brain injury model.

Neural Regen Res 2021 Feb;16(2):338-344

Regenerative Bioscience Center; Department of Animal and Dairy Science, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA.

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) at a young age can lead to the development of long-term functional impairments. Severity of injury is well demonstrated to have a strong influence on the extent of functional impairments; however, identification of specific magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) biomarkers that are most reflective of injury severity and functional prognosis remain elusive. Therefore, the objective of this study was to utilize advanced statistical approaches to identify clinically relevant MRI biomarkers and predict functional outcomes using MRI metrics in a translational large animal piglet TBI model. TBI was induced via controlled cortical impact and multiparametric MRI was performed at 24 hours and 12 weeks post-TBI using T1-weighted, T2-weighted, T2-weighted fluid attenuated inversion recovery, diffusion-weighted imaging, and diffusion tensor imaging. Changes in spatiotemporal gait parameters were also assessed using an automated gait mat at 24 hours and 12 weeks post-TBI. Principal component analysis was performed to determine the MRI metrics and spatiotemporal gait parameters that explain the largest sources of variation within the datasets. We found that linear combinations of lesion size and midline shift acquired using T2-weighted imaging explained most of the variability of the data at both 24 hours and 12 weeks post-TBI. In addition, linear combinations of velocity, cadence, and stride length were found to explain most of the gait data variability at 24 hours and 12 weeks post-TBI. Linear regression analysis was performed to determine if MRI metrics are predictive of changes in gait. We found that both lesion size and midline shift are significantly correlated with decreases in stride and step length. These results from this study provide an important first step at identifying relevant MRI and functional biomarkers that are predictive of functional outcomes in a clinically relevant piglet TBI model. This study was approved by the University of Georgia Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (AUP: A2015 11-001) on December 22, 2015.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4103/1673-5374.290915DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7896230PMC
February 2021

Imaging Ischemic and Hemorrhagic Disease of the Brain in Dogs.

Front Vet Sci 2020 27;7:279. Epub 2020 May 27.

Department of Small Animal Medicine and Surgery, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, United States.

Strokes, both ischemic and hemorrhagic, are the most common underlying cause of acute, non-progressive encephalopathy in dogs. In effect, substantial information detailing the underlying causes and predisposing factors, affected vessels, imaging features, and outcomes based on location and extent of injury is available. The features of canine strokes on both computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) have been described in numerous studies. This summary article serves as a compilation of these various descriptions. Drawing from the established and emerging stroke evaluation sequences used in the investigation of strokes in humans, this summary describes all theoretically available sequences. Particular detail is given to logistics of image acquisition, description of imaging findings, and each sequence's advantages and disadvantages. As the imaging features of both forms of strokes are highly representative of the underlying pathophysiologic stages in the hours to months following stroke onset, the descriptions of strokes at various stages are also discussed. It is unlikely that canine strokes can be diagnosed within the same rapid time frame as human strokes, and therefore the opportunity for thrombolytic intervention in ischemic strokes is unattainable. However, a thorough understanding of the appearance of strokes at various stages can aid the clinician when presented with a patient that has developed a stroke in the days or weeks prior to evaluation. Additionally, investigation into new imaging techniques may increase the sensitivity and specificity of stroke diagnosis, as well as provide new ways to monitor strokes over time.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fvets.2020.00279DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7266937PMC
May 2020

Characterization of tissue and functional deficits in a clinically translational pig model of acute ischemic stroke.

Brain Res 2020 06 16;1736:146778. Epub 2020 Mar 16.

Regenerative Bioscience Center, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, United States; Neuroscience Program, Biomedical and Health Sciences Institute, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, United States; Department of Animal and Dairy Science, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, United States. Electronic address:

The acute stroke phase is a critical time frame used to evaluate stroke severity, therapeutic options, and prognosis while also serving as a major tool for the development of diagnostics. To further understand stroke pathophysiology and to enhance the development of treatments, our group developed a translational pig ischemic stroke model. In this study, the evolution of acute ischemic tissue damage, immune responses, and functional deficits were further characterized. Stroke was induced by middle cerebral artery occlusion in Landrace pigs. At 24 h post-stroke, magnetic resonance imaging revealed a decrease in ipsilateral diffusivity, an increase in hemispheric swelling resulting in notable midline shift, and intracerebral hemorrhage. Stroke negatively impacted white matter integrity with decreased fractional anisotropy values in the internal capsule. Like patients, pigs showed a reduction in circulating lymphocytes and a surge in neutrophils and band cells. Functional responses corresponded with structural changes through reductions in open field exploration and impairments in spatiotemporal gait parameters. Characterization of acute ischemic stroke in pigs provided important insights into tissue and functional-level assessments that could be used to identify potential biomarkers and improve preclinical testing of novel therapeutics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.brainres.2020.146778DOI Listing
June 2020

Large animal ischemic stroke models: replicating human stroke pathophysiology.

Neural Regen Res 2020 Aug;15(8):1377-1387

Regenerative Bioscience Center; Neuroscience Program, Biomedical and Health Sciences Institute; Department of Animal and Dairy Science, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA.

The high morbidity and mortality rate of ischemic stroke in humans has led to the development of numerous animal models that replicate human stroke to further understand the underlying pathophysiology and to explore potential therapeutic interventions. Although promising therapeutics have been identified using these animal models, with most undergoing significant testing in rodent models, the vast majority of these interventions have failed in human clinical trials. This failure of preclinical translation highlights the critical need for better therapeutic assessment in more clinically relevant ischemic stroke animal models. Large animal models such as non-human primates, sheep, pigs, and dogs are likely more predictive of human responses and outcomes due to brain anatomy and physiology that are more similar to humans-potentially making large animal testing a key step in the stroke therapy translational pipeline. The objective of this review is to highlight key characteristics that potentially make these gyrencephalic, large animal ischemic stroke models more predictive by comparing pathophysiological responses, tissue-level changes, and model limitations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4103/1673-5374.274324DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7059570PMC
August 2020

Neural Stem Cell Extracellular Vesicles Disrupt Midline Shift Predictive Outcomes in Porcine Ischemic Stroke Model.

Transl Stroke Res 2020 08 6;11(4):776-788. Epub 2019 Dec 6.

Regenerative Bioscience Center, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, 30602, USA.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a clinically relevant non-invasive imaging tool commonly utilized to assess stroke progression in real time. This study investigated the utility of MRI as a predictive measure of clinical and functional outcomes when a stroke intervention is withheld or provided, in order to identify biomarkers for stroke functional outcome under these conditions. Fifteen MRI and ninety functional parameters were measured in a middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) porcine ischemic stroke model. Multiparametric analysis of correlations between MRI measurements and functional outcome was conducted. Acute axial and coronal midline shift (MLS) at 24 h post-stroke were associated with decreased survival and recovery measured by modified Rankin scale (mRS) and were significantly correlated with 52 measured acute (day 1 post) and chronic (day 84 post) gait and behavior impairments in non-treated stroked animals. These results suggest that MLS may be an important non-invasive biomarker that can be used to predict patient outcomes and prognosis as well as guide therapeutic intervention and rehabilitation in non-treated animals and potentially human patients that do not receive interventional treatments. Neural stem cell-derived extracellular vesicle (NSC EV) was a disruptive therapy because NSC EV administration post-stroke disrupted MLS correlations observed in non-treated stroked animals. MLS was not associated with survival and functional outcomes in NSC EV-treated animals. In contrast to untreated animals, NSC EVs improved stroked animal outcomes regardless of MLS severity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12975-019-00753-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7340639PMC
August 2020

Tropism of Newcastle disease virus strains for chicken neurons, astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, and microglia.

BMC Vet Res 2019 Sep 4;15(1):317. Epub 2019 Sep 4.

Department of Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA.

Background: Newcastle disease (ND), which is caused by infections of poultry species with virulent strains of Avian orthoavulavirus-1, also known as avian paramyxovirus 1 (APMV-1), and formerly known as Newcastle disease virus (NDV), may cause neurological signs and encephalitis. Neurological signs are often the only clinical signs observed in birds infected with neurotropic strains of NDV. Experimental infections have shown that the replication of virulent NDV (vNDV) strains is in the brain parenchyma and is possibly confined to neurons and ependymal cells. However, little information is available on the ability of vNDV strains to infect subset of glial cells (astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, and microglia). The objective of this study was to evaluate the ability of NDV strains of different levels of virulence to infect a subset of glial cells both in vitro and in vivo. Thus, neurons, astrocytes and oligodendrocytes from the brains of day-old White Leghorn chickens were harvested, cultured, and infected with both non-virulent (LaSota) and virulent, neurotropic (TxGB) NDV strains. To confirm these findings in vivo, the tropism of three vNDV strains with varying pathotypes (SA60 [viscerotropic], TxGB [neurotropic], and Tx450 [mesogenic]) was assessed in archived formalin-fixed material from day-old chicks inoculated intracerebrally.

Results: Double immunofluorescence for NDV nucleoprotein and cellular markers showed that both strains infected at least 20% of each of the cell types (neurons, astrocytes, and oligodendrocytes). At 24 h post-inoculation, TxGB replicated significantly more than LaSota. Double immunofluorescence (DIFA) with markers for neurons, astrocytes, microglia, and NDV nucleoprotein detected the three strains in all three cell types at similar levels.

Conclusion: These data indicate that similar to other paramyxoviruses, neurons and glial cells (astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, and microglia) are susceptible to vNDV infection, and suggest that factors other than cellular tropism are likely the major determinant of the neurotropic phenotype.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12917-019-2053-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6727330PMC
September 2019

Stirred Suspension Bioreactor Culture of Porcine Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells.

Stem Cells Dev 2019 09 8;28(18):1264-1275. Epub 2019 Aug 8.

Department of Comparative Biology and Experimental Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada.

Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are an attractive cell source for regenerative medicine and the development of therapies, as they can proliferate indefinitely under defined conditions and differentiate into any cell type in the body. Large-scale expansion of cells is limited in adherent culture, making it difficult to obtain adequate cell numbers for research. It has been previously shown that stirred suspension bioreactors (SSBs) can be used to culture mouse and human stem cells. Pigs are important preclinical models for stem cell research. Therefore, this study investigated the use of SSBs as an alternative culture method for the expansion of iPSCs. Using an established porcine iPSC (piPSC) line as well as a new cell line derived and characterized in the current study, we report that piPSCs can grow in SSB while maintaining characteristics of pluripotency and karyotypic stability similar to cells grown in traditional two-dimensional static culture. This culture method provides a suitable platform for scale-up of cell culture to provide adequate cell numbers for future research applications involving piPSCs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/scd.2019.0111DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6751395PMC
September 2019

Pig Brains Have Homologous Resting-State Networks with Human Brains.

Brain Connect 2019 09 24;9(7):566-579. Epub 2019 Jun 24.

Bio-Imaging Research Center, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia.

Many neurological and psychiatric diseases in humans are caused by disruptions to large-scale functional properties of the brain, including functional connectivity. There has been growing interest in discovering the functional organization of brain networks in larger animal models. As a result, the use of translational pig models in neuroscience has significantly increased in the past decades. The gyrencephalic pig brain resembles the human brain more in anatomy, growth, and development than the brains of commonly used small laboratory animals such as rodents. In this work, resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) data were acquired from a group of pigs ( = 12). rs-fMRI data were analyzed for resting-state networks (RSNs) by using independent component analysis and sparse dictionary learning. Six RSNs (executive control, cerebellar, sensorimotor, visual, auditory, and default mode) were detected that resemble their counterparts in human brains, as measured by Pearson spatial correlations and mean ratios. Supporting evidence of the validity of these RSNs was provided through the evaluation and quantification of structural connectivity measures (mean diffusivity, fractional anisotropy, fiber length, and fiber density) estimated from the DTI data. This study shows that as a translational, large animal model, pigs demonstrate great potential for mapping connectome-scale functional connectivity in experimental modeling of human brain disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/brain.2019.0673DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6727477PMC
September 2019

Controlled Cortical Impact Leads to Cognitive and Motor Function Deficits that Correspond to Cellular Pathology in a Piglet Traumatic Brain Injury Model.

J Neurotrauma 2019 10 17;36(19):2810-2826. Epub 2019 Jun 17.

Regenerative Bioscience Center, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia.

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a leading cause of death and disability in the United States, with children who sustain a TBI having a greater risk of developing long-lasting cognitive, behavioral, and motor function deficits. This has led to increased interest in utilizing large animal models to study pathophysiologic and functional changes after injury in hopes of identifying novel therapeutic targets. In the present study, a controlled cortical impact (CCI) piglet TBI model was utilized to evaluate cognitive, motor, and histopathologic outcomes. CCI injury (4 m/sec velocity, 9 mm depression, 400 msec dwell time) was induced at the parietal cortex. Compared with normal pigs ( = 5), TBI pigs ( = 5) exhibited appreciable cognitive deficiencies, including significantly impaired spatial memory in spatial T-maze testing and a significant decrease in exploratory behaviors followed by marked hyperactivity in open field testing. Additionally, gait analysis revealed significant increases in cycle time and stance percent, significant decreases in hind reach, and a shift in the total pressure index from the front to the hind limb on the affected side, suggesting TBI impairs gait and balance. Pigs were sacrificed 28 days post-TBI and histological analysis revealed that TBI lead to a significant decrease in neurons and a significant increase in microglia activation and astrogliosis/astrocytosis at the perilesional area, a significant loss in neurons at the dorsal hippocampus, and significantly increased neuroblast proliferation at the subventricular zone. These data demonstrate a strong relationship between TBI-induced cellular changes and functional outcomes in our piglet TBI model that lay the framework for future studies that assess the ability of therapeutic interventions to contribute to functional improvements.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/neu.2019.6405DOI Listing
October 2019

Traumatic Brain Injury Results in Dynamic Brain Structure Changes Leading to Acute and Chronic Motor Function Deficits in a Pediatric Piglet Model.

J Neurotrauma 2019 10 17;36(20):2930-2942. Epub 2019 Jun 17.

Regenerative Bioscience Center, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia.

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a leading cause of death and disability in children. Pediatric TBI patients often suffer from crippling cognitive, emotional, and motor function deficits that have negative lifelong effects. The objective of this study was to longitudinally assess TBI pathophysiology using multi-parametric magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), gait analysis, and histological approaches in a pediatric piglet model. TBI was produced by controlled cortical impact in Landrace piglets. MRI data, including from proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), were collected 24 hours and 12 weeks post-TBI, and gait analysis was performed at multiple time-points over 12 weeks post-TBI. A subset of animals was sacrificed 24 hours, 1 week, 4 weeks, and 12 weeks post-TBI for histological analysis. MRI results demonstrated that TBI led to a significant brain lesion and midline shift as well as microscopic tissue damage with altered brain diffusivity, decreased white matter integrity, and reduced cerebral blood flow. MRS showed a range of neurochemical changes after TBI. Histological analysis revealed neuronal loss, astrogliosis/astrocytosis, and microglia activation. Further, gait analysis showed transient impairments in cadence, cycle time, % stance, step length, and stride length, as well as long-term impairments in weight distribution after TBI. Taken together, this study illustrates the distinct time course of TBI pathoanatomic and functional responses up to 12 weeks post-TBI in a piglet TBI model. The study of TBI injury and recovery mechanisms, as well as the testing of therapeutics in this translational model, are likely to be more predictive of human responses and clinical outcomes compared to traditional small animal models.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/neu.2018.6303DOI Listing
October 2019

mRNA Reprogramming of T8993G Leigh's Syndrome Fibroblast Cells to Create Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Models for Mitochondrial Disorders.

Stem Cells Dev 2019 07 20;28(13):846-859. Epub 2019 May 20.

7 Department of Biological Sciences, Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Early molecular and developmental events impacting many incurable mitochondrial disorders are not fully understood and require generation of relevant patient- and disease-specific stem cell models. In this study, we focus on the ability of a nonviral and integration-free reprogramming method for deriving clinical-grade induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) specific to Leigh's syndrome (LS), a fatal neurodegenerative mitochondrial disorder of infants. The cause of fatality could be due to the presence of high abundance of mutant mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) or decline in respiration levels, thus affecting early molecular and developmental events in energy-intensive tissues. LS patient fibroblasts (designated LS1 in this study), carrying a high percentage of mutant T8993G mtDNA, were reprogrammed using a combined mRNA-miRNA nonviral approach to generate human iPSCs (hiPSCs). The LS1-hiPSCs were evaluated for their self-renewal, embryoid body (EB) formation, and differentiation potential, using immunocytochemistry and gene expression profiling methods. Sanger sequencing and next-generation sequencing approaches were used to detect the mutation and quantify the percentage of mutant mtDNA in the LS1-hiPSCs and differentiated derivatives. Reprogrammed LS-hiPSCs expressed pluripotent stem cell markers including transcription factors OCT4, NANOG, and SOX2 and cell surface markers SSEA4, TRA-1-60, and TRA-1-81 at the RNA and protein level. LS1-hiPSCs also demonstrated the capacity for self-renewal and multilineage differentiation into all three embryonic germ layers. EB analysis demonstrated impaired differentiation potential in cells carrying high percentage of mutant mtDNA. Next-generation sequencing analysis confirmed the presence of high abundance of T8993G mutant mtDNA in the patient fibroblasts and their reprogrammed and differentiated derivatives. These results represent for the first time the derivation and characterization of a stable nonviral hiPSC line reprogrammed from a LS patient fibroblast carrying a high abundance of mutant mtDNA. These outcomes are important steps toward understanding disease origins and developing personalized therapies for patients suffering from mitochondrial diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/scd.2019.0045DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6602115PMC
July 2019

Neural stem cell therapy for stroke: A multimechanistic approach to restoring neurological function.

Brain Behav 2019 03 12;9(3):e01214. Epub 2019 Feb 12.

Regenerative Bioscience Center, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia.

Introduction: Neural stem cells (NSCs) have demonstrated multimodal therapeutic function for stroke, which is the leading cause of long-term disability and the second leading cause of death worldwide. In preclinical stroke models, NSCs have been shown to modulate inflammation, foster neuroplasticity and neural reorganization, promote angiogenesis, and act as a cellular replacement by differentiating into mature neural cell types. However, there are several key technical questions to address before NSC therapy can be applied to the clinical setting on a large scale.

Purpose Of Review: In this review, we will discuss the various sources of NSCs, their therapeutic modes of action to enhance stroke recovery, and considerations for the clinical translation of NSC therapies. Understanding the key factors involved in NSC-mediated tissue recovery and addressing the current translational barriers may lead to clinical success of NSC therapy and a first-in-class restorative therapy for stroke patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/brb3.1214DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6422715PMC
March 2019

Isolation and Differentiation of Mesenchymal Stem Cells From Broiler Chicken Compact Bones.

Front Physiol 2018 22;9:1892. Epub 2019 Jan 22.

Department of Poultry Science, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, United States.

Chicken mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) can be used as an avian culture model to better understand osteogenic, adipogenic, and myogenic pathways and to identify unique bioactive nutrients and molecules which can promote or inhibit these pathways. MSCs could also be used as a model to study various developmental, physiological, and therapeutic processes in avian and other species. MSCs are multipotent stem cells that are capable of differentiation into bone, muscle, fat, and closely related lineages and express unique and specific cell surface markers. MSCs have been isolated from numerous sources including human, mouse, rabbit, and chicken with potential clinical and agricultural applications. MSCs from chicken compact bones have not been isolated and characterized yet. In this study, MSCs were isolated from compact bones of the femur and tibia of day-old male broiler chicks to investigate the biological characteristics of the isolated cells. Isolated cells took 8-10 days to expand, demonstrated a monolayer growth pattern and were plastic adherent. Putative MSCs were spindle-shaped with elongated ends and showed rapid proliferation. MSCs demonstrated osteoblastic, adipocytic, and myogenic differentiation when induced with specific differentiation media. Cell surface markers for MSCs such as CD90, CD105, CD73, CD44 were detected positive and CD31, CD34, and CD45 cells were detected negative by PCR assay. The results suggest that MSCs isolated from broiler compact bones (cBMSCs) possess similar biological characteristics as MSCs isolated from other chicken tissue sources.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2018.01892DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6350342PMC
January 2019

The pig as a preclinical traumatic brain injury model: current models, functional outcome measures, and translational detection strategies.

Neural Regen Res 2019 Mar;14(3):413-424

Regenerative Bioscience Center; Department of Animal and Dairy Science, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA.

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major contributor of long-term disability and a leading cause of death worldwide. A series of secondary injury cascades can contribute to cell death, tissue loss, and ultimately to the development of functional impairments. However, there are currently no effective therapeutic interventions that improve brain outcomes following TBI. As a result, a number of experimental TBI models have been developed to recapitulate TBI injury mechanisms and to test the efficacy of potential therapeutics. The pig model has recently come to the forefront as the pig brain is closer in size, structure, and composition to the human brain compared to traditional rodent models, making it an ideal large animal model to study TBI pathophysiology and functional outcomes. This review will focus on the shared characteristics between humans and pigs that make them ideal for modeling TBI and will review the three most common pig TBI models-the diffuse axonal injury, the controlled cortical impact, and the fluid percussion models. It will also review current advances in functional outcome assessment measures and other non-invasive, translational TBI detection and measurement tools like biomarker analysis and magnetic resonance imaging. The use of pigs as TBI models and the continued development and improvement of translational assessment modalities have made significant contributions to unraveling the complex cascade of TBI sequela and provide an important means to study potential clinically relevant therapeutic interventions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4103/1673-5374.245334DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6334610PMC
March 2019

Scaled traumatic brain injury results in unique metabolomic signatures between gray matter, white matter, and serum in a piglet model.

PLoS One 2018 31;13(10):e0206481. Epub 2018 Oct 31.

Regenerative Bioscience Center, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, United States of America.

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a leading cause of death and long-term disability in the United States. The heterogeneity of the disease coupled with the lack of comprehensive, standardized scales to adequately characterize multiple types of TBI remain to be major challenges facing effective therapeutic development. A systems level approach to TBI diagnosis through the use of metabolomics could lead to a better understanding of cellular changes post-TBI and potential therapeutic targets. In the current study, we utilize a GC-MS untargeted metabolomics approach to demonstrate altered metabolism in response to TBI in a translational pig model, which possesses many neuroanatomical and pathophysiologic similarities to humans. TBI was produced by controlled cortical impact (CCI) in Landrace piglets with impact velocity and depth of depression set to 2m/s;6mm, 4m/s;6mm, 4m/s;12mm, or 4m/s;15mm resulting in graded neural injury. Serum samples were collected pre-TBI, 24 hours post-TBI, and 7 days post-TBI. Partial least squares discriminant analysis (PLS-DA) revealed that each impact parameter uniquely influenced the metabolomic profile after TBI, and gray and white matter responds differently to TBI on the biochemical level with evidence of white matter displaying greater metabolic change. Furthermore, pathway analysis revealed unique metabolic signatures that were dependent on injury severity and brain tissue type. Metabolomic signatures were also detected in serum samples which potentially captures both time after injury and injury severity. These findings provide a platform for the development of a more accurate TBI classification scale based unique metabolomic signatures.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0206481PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6209298PMC
April 2019

Controlled Cortical Impact Severity Results in Graded Cellular, Tissue, and Functional Responses in a Piglet Traumatic Brain Injury Model.

J Neurotrauma 2019 01 21;36(1):61-73. Epub 2018 Aug 21.

1 Regenerative Bioscience Center, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia.

A number of pre-clinical rodent models have been developed in an effort to recapitulate injury mechanisms and identify potential therapeutics for traumatic brain injury (TBI), which is a major cause of death and long-term disability in the United States. The lack of restorative treatments for TBI, however, has led to considerable criticism of current pre-clinical therapeutic development strategies-namely, the translatability of widely used rodent models to human patients. The use of large animal models, such as the pig, with more brain anatomy and physiology comparable to humans may enhance the translational capacity of current pre-clinical animal models. The objective of this study was to develop and characterize a graded piglet TBI model with quantitative pathological features at the cellular, tissue, and functional level that become more prominent with increasing TBI severity. A graded TBI was produced by controlled cortical impact (CCI) in "toddler-aged" Landrace piglets by increasing impact velocity and/or depth of depression to 2 m/sec; 6 mm; 4 m/sec; 6 mm; 4 m/sec; 12 mm; or 4 m/sec; 15 mm, producing a range of neural injury responses that corresponded to injury severity. Quantitative gait analysis was performed pre-TBI and one, three, and seven days post-TBI, and piglets were sacrificed seven days post-TBI. Increasing impact parameters correlated to increases in lesion size with piglets that sustained a 6 mm depth of depression exhibiting significantly smaller lesions than piglets that sustained a depth of depression of 12 mm or 15 mm. Similarly, the extent of neuronal loss, astrogliosis/astrocytosis, and white matter damage became more prominent as CCI parameters were increased. These cellular and tissue-level changes correlated with motor function deficits including swing/stance time, stride velocity, and two- versus three-limb support. The piglet TBI model described here could serve as a translational platform for studying TBI sequelae across injury severities and identifying novel therapeutics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/neu.2017.5551DOI Listing
January 2019

Human iNPC therapy leads to improvement in functional neurologic outcomes in a pig ischemic stroke model.

Brain Behav 2018 05 18;8(5):e00972. Epub 2018 Apr 18.

Regenerative Bioscience Center University of Georgia Athens GA USA.

Introduction: Stroke is the leading cause of disability in the United States but current therapies are limited with no regenerative potential. Previous translational failures have highlighted the need for large animal models of ischemic stroke and for improved assessments of functional outcomes. The aims of this study were first, to create a post-stroke functional outcome assessment scale in a porcine model of middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) and second, to use this scale to determine the effect of human-induced-pluripotent-cell-derived neural progenitor cells (iNPCs) on functional outcome in this large animal stroke model.

Materials And Methods: Eight 6-month-old Landrace mix pigs underwent permanent MCAO. Five days following MCAO, pigs received intraparenchymal injections of either iNPCs or PBS. A post-stroke assessment scale was developed to measure functional outcome. Evaluations were performed at least 1-3 days prior to MCAO and repeated 1 day, 3 days, and 5 days post-stroke as well as 1 day, 3 days, 1 week, 2 weeks, 4 weeks, 6 weeks, 9 weeks, and 12 weeks post-injection. Comparisons of scores between animals receiving iNPCs or PBS only were compared using a two-way ANOVA and a Tukey's post-hoc test.

Results: The developed scale was able to consistently determine differences between healthy and stroked pigs at all time points. iNPC-treated pigs showed a significantly faster recovery in their overall scores relative to PBS-only treated pigs with the parameters of appetite and body posture exhibiting the most improvement in the iNPC-treated group.

Conclusions: We developed a robust and repeatable functional assessment tool that can reliably detect stroke and recovery, while also showing for the first time that iNPC therapy leads to functional recovery in a translational pig ischemic stroke model. These promising results suggest that iNPCs may 1 day serve as a first in class cell therapeutic for ischemic stroke.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/brb3.972DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5943801PMC
May 2018

Human Neural Stem Cell Extracellular Vesicles Improve Recovery in a Porcine Model of Ischemic Stroke.

Stroke 2018 05 12;49(5):1248-1256. Epub 2018 Apr 12.

Regenerative Bioscience Center (R.L.W., E.E.K., B.J.J., S.S., F.D.W., S.L. Stice)

Background And Purpose: Recent work from our group suggests that human neural stem cell-derived extracellular vesicle (NSC EV) treatment improves both tissue and sensorimotor function in a preclinical thromboembolic mouse model of stroke. In this study, NSC EVs were evaluated in a pig ischemic stroke model, where clinically relevant end points were used to assess recovery in a more translational large animal model.

Methods: Ischemic stroke was induced by permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO), and either NSC EV or PBS treatment was administered intravenously at 2, 14, and 24 hours post-MCAO. NSC EV effects on tissue level recovery were evaluated via magnetic resonance imaging at 1 and 84 days post-MCAO. Effects on functional recovery were also assessed through longitudinal behavior and gait analysis testing.

Results: NSC EV treatment was neuroprotective and led to significant improvements at the tissue and functional levels in stroked pigs. NSC EV treatment eliminated intracranial hemorrhage in ischemic lesions in NSC EV pigs (0 of 7) versus control pigs (7 of 8). NSC EV-treated pigs exhibited a significant decrease in cerebral lesion volume and decreased brain swelling relative to control pigs 1-day post-MCAO. NSC EVs significantly reduced edema in treated pigs relative to control pigs, as assessed by improved diffusivity through apparent diffusion coefficient maps. NSC EVs preserved white matter integrity with increased corpus callosum fractional anisotropy values 84 days post-MCAO. Behavior and mobility improvements paralleled structural changes as NSC EV-treated pigs exhibited improved outcomes, including increased exploratory behavior and faster restoration of spatiotemporal gait parameters.

Conclusions: This study demonstrated for the first time that in a large animal model novel NSC EVs significantly improved neural tissue preservation and functional levels post-MCAO, suggesting NSC EVs may be a paradigm changing stroke therapeutic.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/STROKEAHA.117.020353DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5916046PMC
May 2018

Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Neural Stem Cell Therapy Enhances Recovery in an Ischemic Stroke Pig Model.

Sci Rep 2017 08 30;7(1):10075. Epub 2017 Aug 30.

Regenerative Bioscience Center, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, 30602, USA.

Induced pluripotent stem cell-derived neural stem cells (iNSCs) have significant potential as an autologous, multifunctional cell therapy for stroke, which is the primary cause of long term disability in the United States and the second leading cause of death worldwide. Here we show that iNSC transplantation improves recovery through neuroprotective, regenerative, and cell replacement mechanisms in a novel ischemic pig stroke model. Longitudinal multiparametric magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) following iNSC therapy demonstrated reduced changes in white matter integrity, cerebral blood perfusion, and brain metabolism in the infarcted tissue. The observed tissue level recovery strongly correlated with decreased immune response, enhanced neuronal protection, and increased neurogenesis. iNSCs differentiated into neurons and oligodendrocytes with indication of long term integration. The robust recovery response to iNSC therapy in a translational pig stroke model with increased predictive potential strongly supports that iNSCs may be the critically needed therapeutic for human stroke patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-10406-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5577218PMC
August 2017

Pig Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Neural Rosettes Parallel Human Differentiation Into Sensory Neural Subtypes.

Cell Reprogram 2017 04 7;19(2):88-94. Epub 2017 Mar 7.

1 Regenerative Bioscience Center, University of Georgia , Rhodes Center for Animal and Dairy Science, Athens, Georgia .

The pig is the large animal model of choice for study of nerve regeneration and wound repair. Availability of porcine sensory neural cells would conceptually allow for analogous cell-based peripheral nerve regeneration in porcine injuries of similar severity and size to those found in humans. After recently reporting that porcine (or pig) induced pluripotent stem cells (piPSCs) differentiate into neural rosette (NR) structures similar to human NRs, here we demonstrate that pig NR cells could differentiate into neural crest cells and other peripheral nervous system-relevant cell types. Treatment with either bone morphogenetic protein 4 or fetal bovine serum led to differentiation into BRN3A-positive sensory cells and increased expression of sensory neuron TRK receptor gene family: TRKA, TRKB, and TRKC. Porcine sensory neural cells would allow determination of parallels between human and porcine cells in response to noxious stimuli, analgesics, and reparative mechanisms. In vitro differentiation of pig sensory neurons provides a novel model system for neural cell subtype specification and would provide a novel platform for the study of regenerative therapeutics by elucidating the requirements for innervation following injury and axonal survival.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/cell.2016.0057DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6016089PMC
April 2017

Derivation of chicken induced pluripotent stem cells tolerant to Newcastle disease virus-induced lysis through multiple rounds of infection.

Virol J 2016 12 5;13(1):205. Epub 2016 Dec 5.

US National Poultry Research Center, Exotic and Emerging Avian Viral Diseases Research Unit, Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory, Athens, GA, 30605, USA.

Background: Newcastle disease (ND), caused by Newcastle disease virus (NDV), is a devastating disease of poultry and wild birds. ND is prevented by rigorous biocontainment and vaccination. One potential approach to prevent spread of the virus is production of birds that show innate resistance to NDV-caused disease. Induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology allows adult cells to be reprogrammed into an embryonic stem cell-like state capable of contributing to live offspring and passing on unique traits in a number of species. Recently, iPSC approaches have been successfully applied to avian cells. If chicken induced pluripotent stem cells (ciPSCs) are genetically or epigenetically modified to resist NDV infection, it may be possible to generate ND resistant poultry. There is limited information on the potential of ciPSCs to be infected by NDV, or the capacity of these cells to become resistant to infection. The aim of the present work was to assess the characteristics of the interaction between NDV and ciPSCs, and to develop a selection method that would increase tolerance of these cells to NDV-induced cellular damage.

Results: Results showed that ciPSCs were permissive to infection with NDV, and susceptible to virus-mediated cell death. Since ciPSCs that survived infection demonstrated the ability to recover quickly, we devised a system to select surviving cells through multiple infection rounds with NDV. ciPSCs that sustained 9 consecutive infections had a statistically significant increase in survival (up to 36 times) compared to never-infected ciPSCs upon NDV infection (tolerant cells). Increased survival was not caused by a loss of permissiveness to NDV replication. RNA sequencing followed by enrichment pathway analysis showed that numerous metabolic pathways where differentially regulated between tolerant and never-infected ciPSCs.

Conclusions: Results demonstrate that ciPSCs are permissive to NDV infection and become increasingly tolerant to NDV under selective pressure, indicating that this system could be applied to study mechanisms of cellular tolerance to NDV.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12985-016-0659-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5139146PMC
December 2016
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