Publications by authors named "Mervi Ristola"

11 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Co-stimulation with IL-1β and TNF-α induces an inflammatory reactive astrocyte phenotype with neurosupportive characteristics in a human pluripotent stem cell model system.

Sci Rep 2019 11 15;9(1):16944. Epub 2019 Nov 15.

NeuroGroup, Faculty of Medicine and Health Technology, Tampere University, Tampere, Finland.

Astrocyte reactivation has been discovered to be an important contributor to several neurological diseases. In vitro models involving human astrocytes have the potential to reveal disease-specific mechanisms of these cells and to advance research on neuropathological conditions. Here, we induced a reactive phenotype in human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)-derived astrocytes and studied the inflammatory natures and effects of these cells on human neurons. Astrocytes responded to interleukin-1β (IL-1β) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) treatment with a typical transition to polygonal morphology and a shift to an inflammatory phenotype characterized by altered gene and protein expression profiles. Astrocyte-secreted factors did not exert neurotoxic effects, whereas they transiently promoted the functional activity of neurons. Importantly, we engineered a novel microfluidic platform designed for investigating interactions between neuronal axons and reactive astrocytes that also enables the implementation of a controlled inflammatory environment. In this platform, selective stimulation of astrocytes resulted in an inflammatory niche that sustained axonal growth, further suggesting that treatment induces a reactive astrocyte phenotype with neurosupportive characteristics. Our findings show that hiPSC-derived astrocytes are suitable for modeling astrogliosis, and the developed in vitro platform provides promising novel tools for studying neuron-astrocyte crosstalk and human brain disease in a dish.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-53414-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6858358PMC
November 2019

Optimised PDMS Tunnel Devices on MEAs Increase the Probability of Detecting Electrical Activity from Human Stem Cell-Derived Neuronal Networks.

Front Neurosci 2017 31;11:606. Epub 2017 Oct 31.

NeuroGroup, BioMediTech Institute and Faculty of Medicine and Biosciences, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland.

Measurement of the activity of human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC)-derived neuronal networks with microelectrode arrays (MEAs) plays an important role in functional brain modelling and in neurotoxicological screening. The previously reported hPSC-derived neuronal networks do not, however, exhibit repeatable, stable functional network characteristics similar to rodent cortical cultures, making the interpretation of results difficult. In earlier studies, microtunnels have been used both to control and guide cell growth and amplify the axonal signals of rodent neurons. The aim of the current study was to develop tunnel devices that would facilitate signalling and/or signal detection in entire hPSC-derived neuronal networks containing not only axons, but also somata and dendrites. Therefore, MEA-compatible polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) tunnel devices with 8 different dimensions were created. The hPSC-derived neurons were cultured in the tunnel devices on MEAs, and the spontaneous electrical activity of the networks was measured for 5 weeks. Although the tunnel devices improved the signal-to-noise ratio only by 1.3-fold at best, they significantly increased the percentage of electrodes detecting neuronal activity (52-100%) compared with the controls (27%). Significantly higher spike and burst counts were also obtained using the tunnel devices. Neuronal networks inside the tunnels were amenable to pharmacological manipulation. The results suggest that tunnel devices encompassing the entire neuronal network can increase the measured spontaneous activity in hPSC-derived neuronal networks on MEAs. Therefore, they can increase the efficiency of functional studies of hPSC-derived networks on MEAs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2017.00606DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5671636PMC
October 2017

Laminin α5 substrates promote survival, network formation and functional development of human pluripotent stem cell-derived neurons in vitro.

Stem Cell Res 2017 10 12;24:118-127. Epub 2017 Sep 12.

NeuroGroup, BioMediTech, University of Tampere, Lääkärinkatu 1, 33520 Tampere, Finland.

Laminins are one of the major protein groups in the extracellular matrix (ECM) and specific laminin isoforms are crucial for neuronal functions in the central nervous system in vivo. In the present study, we compared recombinant human laminin isoforms (LN211, LN332, LN411, LN511, and LN521) and laminin isoform fragment (LN511-E8) in in vitro cultures of human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC)-derived neurons. We showed that laminin substrates containing the α5-chain are important for neuronal attachment, viability and network formation, as detected by phase contrast imaging, viability staining, and immunocytochemistry. Gene expression analysis showed that the molecular mechanisms involved in the preference of hPSC-derived neurons for specific laminin isoforms could be related to ECM remodeling and cell adhesion. Importantly, the microelectrode array analysis revealed the widest distribution of electrophysiologically active neurons on laminin α5 substrates, indicating most efficient development of neuronal network functionality. This study shows that specific laminin α5 substrates provide a controlled in vitro culture environment for hPSC-derived neurons. These substrates can be utilized not only to enhance the production of functional hPSC-derived neurons for in vitro applications like disease modeling, toxicological studies, and drug discovery, but also for the production of clinical grade hPSC-derived cells for regenerative medicine applications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scr.2017.09.002DOI Listing
October 2017

Aligned Poly(ε-caprolactone) Nanofibers Guide the Orientation and Migration of Human Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Neurons, Astrocytes, and Oligodendrocyte Precursor Cells In Vitro.

Macromol Biosci 2017 07 15;17(7). Epub 2017 Mar 15.

NeuroGroup, BioMediTech and Faculty of Medicine and Life Sciences, University of Tampere, Lääkärinkatu 1, FI-33520, Tampere, Finland.

Stem cell transplantations for spinal cord injury (SCI) have been studied extensively for the past decade in order to replace the damaged tissue with human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC)-derived neural cells. Transplanted cells may, however, benefit from supporting and guiding structures or scaffolds in order to remain viable and integrate into the host tissue. Biomaterials can be used as supporting scaffolds, as they mimic the characteristics of the natural cellular environment. In this study, hPSC-derived neurons, astrocytes, and oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) are cultured on aligned poly(ε-caprolactone) nanofiber platforms, which guide cell orientation to resemble that of spinal cord in vivo. All cell types are shown to efficiently spread over the nanofiber platform and orient according to the fiber alignment. Human neurons and astrocytes require extracellular matrix molecule coating for the nanofibers, but OPCs grow on nanofibers without additional treatment. Furthermore, the nanofiber platform is combined with a 3D hydrogel scaffold with controlled thickness, and nanofiber-mediated orientation of hPSC-derived neurons is also demonstrated in a 3D environment. In this work, clinically relevant materials and substrates for nanofibers, fiber coatings, and hydrogel scaffolds are used and combined with cells suitable for developing functional cell grafts for SCI repair.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/mabi.201600517DOI Listing
July 2017

Cell culture chamber with gas supply for prolonged recording of human neuronal cells on microelectrode array.

J Neurosci Methods 2017 03 1;280:27-35. Epub 2017 Feb 1.

Tampere University of Technology, Biomedical Sciences and Engineering, BioMediTech, Korkeakoulunkatu 3, FI-33720, Tampere, Finland. Electronic address:

Background: Typically, live cell analyses are performed outside an incubator in an ambient air, where the lack of sufficient CO supply results in a fast change of pH and the high evaporation causes concentration drifts in the culture medium. That limits the experiment time for tens of minutes. In many applications, e.g. in neurotoxicity studies, a prolonged measurement of extracellular activity is, however, essential.

New Method: We demonstrate a simple cell culture chamber that enables stable culture conditions during prolonged extracellular recordings on a microelectrode array (MEA) outside an incubator. The proposed chamber consists of a gas permeable silicone structure that enables gas transfer into the chamber.

Results: We show that the culture chamber supports the growth of the human embryonic stem cell (hESC)-derived neurons both inside and outside an incubator. The structure provides very low evaporation, stable pH and osmolarity, and maintains strong signaling of hESC-derived neuronal networks over three-day MEA experiments.

Comparison With Existing Methods: Existing systems are typically complex including continuous perfusion of medium or relatively large amount of gas to supply. The proposed chamber requires only a supply of very low flow rate (1.5ml/min) of non-humidified 5% CO gas. Utilizing dry gas supply makes the proposed chamber simple to use.

Conclusion: Using the proposed culture structure on top of MEA, we can maintain hESC-derived neural networks over three days outside an incubator. Technically, the structure requires very low flow rate of dry gas supporting, however, low evaporation and maintaining the pH of the culture.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jneumeth.2017.01.019DOI Listing
March 2017

Functions of the podocyte proteins nephrin and Neph3 and the transcriptional regulation of their genes.

Clin Sci (Lond) 2014 Mar;126(5):315-28

*Department of Pathology, Haartman Institute, University of Helsinki, 00290 Helsinki, Finland.

Nephrin and Neph-family proteins [Neph1-3 (nephrin-like 1-3)] belong to the immunoglobulin superfamily of cell-adhesion receptors and are expressed in the glomerular podocytes. Both nephrin and Neph-family members function in cell adhesion and signalling, and thus regulate the structure and function of podocytes and maintain normal glomerular ultrafiltration. The expression of nephrin and Neph3 is altered in human proteinuric diseases emphasizing the importance of studying the transcriptional regulation of the nephrin and Neph3 genes NPHS1 (nephrosis 1, congenital, Finnish type) and KIRREL2 (kin of IRRE-like 2) respectively. The nephrin and Neph3 genes form a bidirectional gene pair, and they share transcriptional regulatory mechanisms. In the present review, we summarize the current knowledge of the functions of nephrin and Neph-family proteins and transcription factors and agents that control nephrin and Neph3 gene expression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1042/CS20130258DOI Listing
March 2014

Regulation of nephrin gene by the Ets transcription factor, GA-binding protein.

Nephrol Dial Transplant 2013 Apr 29;28(4):846-55. Epub 2012 Nov 29.

Department of Pathology, Haartman Institute, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.

Background: Transcription factor GA-binding protein (GABP) is suggested to be involved in the formation of the neuromuscular junctions by regulating the transcription of synapse genes. Interestingly, neurons and podocytes share molecular and functional similarities that led us to investigate the expression and function of GABP in podocytes and its role in transcriptional regulation of nephrin, the key molecule of the podocyte slit diaphragm that is essential for normal glomerular ultrafiltration.

Methods: The expression and localization of GABP in the rat and human kidney as well as in human embryonic kidney A293 cells and undifferentiated and differentiated human podocytes were analysed by immunoblotting and immunostaining. The role of GABP in activating the nephrin promoter was investigated by reporter gene assay and site-directed mutagenesis of the GABP-binding elements, and the interaction of GABP with the nephrin promoter was analysed by chromatin immunoprecipitation. The function of GABP in podocytes was studied by knocking down GABPα in differentiated human podocytes using lentiviral shRNA targeting GABPα.

Results: GABP is expressed in the nuclei in rat and human glomeruli. In addition, in A293 cells and undifferentiated and differentiated human podocytes, GABP highly enriches in the nucleus. GABP activates and binds nephrin proximal promoter and Ets sites are essential for this activity. Knock-down of GABPα stimulates apoptosis in cultured podocytes.

Conclusions: The results show that GABP is expressed in podocytes and is involved in the regulation of nephrin gene expression. Furthermore, GABP may be important in the maintenance of podocyte function by regulating apoptosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ndt/gfs482DOI Listing
April 2013

Transcription of nephrin-Neph3 gene pair is synergistically activated by WT1 and NF-κB and silenced by DNA methylation.

Nephrol Dial Transplant 2012 May 6;27(5):1737-45. Epub 2011 Oct 6.

Department of Pathology, Haartman Institute, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.

Background: Nephrin and Neph3 are homologous molecules expressed in the podocyte slit diaphragms that are essential for normal glomerular ultrafiltration. Nephrin and Neph3 genes form a bidirectional gene pair suggesting that they may share key features in their regulation. We investigated if nephrin and Neph3 genes have similar mechanisms in their transcriptional regulation focussing on transcription factor Wilms' tumour 1 (WT1) and nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) and DNA methylation.

Methods: Transcriptional regulation of nephrin and Neph3 by WT1 and NF-κB was analysed by overexpression studies, reporter gene assay and chromatin immunoprecipitation using A293 cells and cultured podocytes. The interaction between WT1 and NF-κB was studied by co-immunoprecipitation. The effect of NF-κB activator tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) with or without NF-κB pathway inhibitor (BAY 11-7082) on nephrin and Neph3 messenger RNA (mRNA) expression and on cellular distribution of NF-κB was determined by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and immunostaining, respectively. The role of DNA methylation in regulating nephrin and Neph3 genes was studied by demethylating agent (5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine) treatment and quantitative PCR.

Results: WT1 and NF-κB interact with nephrin and Neph3 promoter and cooperatively regulate nephrin and Neph3. The cooperation was further supported by the physical interaction between WT1 and NF-κB. TNF-α increased nephrin and Neph3 mRNA expression and this effect was mediated by NF-κB. Furthermore, DNA methylation played a role in silencing nephrin and Neph3 expression in a cell-type and differentiation stage-dependent manner.

Conclusion: These results provide novel insights into the transcriptional regulation of nephrin and Neph3 genes and indicate that nephrin and Neph3 share the same mechanisms in their regulation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ndt/gfr576DOI Listing
May 2012

Trans-interaction of nephrin and Neph1/Neph3 induces cell adhesion that associates with decreased tyrosine phosphorylation of nephrin.

Biochem J 2011 May;435(3):619-28

Department of Pathology, Haartman Institute, University of Helsinki, Haartmaninkatu 3, 00290 Helsinki, Finland.

Slit diaphragms are specialized junctions between glomerular epithelial cells (podocytes) that are crucial for glomerular ultrafiltration. The Ig superfamily members nephrin and Neph1 are essential components of the slit diaphragm, whereas the role of Neph1 homologue Neph3 in the slit diaphragm is unknown. In the present paper we show that Neph3 homodimerizes and heterodimerizes with nephrin and Neph1. We further investigated whether these interactions play a role in cell adhesion by using mouse L fibroblasts that lack endogenous cell-adhesion activity and found that Neph1 and Neph3 are able to induce cell adhesion alone, whereas nephrin needs to trans-interact with Neph1 or Neph3 in order to promote formation of cell-cell contacts. Tyrosine phosphorylation of nephrin was down-regulated after nephrin trans-interacted with either Neph1 or Neph3 leading to formation of cell-cell contacts. We further found that the expression of Neph3 was increased in nephrin-deficient mouse podocytes. The findings of the present paper show that nephrin and Neph1 or Neph3 trans-interactions promote cell-contact formation, suggesting that they may also function together in slit diaphragm assembly.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1042/BJ20101599DOI Listing
May 2011

Regulation of Neph3 gene in podocytes--key roles of transcription factors NF-kappaB and Sp1.

BMC Mol Biol 2009 Aug 24;10:83. Epub 2009 Aug 24.

Department of Bacteriology and Immunology, Haartman Institute, P,O, Box 21, 00014 University of Helsinki, Finland.

Background: Neph3 (filtrin) is expressed in the glomerular podocytes where it localizes at the specialized cell adhesion structures of the foot processes called slit diaphragms which form the outermost layer of the glomerular filtration barrier. Neph3 protein shows homology and structural similarity to Neph1, Neph2 and nephrin, which all are crucial for maintaining the normal glomerular ultrafiltration function. The exact function of Neph3 in the kidney is not known but we have previously shown that the level of Neph3 mRNA is decreased in proteinuric diseases. This suggests that Neph3 may play a role in the pathogenesis of kidney damage, and emphasizes the need to analyze the regulatory mechanisms of Neph3 gene. In this study we investigated the transcriptional regulation of Neph3 gene by identifying transcription factors that control Neph3 expression.

Results: We cloned and characterized approximately 5 kb fragment upstream of the Neph3 gene. Neph3 proximal promoter near the transcription start site was found to be devoid of TATA and CAAT boxes, but to contain a highly GC-rich area. Using promoter reporter gene constructs, we localized the main activating regulatory region of Neph3 gene in its proximal promoter region from -105 to -57. Within this region, putative transcription factor binding sites for NF-kappaB and Sp1 were found by computational analysis. Mutational screening indicated that NF-kappaB and Sp1 response elements are essential for the basal transcriptional activity of the Neph3 promoter. Co-transfection studies further showed that NF-kappaB and Sp1 regulate Neph3 promoter activity. In addition, overexpression of NF-kappaB increased endogenous Neph3 gene expression. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assay using cultured human podocytes demonstrated that both NF-kappaB and Sp1 interact with the Neph3 promoter.

Conclusion: Our results show that NF-kappaB and Sp1 are key regulators of Neph3 expression at the basal level in podocytes, therefore providing new insight into the molecular mechanisms that contribute to the expression of Neph3 gene.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2199-10-83DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2736951PMC
August 2009

Densin and beta-catenin form a complex and co-localize in cultured podocyte cell junctions.

Mol Cell Biochem 2007 Nov 21;305(1-2):9-18. Epub 2007 Jun 21.

Department of Bacteriology and Immunology, Haartman Institute, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.

Densin is a member of LAP (leucine-rich repeat and PDZ domain) protein family that localizes in kidney to slit diaphragms, which are essential components of the glomerular filtration barrier. We have previously shown that densin interacts with a crucial slit diaphragm protein, nephrin. Here, we searched for novel binding partners of densin by yeast-two hybrid assay and identified beta-catenin. The interaction was confirmed by reciprocal co-immunoprecipitation assay and the binding site in densin was determined by GST-pull down assays. The GST-tagged densin was also able to pull down P-cadherin together with beta-catenin from human kidney glomerular lysates. Furthermore, densin co-localized with beta-catenin and F-actin in cell-cell contacts in cultured mouse podocytes. During cell-cell contact disruption and reformation densin and beta-catenin were dislocated from and relocated back to plasma membrane in a similar fashion. These and our previous findings suggest that densin may associate with the cadherin-catenin and nephrin complex(es), and may be involved in the formation of the cell-cell contacts including the slit diaphragm.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11010-007-9522-6DOI Listing
November 2007
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