Pluripotency and their neural crest origin make dental pulp stem cells (DPSCs) an attractive donor source for neuronal cell replacement. Despite recent encouraging results in this field, little is known about the integration of transplanted DPSC derived neuronal pecursors into the central nervous system. To address this issue, neuronally predifferentiated DPSCs, labeled with a vital cell dye Vybrant DiD were introduced into postnatal rat brain. DPSCs were transplanted into the cerebrospinal fluid of 3-day-old male Wistar rats. Cortical lesion was induced by touching a cold (-60 °C) metal stamp to the calvaria over the forelimb motor cortex. Four weeks later cell localization was detected by fluorescent microscopy and neuronal cell markers were studied by immunohistochemistry. To investigate electrophysiological properties of engrafted, fluorescently labeled DPSCs, 300 μm-thick horizontal brain slices were prepared and the presence of voltage-dependent sodium and potassium channels were recorded by patch clamping. Predifferentiated donor DPSCs injected into the cerebrospinal fluid of newborn rats migrated as single cells into a variety of brain regions. Most of the cells were localized in the normal neural progenitor zones of the brain, the subventricular zone (SVZ), subgranular zone (SGZ) and subcallosal zone (SCZ). Immunohistochemical analysis revealed that transplanted DPSCs expressed the early neuronal marker N-tubulin, the neuronal specific intermediate filament protein NF-M, the postmitotic neuronal marker NeuN, and glial GFAP. Moreover, the cells displayed TTX sensitive voltage dependent (VD) sodium currents (I Na) and TEA sensitive delayed rectifier potassium currents (K DR). Four weeks after injury, fluorescently labeled cells were detected in the lesioned cortex. Neurospecific marker expression was increased in DPSCs found in the area of the cortical lesions compared to that in fluorescent cells of uninjured brain. TTX sensitive VD sodium currents and TEA sensitive K DR significantly increased in labeled cells of the cortically injured area. In conclusion, our data demonstrate that engrafted DPSC-derived cells integrate into the host brain and show neuronal properties not only by expressing neuron-specific markers but also by exhibiting voltage dependent sodium and potassium channels. This proof of concept study reveals that predifferentiated hDPSCs may serve as useful sources of neuro- and gliogenesis in vivo, especially when the brain is injured.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Cell Biology