Publications by authors named "Sandra A Acosta"

20 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Endothelial Progenitor Cells Modulate Inflammation-Associated Stroke Vasculome.

Stem Cell Rev Rep 2019 04;15(2):256-275

Department of Neurosurgery and Brain Repair, University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine, 12901 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., Tampa, FL, 33612, USA.

Stroke remains a major unmet clinical need that warrants novel therapies. Following an ischemic insult, the cerebral vasculature secretes inflammatory molecules, creating the stroke vasculome profile. The present study evaluated the therapeutic effects of endothelial cells on the inflammation-associated stroke vasculome. qRT-PCR analysis revealed that specific inflammation-related vasculome genes BRM, IκB, Foxf1, and ITIH-5 significantly upregulated by oxygen glucose deprivation (OGD. Interestingly, co-culture of human endothelial cells (HEN6) with human endothelial cells (EPCs) during OGD significantly blocked the elevations of BRM, IκB, and Foxf1, but not ITIH-5. Next, employing the knockdown/antisense technology, silencing the inflammation-associated stroke vasculome gene, IκB, as opposed to scrambled knockdown, blocked the EPC-mediated protection of HEN6 against OGD. In vivo, stroke animals transplanted with intracerebral human EPCs (300,000 cells) into the striatum and cortex 4 h post ischemic stroke displayed significant behavioral recovery up to 30 days post-transplantation compared to vehicle-treated stroke animals. At 7 days post-transplantation, quantification of the fluorescent staining intensity in the cortex and striatum revealed significant upregulation of the endothelial marker RECA1 and a downregulation of the stroke-associated vasculome BRM, IKB, Foxf1, ITIH-5 and PMCA2 in the ipsilateral side of cortex and striatum of EPC-transplanted stroke animals relative to vehicle-treated stroke animals. Altogether, these results demonstrate that EPCs exert therapeutic effects in experimental stroke possibly by modulating the inflammation-plagued vasculome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12015-019-9873-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6441406PMC
April 2019

Chronic Upregulation of Cleaved-Caspase-3 Associated with Chronic Myelin Pathology and Microvascular Reorganization in the Thalamus after Traumatic Brain Injury in Rats.

Int J Mol Sci 2018 Oct 13;19(10). Epub 2018 Oct 13.

Single Breath, Inc., Midlothian, VA 23113-1074, USA.

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is associated with long-term disabilities and devastating chronic neurological complications including problems with cognition, motor function, sensory processing, as well as behavioral deficits and mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, personality change and social unsuitability. Clinical data suggest that disruption of the thalamo-cortical system including anatomical and metabolic changes in the thalamus following TBI might be responsible for some chronic neurological deficits following brain trauma. Detailed mechanisms of these pathological processes are not completely understood. The goal of this study was to evaluate changes in the thalamus following TBI focusing on cleaved-caspase-3, a specific effector of caspase pathway activation and myelin and microvascular pathologies using immuno- and histochemistry at different time points from 24 h to 3 months after controlled cortical impact (CCI) in adult Sprague-Dawley rats. Significant increases in cleaved-caspase-3 immunoreactivity in the thalamus were observed starting one month and persisting for at least three months following experimental TBI. Further, the study demonstrated an association of cleaved-caspase-3 with the demyelination of neuronal processes and tissue degeneration in the gray matter in the thalamus, as reflected in alterations of myelinated fiber integrity (luxol fast blue) and decreases in myelin basic protein (MBP) immunoreactivity. The immunofluorescent counterstaining of cleaved-caspase-3 with endothelial barrier antigen (EBA), a marker of blood-brain barrier, revealed limited direct and indirect associations of cleaved caspase-3 with blood-brain barrier damage. These results demonstrate for the first time a significant chronic upregulation of cleaved-caspase-3 in selected thalamic regions associated with cortical regions directly affected by CCI injury. Further, our study is also the first to report that significant upregulation of cleaved-caspase-3 in selected ipsilateral thalamic regions is associated with microvascular reorganization reflected in the significant increases in the number of microvessels with blood-brain barrier alterations detected by EBA staining. These findings provide new insights into potential mechanisms of TBI cell death involving chronic activation of caspase-3 associated with disrupted cortico-thalamic and thalamo-cortical connectivity. Moreover, this study offers the initial evidence that this upregulation of activated caspase-3, delayed degeneration of myelinated nerve fibers and microvascular reorganization with impaired blood-brain barrier integrity in the thalamus might represent reciprocal pathological processes affecting neuronal networks and brain function at the chronic stages of TBI.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms19103151DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6214127PMC
October 2018

Regulatory T-cells within bone marrow-derived stem cells actively confer immunomodulatory and neuroprotective effects against stroke.

J Cereb Blood Flow Metab 2019 09 23;39(9):1750-1758. Epub 2018 Mar 23.

1 Department of Neurosurgery and Brain Repair, Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair, USF Morsani College of Medicine, Tampa, FL, USA.

Regulatory T-cells (T) may exert a neuroprotective effect on ischemic stroke by inhibiting both inflammation and effector T-cell activation. Transplantation of human bone marrow-derived stem cells (BMSCs) in ischemic stroke affords neuroprotection that results in part from the cells' anti-inflammatory property. However, the relationship between T and BMSCs in treatment of ischemic stroke has not been fully elucidated. Here, we tested the hypothesis that T within the BMSCs represent active mediators of immunomodulation and neuroprotection in experimental stroke. Primary rat neuronal cells were subjected to an oxygen-glucose deprivation and reperfusion (OGD/R) condition. The cells were re-perfused and co-cultured with T and/or BMSCs. We detected a minority population of T within BMSCs with both immunocytochemistry (ICC) and flow cytometry identifying cells expressing phenotypic markers of CD4, CD25, and FoxP3 protein. BMSCs with the native population of T conferred maximal neuroprotection compared to the treatment conditions containing 0%, 10%, and 100% relative ratio T. Increasing the T population resulted in increased IL6 secretion and decreased FGF-β secretion by BMSCs. This study shows that a minority population of T exists within the therapeutic BMSC population, which serves as robust mediators of the immunomodulatory and neuroprotective effect provided by BMSC transplantation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0271678X18766172DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6727132PMC
September 2019

Chronic inflammation and apoptosis propagate in ischemic cerebellum and heart of non-human primates.

Oncotarget 2017 Nov 1;8(61):102820-102834. Epub 2017 Jun 1.

Department of Neurosurgery and Brain Repair, University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine, Tampa, Florida, USA.

The major pathological consequences of cerebral ischemia are characterized by neurological deficits commonly ascribed to the infarcted tissue and its surrounding region, however, brain areas, as well as peripheral organs, distal from the original injury may manifest as subtle disease sequelae that can increase the risks of co-morbidities complicating the disease symptoms. To evaluate the vulnerability of the cerebellum and the heart to secondary injuries in the late stage of transient global ischemia (TGI) model in non-human primates (NHP), brain and heart tissues were collected at six months post-TGI. Unbiased stereological analyses of immunostained tissues showed significant Purkinje cells loss in lobule III and lobule IX of the TGI cerebellum relative to sham cerebellum, with corresponding upregulation of inflammatory and apoptotic cells. Similarly, TGI hearts revealed significant activation of inflammatory and apoptotic cells relative to sham hearts. Aberrant inflammation and apoptosis in the cerebellum and the heart of chronic TGI-exposed NHPs suggest distal secondary injuries manifesting both centrally and peripherally. These results advance our understanding on the sustained propagation of chronic secondary injuries after TGI, highlighting the need to develop therapeutic interventions targeting the brain, as well as the heart, in order to abrogate cerebral ischemia and its related co-morbidities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.18330DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5732692PMC
November 2017

Multifaceted Effects of Delta Opioid Receptors and DADLE in Diseases of the Nervous System.

Curr Drug Discov Technol 2018 ;15(2):94-108

Department of Neurosurgery and Brain Repair, University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine, 12901 Bruce B. Downs Boulevard, Tampa, Florida 33612, United States.

Background: The opioid system is considered a potential therapeutic target in a variety of neurological disorders. Delta opioid receptors (DORs) are broadly expressed in the brain, and their activation protects cells from hypoxic/ischemic insults by counteracting disruptions of ionic homeostasis and initiating neuroprotective pathways. The DOR agonist D-Ala2-D-Leu2-Enkephalin (DADLE) promotes neuronal survival, mitigates apoptotic pathways, and protects neurons and glial cells from ischemia-induced cell death, thus making DADLE a promising therapeutic option for stroke. The significant amount of research regarding DORs and DADLE in the last decades also suggests their potential in treating other neurological disorders.

Methods: This review compiled relevant literature detailing the role of DORs and agonists in central nervous system function and neuropathologies.

Results: Several studies demonstrate potential mechanisms implicating a key interaction between DORs and DADLE in conferring neuroprotective benefits. A better understanding of DOR function in disease-specific contexts is critical to transitioning DOR agonists into the clinic as a therapy for stroke and other neurological diseases.

Conclusion: Evidence-based studies support the potential of the delta-opioid family of receptors and its ligands in developing novel therapeutic strategies for stroke and other brain disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/1570163814666171010114403DOI Listing
June 2019

Stem cell therapy for abrogating stroke-induced neuroinflammation and relevant secondary cell death mechanisms.

Prog Neurobiol 2017 Nov 23;158:94-131. Epub 2017 Jul 23.

Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair, University of South Florida College of Medicine, 12901 Bruce B Downs Blvd Tampa, FL 33612, USA. Electronic address:

Ischemic stroke is a leading cause of death worldwide. A key secondary cell death mechanism mediating neurological damage following the initial episode of ischemic stroke is the upregulation of endogenous neuroinflammatory processes to levels that destroy hypoxic tissue local to the area of insult, induce apoptosis, and initiate a feedback loop of inflammatory cascades that can expand the region of damage. Stem cell therapy has emerged as an experimental treatment for stroke, and accumulating evidence supports the therapeutic efficacy of stem cells to abrogate stroke-induced inflammation. In this review, we investigate clinically relevant stem cell types, such as hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs), very small embryonic-like stem cells (VSELs), neural stem cells (NSCs), extraembryonic stem cells, adipose tissue-derived stem cells, breast milk-derived stem cells, menstrual blood-derived stem cells, dental tissue-derived stem cells, induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), teratocarcinoma-derived Ntera2/D1 neuron-like cells (NT2N), c-mycER(TAM) modified NSCs (CTX0E03), and notch-transfected mesenchymal stromal cells (SB623), comparing their potential efficacy to sequester stroke-induced neuroinflammation and their feasibility as translational clinical cell sources. To this end, we highlight that MSCs, with a proven track record of safety and efficacy as a transplantable cell for hematologic diseases, stand as an attractive cell type that confers superior anti-inflammatory effects in stroke both in vitro and in vivo. That stem cells can mount a robust anti-inflammatory action against stroke complements the regenerative processes of cell replacement and neurotrophic factor secretion conventionally ascribed to cell-based therapy in neurological disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pneurobio.2017.07.004DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5671910PMC
November 2017

Stem Cell-Induced Biobridges as Possible Tools to Aid Neuroreconstruction after CNS Injury.

Front Cell Dev Biol 2017 10;5:51. Epub 2017 May 10.

Department of Neurosurgery and Brain Repair, Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair, University of South Florida College of MedicineTampa, FL, USA.

Notch-induced mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) mediate a distinct mechanism of repair after brain injury by forming a biobridge that facilitates biodistribution of host cells from a neurogenic niche to the area of injury. We have observed the biobridge in an area between the subventricular zone and the injured cortex using immunohistochemistry and laser capture. Cells in the biobridge express high levels of extracellular matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), specifically MMP-9, which co-localized with a trail of MSCs graft. The transplanted stem cells then become almost undetectable, being replaced by newly recruited host cells. This stem cell-paved biobridge provides support for distal migration of host cells from the subventricular zone to the site of injury. Biobridge formation by transplanted stem cells seems to have a fundamental role in initiating endogenous repair processes. Two major stem cell-mediated repair mechanisms have been proposed thus far: direct cell replacement by transplanted grafts and bystander effects through the secretion of trophic factors including fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF-2), epidermal growth factor (EGF), stem cell factor (SCF), erythropoietin, and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) among others. This groundbreaking observation of biobridge formation by transplanted stem cells represents a novel mechanism for stem cell mediated brain repair. Future studies on graft-host interaction will likely establish biobridge formation as a fundamental mechanism underlying therapeutic effects of stem cells and contribute to the scientific pursuit of developing safe and efficient therapies not only for traumatic brain injury but also for other neurological disorders. The aim of this review is to hypothetically extend concepts related to the formation of biobridges in other central nervous system disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fcell.2017.00051DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5424542PMC
May 2017

Increased Amyloid Precursor Protein and Tau Expression Manifests as Key Secondary Cell Death in Chronic Traumatic Brain Injury.

J Cell Physiol 2017 Mar 19;232(3):665-677. Epub 2016 Oct 19.

Department of Neurosurgery and Brain Repair, Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair, University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine, Tampa, Florida.

In testing the hypothesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD)-like pathology in late stage traumatic brain injury (TBI), we evaluated AD pathological markers in late stage TBI model. Sprague-Dawley male rats were subjected to moderate controlled cortical impact (CCI) injury, and 6 months later euthanized and brain tissues harvested. Results from H&E staining revealed significant 33% and 10% reduction in the ipsilateral and contralateral hippocampal CA3 interneurons, increased MHCII-activated inflammatory cells in many gray matter (8-20-fold increase) and white matter (6-30-fold increased) regions of both the ipsilateral and contralateral hemispheres, decreased cell cycle regulating protein marker by 1.6- and 1-fold in the SVZ and a 2.3- and 1.5-fold reductions in the ipsilateral and contralateral dentate gyrus, diminution of immature neuronal marker by two- and onefold in both the ipsilateral and contralateral SVZ and dentate gyrus, and amplified amyloid precursor protein (APP) distribution volumes in white matter including corpus callosum, fornix, and internal capsule (4-38-fold increase), as well as in the cortical gray matter, such as the striatum hilus, SVZ, and dentate gyrus (6-40-fold increase) in TBI animals compared to controls (P's < 0.001). Surrogate AD-like phenotypic markers revealed a significant accumulation of phosphorylated tau (AT8) and oligomeric tau (T22) within the neuronal cell bodies in ipsilateral and contralateral cortex, and dentate gyrus relative to sham control, further supporting the rampant neurodegenerative pathology in TBI secondary cell death. These findings indicate that AD-like pathological features may prove to be valuable markers and therapeutic targets for late stage TBI. J. Cell. Physiol. 232: 665-677, 2017. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jcp.25629DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5484295PMC
March 2017

A Nuclear Attack on Traumatic Brain Injury: Sequestration of Cell Death in the Nucleus.

CNS Neurosci Ther 2016 Apr 4;22(4):306-15. Epub 2016 Feb 4.

Department of Neurosurgery and Brain Repair, University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine, Tampa, FL, USA.

Background: Exportin 1 (XPO1/CRM1) plays prominent roles in the regulation of nuclear protein export. Selective inhibitors of nuclear export (SINE) are small orally bioavailable molecules that serve as drug-like inhibitors of XPO1, with potent anti-cancer properties. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) presents with a secondary cell death characterized by neuroinflammation that is putatively regulated by nuclear receptors.

Aims And Results: Here, we report that the SINE compounds (KPT-350 or KPT-335) sequestered TBI-induced neuroinflammation-related proteins (NF-(k)B, AKT, FOXP1) within the nucleus of cultured primary rat cortical neurons, which coincided with protection against TNF-α (20 ng/mL)-induced neurotoxicity as shown by at least 50% and 100% increments in preservation of cell viability and cellular enzymatic activity, respectively, compared to non-treated neuronal cells (P's < 0.05). In parallel, using an in vivo controlled cortical impact (CCI) model of TBI, we demonstrate that adult Sprague-Dawley rats treated post-injury with SINE compounds exhibited significant reductions in TBI-induced behavioral and histological deficits. Animals that received KPT-350 orally starting at 2 h post-TBI and once a day thereafter over the next 4 days exhibited significantly better motor coordination, and balance in the rotorod test and motor asymmetry test by 100-200% improvements, as early as 4 h after initial SINE compound injection that was sustained during subsequent KPT-350 dosing, and throughout the 18-day post-TBI study period compared to vehicle treatment (P's < 0.05). Moreover, KPT-350 reduced cortical core impact area and peri-impact cell death compared to vehicle treatment (P's < 0.05).

Conclusions: Both in vitro and in vivo experiments revealed that KPT-350 increased XPO1, AKT, and FOXP1 nuclear expression and relegated NF-(k)B expression within the neuronal nuclei. Altogether, these findings advance the utility of SINE compounds to stop trafficking of cell death proteins within the nucleus as an efficacious treatment for TBI.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cns.12501DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5067638PMC
April 2016

Intravenous Bone Marrow Stem Cell Grafts Preferentially Migrate to Spleen and Abrogate Chronic Inflammation in Stroke.

Stroke 2015 Sep 28;46(9):2616-27. Epub 2015 Jul 28.

From the Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair, Department of Neurosurgery and Brain Repair, University of South Florida College of Medicine, Tampa.

Background And Purpose: Adult stem cell therapy is an experimental stroke treatment. Here, we assessed homing and anti-inflammatory effects of bone marrow stromal cells (hBMSCs) in chronic stroke.

Methods: At 60 days post stroke, adult Sprague-Dawley rats received intravenous hBMSCs (4×10(6) labeled or nonlabeled cells) or vehicle (saline). A sham surgery group served as additional control. In vivo imaging was conducted between 1 hour and 11 days post transplantation, followed by histological examination.

Results: Labeled hBMSCs migrated to spleen which emitted significantly higher fluorescent signal across all time points, especially during the first hour, and were modestly detected in the head region at the 12 hours and 11 days, compared with nonlabeled hBMSCs and vehicle-infused stroke animals, or sham (P<0.05). At 11 days post transplantation, ex vivo imaging confirmed preferential hBMSC migration to the spleen over the brain. Hematoxylin and eosin staining revealed significant 15% and 30% reductions in striatal infarct and peri-infarct area, and a trend of rescue against neuronal loss in the hippocampus. Unbiased stereology showed significant 75% and 60% decrements in major histocompatibility complex II-activated inflammatory cells in gray and white matter, and a 43% diminution in tumor necrosis factor-α cell density in the spleen of transplanted stroke animals compared with vehicle-infused stroke animals (P<0.05). Human antigen immunostaining revealed 0.03% hBMSCs survived in spleen and only 0.0007% in brain. MSC migration to spleen, but not brain, inversely correlated with reduced infarct, peri-infarct, and inflammation.

Conclusions: hBMSC transplantation is therapeutic in chronic stroke possibly by abrogating the inflammation-plagued secondary cell death.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/STROKEAHA.115.009854DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4542567PMC
September 2015

Stem cell-paved biobridges facilitate stem transplant and host brain cell interactions for stroke therapy.

Brain Res 2015 Oct 11;1623:160-5. Epub 2015 Mar 11.

Department of Neurosurgery and Brain Repair, University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine, 12901 Bruce B. Downs Blvd, Tampa, FL 33612, United States. Electronic address:

Distinguished by an infarct core encased within a penumbra, stroke remains a primary source of mortality within the United States. While our scientific knowledge regarding the pathology of stroke continues to improve, clinical treatment options for patients suffering from stroke are extremely limited. Tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) remains the sole FDA-approved drug proven to be helpful following stroke. However, due to the need to administer the drug within 4.5h of stroke onset its usefulness is constrained to less than 5% of all patients suffering from ischemic stroke. One experimental therapy for the treatment of stroke involves the utilization of stem cells. Stem cell transplantation has been linked to therapeutic benefit by means of cell replacement and release of growth factors; however the precise means by which this is accomplished has not yet been clearly delineated. Using a traumatic brain injury model, we recently demonstrated the ability of transplanted mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) to form a biobridge connecting the area of injury to the neurogenic niche within the brain. We hypothesize that MSCs may also have the capacity to create a similar biobridge following stroke; thereby forming a conduit between the neurogenic niche and the stroke core and peri-infarct area. We propose that this biobridge could assist and promote interaction of host brain cells with transplanted stem cells and offer more opportunities to enhance the effectiveness of stem cell therapy in stroke. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled SI: Cell Interactions In Stroke.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.brainres.2015.03.007DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4567535PMC
October 2015

Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor attenuates delayed tPA-induced hemorrhagic transformation in ischemic stroke rats by enhancing angiogenesis and vasculogenesis.

J Cereb Blood Flow Metab 2015 Feb 26;35(2):338-46. Epub 2014 Nov 26.

Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair, Department of Neurosurgery and Brain Repair, University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine, Tampa, Florida, USA.

Treatment with tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) beyond the therapeutic time window (>4.5 hours post stroke) may produce hemorrhagic transformation (HT). Strategies that could extend the narrow time window of tPA will benefit a significant number of stroke patients. Male Sprague-Dawley rats underwent middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAo) and given vehicle, tPA (10 mg/kg), or tPA and granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF, 300 μg/kg), at 6 hours after MCAo. Twenty-four hours post treatment, G-CSF+tPA-treated stroke rats displayed 25% improvement in neurological functions and 38.9% reduction of hemorrhage, with Western blots showing 1.9- and 1.2-fold increments in Ang-2 expression in the ischemic cortex and striatum, respectively, and 3-fold increase in phosphorylated endothelial nitric oxide synthase expression in the ipsilateral cortex relative to tPA-treated rats. Immunohistochemistry also showed 2- and 2.8-fold increase in von-Willebrand expression, 3.2- and 2.2-fold increased CD34+ expression, and 4- and 13-fold upregulation of VEGFR-2 expression in the ischemic cortex and striatum, respectively, in G-CSF+tPA-treated stroke rats relative to tPA-treated subjects. Altogether, these findings indicate that G-CSF attenuated delayed tPA-induced HT likely via the enhancement of angiogenesis and vasculogenesis. The use of G-CSF to protect the vasculature may improve the clinical outcome of tPA even outside the currently indicated therapeutic window for ischemic stroke.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/jcbfm.2014.208DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4426753PMC
February 2015

Alpha-synuclein as a pathological link between chronic traumatic brain injury and Parkinson's disease.

J Cell Physiol 2015 May;230(5):1024-32

Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair, Department of Neurosurgery and Brain Repair, University of South Florida College of Medicine, Tampa, Florida.

The long-term consequences of traumatic brain injury (TBI) are closely associated with the development of histopathological deficits. Notably, TBI may predispose long-term survivors to age-related neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson's disease (PD), which is characterized by a gradual degeneration of the nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons. However, preclinical studies on the pathophysiological changes in substantia nigra (SN) after chronic TBI are lacking. In the present in vivo study, we examined the pathological link between PD-associated dopaminergic neuronal loss and chronic TBI. Sixty days post-TBI, rats were euthanized and brain tissues harvested. Immunostaining was performed using tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), an enzyme required for the synthesis of dopamine in neurons, α-synuclein, a presynaptic protein that plays a role in synaptic vesicle recycling, and major histocompatibility complex II (MHCII), a protein found in antigen presenting cells such as inflammatory microglia cells, all key players in PD pathology. Unbiased stereology analyses revealed significant decrease of TH-positive expression in the surviving dopaminergic neurons of the SN pars compacta (SNpc) relative to sham control. In parallel, increased α-synuclein accumulation was detected in the ipsilateral SN compared to the contralateral SN in TBI animals or sham control. In addition, exacerbation of MHCII+ cells was recognized in the SN and cerebral peduncle ipsilateral to injury relative to contralateral side and sham control. These results suggest α-synuclein as a pathological link between chronic effects of TBI and PD symptoms as evidenced by significant overexpression and abnormal accumulation of α-synuclein in inflammation-infiltrated SN of rats exposed to chronic TBI.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jcp.24830DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4328145PMC
May 2015

Stem cell-paved biobridge facilitates neural repair in traumatic brain injury.

Front Syst Neurosci 2014 24;8:116. Epub 2014 Jun 24.

Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair, Department of Neurosurgery and Brain Repair, Morsani College of Medicine, University of South Florida Tampa, FL, USA.

Modified mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) display a unique mechanism of action during the repair phase of traumatic brain injury by exhibiting the ability to build a biobridge between the neurogenic niche and the site of injury. Immunohistochemistry and laser capture assay have visualized this biobridge in the area between the neurogenic subventricular zone and the injured cortex. This biobridge expresses high levels of extracellular matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), which are initially co-localized with a stream of transplanted MSCs, but later this region contains only few to non-detectable grafts and becomes overgrown by newly recruited host cells. We have reported that long-distance migration of host cells from the neurogenic niche to the injured brain site can be attained via these transplanted stem cell-paved biobridges, which serve as a key regenerative process for the initiation of endogenous repair mechanisms. Thus, far the two major schools of discipline in stem cell repair mechanisms support the idea of "cell replacement" and the bystander effects of "trophic factor secretion." Our novel observation of stem cell-paved biobridges as pathways for directed migration of host cells from neurogenic niche toward the injured brain site adds another mode of action underlying stem cell therapy. More in-depth investigations on graft-host interaction will likely aid translational research focused on advancing this stem cell-paved biobridge from its current place, as an equally potent repair mechanism as cell replacement and trophic factor secretion, into a new treatment strategy for traumatic brain injury and other neurological disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnsys.2014.00116DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4068001PMC
July 2014

Combination therapy of human umbilical cord blood cells and granulocyte colony stimulating factor reduces histopathological and motor impairments in an experimental model of chronic traumatic brain injury.

PLoS One 2014 12;9(3):e90953. Epub 2014 Mar 12.

Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair, Department of Neurosurgery and Brain Repair, University of South Florida College of Medicine, Tampa, Florida, United States of America.

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is associated with neuro-inflammation, debilitating sensory-motor deficits, and learning and memory impairments. Cell-based therapies are currently being investigated in treating neurotrauma due to their ability to secrete neurotrophic factors and anti-inflammatory cytokines that can regulate the hostile milieu associated with chronic neuroinflammation found in TBI. In tandem, the stimulation and mobilization of endogenous stem/progenitor cells from the bone marrow through granulocyte colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) poses as an attractive therapeutic intervention for chronic TBI. Here, we tested the potential of a combined therapy of human umbilical cord blood cells (hUCB) and G-CSF at the acute stage of TBI to counteract the progressive secondary effects of chronic TBI using the controlled cortical impact model. Four different groups of adult Sprague Dawley rats were treated with saline alone, G-CSF+saline, hUCB+saline or hUCB+G-CSF, 7-days post CCI moderate TBI. Eight weeks after TBI, brains were harvested to analyze hippocampal cell loss, neuroinflammatory response, and neurogenesis by using immunohistochemical techniques. Results revealed that the rats exposed to TBI treated with saline exhibited widespread neuroinflammation, impaired endogenous neurogenesis in DG and SVZ, and severe hippocampal cell loss. hUCB monotherapy suppressed neuroinflammation, nearly normalized the neurogenesis, and reduced hippocampal cell loss compared to saline alone. G-CSF monotherapy produced partial and short-lived benefits characterized by low levels of neuroinflammation in striatum, DG, SVZ, and corpus callosum and fornix, a modest neurogenesis, and a moderate reduction of hippocampal cells loss. On the other hand, combined therapy of hUCB+G-CSF displayed synergistic effects that robustly dampened neuroinflammation, while enhancing endogenous neurogenesis and reducing hippocampal cell loss. Vigorous and long-lasting recovery of motor function accompanied the combined therapy, which was either moderately or short-lived in the monotherapy conditions. These results suggest that combined treatment rather than monotherapy appears optimal for abrogating histophalogical and motor impairments in chronic TBI.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0090953PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3951247PMC
May 2015

Intravenous transplants of human adipose-derived stem cell protect the brain from traumatic brain injury-induced neurodegeneration and motor and cognitive impairments: cell graft biodistribution and soluble factors in young and aged rats.

J Neurosci 2014 Jan;34(1):313-26

Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair, Department of Neurosurgery and Brain Repair and School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine, Tampa, Florida 33612, James A. Haley Veterans Affairs Hospital, Research Service, Tampa, Florida 33612, and Departments of Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology and Molecular Medicine, Morsani College of Medicine, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida 33612.

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) survivors exhibit motor and cognitive symptoms from the primary injury that can become aggravated over time because of secondary cell death. In the present in vivo study, we examined the beneficial effects of human adipose-derived stem cells (hADSCs) in a controlled cortical impact model of mild TBI using young (6 months) and aged (20 months) F344 rats. Animals were transplanted intravenously with 4 × 10(6) hADSCs (Tx), conditioned media (CM), or vehicle (unconditioned media) at 3 h after TBI. Significant amelioration of motor and cognitive functions was revealed in young, but not aged, Tx and CM groups. Fluorescent imaging in vivo and ex vivo revealed 1,1' dioactadecyl-3-3-3',3'-tetramethylindotricarbocyanine iodide-labeled hADSCs in peripheral organs and brain after TBI. Spatiotemporal deposition of hADSCs differed between young and aged rats, most notably reduced migration to the aged spleen. Significant reduction in cortical damage and hippocampal cell loss was observed in both Tx and CM groups in young rats, whereas less neuroprotection was detected in the aged rats and mainly in the Tx group but not the CM group. CM harvested from hADSCs with silencing of either NEAT1 (nuclear enriched abundant transcript 1) or MALAT1 (metastasis associated lung adenocarcinoma transcript 1), long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) known to play a role in gene expression, lost the efficacy in our model. Altogether, hADSCs are promising therapeutic cells for TBI, and lncRNAs in the secretome is an important mechanism of cell therapy. Furthermore, hADSCs showed reduced efficacy in aged rats, which may in part result from decreased homing of the cells to the spleen.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2425-13.2014DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3866490PMC
January 2014

Influence of post-traumatic stress disorder on neuroinflammation and cell proliferation in a rat model of traumatic brain injury.

PLoS One 2013 9;8(12):e81585. Epub 2013 Dec 9.

Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair, Department of Neurosurgery and Brain Repair, University of South Florida College of Medicine, Tampa, Florida, United States of America.

Long-term consequences of traumatic brain injury (TBI) are closely associated with the development of severe psychiatric disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), yet preclinical studies on pathological changes after combined TBI with PTSD are lacking. In the present in vivo study, we assessed chronic neuroinflammation, neuronal cell loss, cell proliferation and neuronal differentiation in specific brain regions of adult Sprague-Dawley male rats following controlled cortical impact model of moderate TBI with or without exposure to PTSD. Eight weeks post-TBI, stereology-based histological analyses revealed no significant differences between sham and PTSD alone treatment across all brain regions examined, whereas significant exacerbation of OX6-positive activated microglial cells in the striatum, thalamus, and cerebral peduncle, but not cerebellum, in animals that received TBI alone and combined TBI-PTSD compared with PTSD alone and sham treatment. Additional immunohistochemical results revealed a significant loss of CA3 pyramidal neurons in the hippocampus of TBI alone and TBI-PTSD compared to PTSD alone and sham treatment. Further examination of neurogenic niches revealed a significant downregulation of Ki67-positive proliferating cells, but not DCX-positive neuronally migrating cells in the neurogenic subgranular zone and subventricular zone for both TBI alone and TBI-PTSD compared to PTSD alone and sham treatment. Comparisons of levels of neuroinflammation and neurogenesis between TBI alone and TBI+PTSD revealed that PTSD did not exacerbate the neuropathological hallmarks of TBI. These results indicate a progressive deterioration of the TBI brain, which, under the conditions of the present approach, was not intensified by PTSD, at least within our time window and within the examined areas of the brain. Although the PTSD manipulation employed here did not exacerbate the pathological effects of TBI, the observed long-term inflammation and suppressed cell proliferation may evolve into more severe neurodegenerative diseases and psychiatric disorders currently being recognized in traumatized TBI patients.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0081585PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3857205PMC
September 2014

Insulin-associated neuroinflammatory pathways as therapeutic targets for traumatic brain injury.

Med Hypotheses 2014 Feb 1;82(2):171-4. Epub 2013 Dec 1.

Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair, Department of Neurosurgery and Brain Repair, University of South Florida College of Medicine, Tampa, FL, USA. Electronic address:

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is characterized by an abrupt blow or exchange of force against the head and can be categorized as mild, moderate, and severe. The secondary cell death after TBI displays ischemic-like patterns including neuroinflammation. The scavenger receptor cluster of differentiation (CD) 36 is a lipid-associated protein capable of transducing intracellular signals to promote inflammatory mechanisms within different cell types. Expression and activation of CD36 is closely related to dyslipidemia secondary to diabetes. Diabetes mellitus (DM) has been documented as a co-morbidity factor in TBI, in that patients with a history of diabetes present with more severe brain damage and slower recovery from TBI than non-diabetic patients. Indeed, a strict regulation of blood serum glucose by the use of insulin promotes a better outcome for TBI patients. Based on these recent findings, we now advance the hypothesis that CD36 via DM insulin-associated pathways is closely involved in TBI chronic pathology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mehy.2013.11.028DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3915295PMC
February 2014

Human Umbilical Cord Blood for Transplantation Therapy in Myocardial Infarction.

J Stem Cell Res Ther 2013 Jul(Suppl 4)

Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair, Department of Neurosurgery and Brain Repair, University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine, Tampa, FL, USA.

Cell-based therapy is a promising therapy for myocardial infarction. Endogenous repair of the heart muscle after myocardial infarction is a challenge because adult cardiomyocytes have a limited capacity to proliferate and replace damaged cells. Pre-clinical and clinical evidence has shown that cell based therapy may promote revascularization and replacement of damaged myocytes after myocardial infarction. Adult stem cells can be harvested from different sources including bone marrow, skeletal myoblast, and human umbilical cord blood cells. The use of these cells for the repair of myocardial infarction presents various advantages over other sources of stem cells. Among these are easy harvesting, unlimited differentiation capability, and robust angiogenic potential. In this review, we discuss the milestone findings and the most recent evidence demonstrating the therapeutic efficacy and safety of the transplantation of human umbilical cord blood cells as a stand-alone therapy or in combination with gene therapy, highlighting the importance of optimizing the timing, dose and delivery methods, and a better understanding of the mechanisms of action that will guide the clinical entry of this innovative treatment for ischemic disorders, specifically myocardial infarction.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3845524PMC
July 2013

Long-term upregulation of inflammation and suppression of cell proliferation in the brain of adult rats exposed to traumatic brain injury using the controlled cortical impact model.

PLoS One 2013 3;8(1):e53376. Epub 2013 Jan 3.

Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair, Department of Neurosurgery and Brain Repair, University of South Florida College of Medicine, Tampa, Florida, United States of America.

The long-term consequences of traumatic brain injury (TBI), specifically the detrimental effects of inflammation on the neurogenic niches, are not very well understood. In the present in vivo study, we examined the prolonged pathological outcomes of experimental TBI in different parts of the rat brain with special emphasis on inflammation and neurogenesis. Sixty days after moderate controlled cortical impact injury, adult Sprague-Dawley male rats were euthanized and brain tissues harvested. Antibodies against the activated microglial marker, OX6, the cell cycle-regulating protein marker, Ki67, and the immature neuronal marker, doublecortin, DCX, were used to estimate microglial activation, cell proliferation, and neuronal differentiation, respectively, in the subventricular zone (SVZ), subgranular zone (SGZ), striatum, thalamus, and cerebral peduncle. Stereology-based analyses revealed significant exacerbation of OX6-positive activated microglial cells in the striatum, thalamus, and cerebral peduncle. In parallel, significant decrements in Ki67-positive proliferating cells in SVZ and SGZ, but only trends of reduced DCX-positive immature neuronal cells in SVZ and SGZ were detected relative to sham control group. These results indicate a progressive deterioration of the TBI brain over time characterized by elevated inflammation and suppressed neurogenesis. Therapeutic intervention at the chronic stage of TBI may confer abrogation of these deleterious cell death processes.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0053376PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3536766PMC
August 2013