Displaying publications 1 - 20 of 44 in total

  1. Al-Sanea MM, Ali Khan MS, Abdelazem AZ, Lee SH, Mok PL, Gamal M, et al.
    Molecules, 2018 Jan 31;23(2).
    PMID: 29385071 DOI: 10.3390/molecules23020297
    A new series of 1-phenyl-3-(4-(pyridin-3-yl)phenyl)urea derivatives were synthesized and subjected to in vitro antiproliferative screening against National Cancer Institute (NCI)-60 human cancer cell lines of nine different cancer types. Fourteen compounds 5a-n were synthesized with three different solvent exposure moieties (4-hydroxylmethylpiperidinyl and trimethoxyphenyloxy and 4-hydroxyethylpiperazine) attached to the core structure. Substituents with different π and σ values were added on the terminal phenyl group. Compounds 5a-e with a 4-hydroxymethylpiperidine moiety showed broad-spectrum antiproliferative activity with higher mean percentage inhibition values over the 60-cell line panel at 10 µM concentration. Compound 5a elicited lethal rather than inhibition effects on SK-MEL-5 melanoma cell line, 786-0, A498, RXF 393 renal cancer cell lines, and MDA-MB-468 breast cancer cell line. Two compounds, 5a and 5d showed promising mean growth inhibitions and thus were further tested at five-dose mode to determine median inhibitory concentration (IC50) values. The data revealed that urea compounds 5a and 5d are the most active derivatives, with significant efficacies and superior potencies than paclitaxel in 21 different cancer cell lines belonging particularly to renal cancer and melanoma cell lines. Moreover, 5a and 5d had superior potencies than gefitinib in 38 and 34 cancer cell lines, respectively, particularly colon cancer, breast cancer and melanoma cell lines.
  2. Alam MK, Alfawzan AA, Haque S, Mok PL, Marya A, Venugopal A, et al.
    Front Pediatr, 2021;9:651951.
    PMID: 34026687 DOI: 10.3389/fped.2021.651951
    To investigate whether the craniofacial sagittal jaw relationship in patients with non-syndromic cleft differed from non-cleft (NC) individuals by artificial intelligence (A.I.)-driven lateral cephalometric (Late. Ceph.) analysis. The study group comprised 123 subjects with different types of clefts including 29 = BCLP (bilateral cleft lip and palate), 41 = UCLP (unilateral cleft lip and palate), 9 = UCLA (unilateral cleft lip and alveolus), 13 = UCL (unilateral cleft lip) and NC = 31. The mean age was 14.77 years. SNA, SNB, ANB angle and Wits appraisal was measured in lateral cephalogram using a new innovative A.I driven Webceph software. Two-way ANOVA and multiple-comparison statistics tests were applied to see the differences between gender and among different types of clefts vs. NC individuals. A significant decrease (p < 0.005) in SNA, ANB, Wits appraisal was observed in different types of clefts vs. NC individuals. SNB (p > 0.005) showed insignificant variables in relation to type of clefts. No significant difference was also found in terms of gender in relation to any type of clefts and NC group. The present study advocates a decrease in sagittal development (SNA, ANB and Wits appraisal) in different types of cleft compared to NC individuals.
  3. Ali F, Taresh S, Al-Nuzaily M, Mok PL, Ismail A, Ahmad S
    Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci, 2016 Oct;20(20):4390-4400.
    PMID: 27831631
    Numerous lines of evidence support that bone marrow is a rich source of stem cells that can be used for research purposes and to treat some complex blood diseases and cancers. Stem cells are a potential source for regenerative medicine and tissue replacement after injury or disease, and mother cells that possess the capacity to become any type of cell in the body. They are cells without specific structure and characterized by their ability to self-renew or multiply while maintaining the potential to develop into other types of cells. Stem cells can normally become cells of the blood, heart, bones, skin, muscles or brain. Although, there are different sources of stem cells, all types of stem cells have the same capacity to develop into multiple types of cells. Stem cells are generally described as unspecialized cells with unlimited proliferation capacity that can divide (through mitosis) to produce more stem cells. Several types of adult stem cells have been characterized and can be cultured in vitro, including neural stem cells, hematopoietic stem cells, mesenchymal stem cells, cardiac stem cells and epithelial stem cells. They are valuable as research tools and might, in the future, be used to treat a wide range of diseases such as hematological hereditary diseases, Parkinson's disease, diabetes mellitus, heart disease and many other diseases. Currently, two types of stem cells have been identified based on their origins, namely embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells. Collectively, although many kinds of literature have been studying stem cell application in terms of clinical practice, stem cell-based therapy is still in its infancy stage.
  4. Ali Khan MS, Ahmed N, Misbah, Arifuddin M, Zakaria ZA, Al-Sanea MM, et al.
    Food Chem Toxicol, 2018 May;115:523-531.
    PMID: 29555329 DOI: 10.1016/j.fct.2018.03.021
    In view of the report on anti-nociceptive activity of Leathery Murdah, Terminalia coriacea {Roxb.} Wight & Arn. (Combretaceae) leaves, the present study was conducted to isolate the active constituents and identify the underlying mechanisms. The methanolic extract of T. coriacea leaves (TCLME) at doses 125, 250 and 500 mg/kg orally, was subjected to various in-vivo assays in acetic acid induced writhing and formalin induced paw-licking tests with aspirin (100 mg/kg) and morphine (5 mg/kg) as reference drugs. Three flavonoids, rutin, robinin and gossypetin 3-glucuronide 8-glucoside were isolated and characterized from TCLME for the first time. The extract showed significant (p 
  5. Alsaeedi HA, Koh AE, Lam C, Rashid MBA, Harun MHN, Saleh MFBM, et al.
    J. Photochem. Photobiol. B, Biol., 2019 Sep;198:111561.
    PMID: 31352000 DOI: 10.1016/j.jphotobiol.2019.111561
    Blindness and vision loss contribute to irreversible retinal degeneration, and cellular therapy for retinal cell replacement has the potential to treat individuals who have lost light sensitive photoreceptors in the retina. Retinal cells are well characterized in function, and are a subject of interest in cellular replacement therapy of photoreceptors and the retinal pigment epithelium. However, retinal cell transplantation is limited by various factors, including the choice of potential stem cell source that can show variability in plasticity as well as host tissue integration. Dental pulp is one such source that contains an abundance of stem cells. In this study we used dental pulp-derived mesenchymal stem cells (DPSCs) to mitigate sodium iodate (NaIO3) insult in a rat model of retinal degeneration. Sprague-Dawley rats were first given an intravitreal injection of 3 × 105 DPSCs as well as a single systemic administration of NaIO3 (40 mg/kg). Electroretinography (ERG) was performed for the next two months and was followed-up by histological analysis. The ERG recordings showed protection of DPSC-treated retinas within 4 weeks, which was statistically significant (* P ≤ .05) compared to the control. Retinal thickness of the control was also found to be thinner (*** P ≤ .001). The DPSCs were found integrated in the photoreceptor layer through immunohistochemical staining. Our findings showed that DPSCs have the potential to moderate retinal degeneration. In conclusion, DPSCs are a potential source of stem cells in the field of eye stem cell therapy due to its protective effects against retinal degeneration.
  6. Alsaeedi HA, Lam C, Koh AE, Teh SW, Mok PL, Higuchi A, et al.
    J. Photochem. Photobiol. B, Biol., 2020 Jan;203:111727.
    PMID: 31862637 DOI: 10.1016/j.jphotobiol.2019.111727
    Blindness and vision impairment are caused by irremediable retinal degeneration in affected individuals worldwide. Cell therapy for a retinal replacement can potentially rescue their vision, specifically for those who lost the light sensing photoreceptors in the eye. As such, well-characterized retinal cells are required for the replacement purposes. Stem cell-based therapy in photoreceptor and retinal pigment epithelium transplantation is well received, however, the drawbacks of retinal transplantation is the limited clinical protocols development, insufficient number of transplanted cells for recovery, the selection of potential stem cell sources that can be differentiated into the target cells, and the ability of cells to migrate to the host tissue. Dental pulp stem cells (DPSC) belong to a subset of mesenchymal stem cells, and are recently being studied due to its high capability of differentiating into cells of the neuronal lineage. In this review, we look into the potential uses of DPSC in treating retinal degeneration, and also the current data supporting its application.
  7. Choong PF, Mok PL, Cheong SK, Leong CF, Then KY
    Cytotherapy, 2007;9(2):170-83.
    PMID: 17453969
    The multipotency of stromal cells has been studied extensively. It has been reported that mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC) are capable of differentiating into cells of multilineage. Different methods and reagents have been used to induce the differentiation of MSC. We investigated the efficacy of different growth factors in inducing MSC differentiation into neurons.
  8. Choong PF, Mok PL, Cheong SK, Then KY
    Cytotherapy, 2007;9(3):252-8.
    PMID: 17464757
    The unique potential of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC) has generated much research interest recently, particularly in exploring the regenerative nature of these cells. Previously, MSC were thought to be found only in the BM. However, further studies have shown that MSC can also be isolated from umbilical cord blood, adipose tissue and amniotic fluid. In this study, we explored the possibility of MSC residing in the cornea.
  9. Cui YC, Qiu YS, Wu Q, Bu G, Peli A, Teh SW, et al.
    Exp Biol Med (Maywood), 2021 May;246(10):1177-1183.
    PMID: 33535809 DOI: 10.1177/1535370220985468
    Osteoblasts play an important role in bone regeneration and repair. The hypoxia condition in bone occurs when bone undergoes fracture, and this will trigger a series of biochemical and mechanical changes to enable bone repair. Hence, it is interesting to observe the metabolites and metabolism changes when osteoblasts are exposed to hypoxic condition. This study has looked into the response of human osteoblast hFOB 1.19 under normoxic and hypoxic conditions by observing the cell growth and utilization of metabolites via Phenotype MicroArrays™ under these two different oxygen concentrations. The cell growth of hFOB 1.19 under hypoxic condition showed better growth compared to hFOB 1.19 under normal condition. In this study, osteoblast used glycolysis as the main pathway to produce energy as hFOB 1.19 in both hypoxic and normoxic conditions showed cell growth in well containing dextrin, glycogen, maltotriose, D-maltose, D-glucose-6-phospate, D-glucose, D-mannose, D-Turanose, D-fructose-6-phosphate, D-galactose, uridine, adenosine, inosine and α-keto-glutaric acid. In hypoxia, the cells have utilized additional metabolites such as α-D-glucose-1-phosphate and D-fructose, indicating possible activation of glycogen synthesis and glycogenolysis to metabolize α-D-glucose-1-phosphate. Meanwhile, during normoxia, D-L-α-glycerol phosphate was used, and this implies that the osteoblast may use glycerol-3-phosphate shuttle and oxidative phosphorylation to metabolize glycerol-3-phosphate.
  10. Danjuma L, Mok PL, Higuchi A, Hamat RA, Teh SW, Koh AE, et al.
    Regen Ther, 2018 Dec;9:100-110.
    PMID: 30525080 DOI: 10.1016/j.reth.2018.09.001
    Introduction: Anti-tuberculosis agent rifampicin is extensively used for its effectiveness. Possible complications of tuberculosis and prolonged rifampicin treatment include kidney damage; these conditions can lead to reduced efficiency of the affected kidney and consequently to other diseases. Bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BMMSCs) can be used in conjunction with rifampicin to avert kidney damage; because of its regenerative and differentiating potentials into kidney cells. This research was designed to assess the modulatory and regenerative potentials of MSCs in averting kidney damage due to rifampicin-induced kidney toxicity in Wistar rats and their progenies. BMMSCs used in this research were characterized according to the guidelines of International Society for Cellular Therapy.

    Methods: The rats (male and female) were divided into three experimental groups, as follows: Group 1: control rats (4 males & 4 females); Group 2: rats treated with rifampicin only (4 males & 4 females); and Group 3: rats treated with rifampicin plus MSCs (4 males & 4 females). Therapeutic doses of rifampicin (9 mg/kg/day for 3-months) and MSCs infusions (twice/month for 3-months) were administered orally and intravenously respectively. At the end of the three months, the animals were bred together to determine if the effects would carry over to the next generation. Following breeding, the rats were sacrificed to harvest serum for biochemical analysis and the kidneys were also harvested for histological analysis and quantification of the glomeruli size, for the adult rats and their progenies.

    Results: The results showed some level of alterations in the biochemical indicators and histopathological damage in the rats that received rifampicin treatment alone, while the control and stem cells treated group showed apparently normal to nearly normal levels of both bio-indicators and normal histological architecture.

    Conclusions: Intravenous administration of MSCs yielded sensible development, as seen from biochemical indicators, histology and the quantitative cell analysis, hence implying the modulatory and regenerative properties of MSCs.

  11. Ding SLS, Koh AE, Kumar S, Ali Khan MS, Alzahrani B, Mok PL
    PMID: 31060031 DOI: 10.1016/j.jphotobiol.2019.04.008
    Dysfunctional or death of retinal photoreceptors is an irreversible phenomenon that is closely associated with a broad range of retinal degenerative diseases, such as retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), resulting in successive loss of visual function and blindness. In search for viable treatment for retinal degenerative diseases, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) has demonstrated promising therapeutic capabilities to repair and replace damaged photoreceptor cells in both in vitro and in vivo conditions. Nevertheless, the dearth of MSC differentiation capacity into photoreceptors has limited its use in cell replacement therapy. Erythropoietin (EPO) has vital role in early neural retinal cell differentiation and demonstrated rescue potential on dying photoreceptor cells. Hence, we aimed to evaluate the differentiation capacity of MSCs into photoreceptor cells in the presence of human EPO protein. We derived the MSC from human Wharton's jelly of umbilical cord and transduced the cells with lentivirus particles encoding EPO and green fluorescent protein (GFP) as reporter gene. The transduced cells were selectively cultured and induced to differentiate into photoreceptors by exposing to photoreceptor differentiation cocktail. Our preliminary results showed that transduced cells exposed to induction medium had an enhanced differentiation capacity when compared to non-transduced cells. Our results demonstrated a novel strategy to increase the yield of in vitro photoreceptor differentiation and may be potentially useful in improving the efficiency of stem cell transplantation for ocular disorders.
  12. Ding SLS, Kumar S, Mok PL
    Int J Mol Sci, 2017 Jul 28;18(8).
    PMID: 28788088 DOI: 10.3390/ijms18081406
    The use of multipotent mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) has been reported as promising for the treatment of numerous degenerative disorders including the eye. In retinal degenerative diseases, MSCs exhibit the potential to regenerate into retinal neurons and retinal pigmented epithelial cells in both in vitro and in vivo studies. Delivery of MSCs was found to improve retinal morphology and function and delay retinal degeneration. In this review, we revisit the therapeutic role of MSCs in the diseased eye. Furthermore, we reveal the possible cellular mechanisms and identify the associated signaling pathways of MSCs in reversing the pathological conditions of various ocular disorders such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), retinitis pigmentosa, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma. Current stem cell treatment can be dispensed as an independent cell treatment format or with the combination of other approaches. Hence, the improvement of the treatment strategy is largely subjected by our understanding of MSCs mechanism of action.
  13. Ding SSL, Subbiah SK, Khan MSA, Farhana A, Mok PL
    Int J Mol Sci, 2019 Apr 10;20(7).
    PMID: 30974904 DOI: 10.3390/ijms20071784
    Multipotent mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been employed in numerous pre-clinical and clinical settings for various diseases. MSCs have been used in treating degenerative disorders pertaining to the eye, for example, age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, retinitis pigmentosa, diabetic retinopathy, and optic neuritis. Despite the known therapeutic role and mechanisms of MSCs, low cell precision towards the targeted area and cell survivability at tissue needing repair often resulted in a disparity in therapeutic outcomes. In this review, we will discuss the current and feasible strategy options to enhance treatment outcomes with MSC therapy. We will review the application of various types of biomaterials and advances in nanotechnology, which have been employed on MSCs to augment cellular function and differentiation for improving treatment of visual functions. In addition, several modes of gene delivery into MSCs and the types of associated therapeutic genes that are important for modulation of ocular tissue function and repair will be highlighted.
  14. Elderdery AY, Alhamidi AH, Elkhalifa AME, Althobiti MM, Eltayeb Omer N, Alsugoor MH, et al.
    Nanomaterials (Basel), 2022 Oct 26;12(21).
    PMID: 36364538 DOI: 10.3390/nano12213753
    Nanocomposites comprised of CuO-TiO2-chitosan-escin, which has adjustable physicochemical properties, provide a solution for therapeutic selectivity in cancer treatment. By controlling the intrinsic signaling primarily through the mitochondrial signaling pathway, we desired nanocomposites with enhanced anticancer activity by containing CuO-TiO2-chitosan-escin. The metal oxides CuO and TiO2, the natural polymer chitosan, and a phytochemical compound escin were combined to form CuO-TiO2-chitosan-escin nanocomposites. The synthesized nanocomposites were confirmed and characterized using FTIR spectroscopy, TEM, and UV-Vis absorption spectroscopy. A human leukemia cell line (MOLT-4) was used to assess the efficacy and selectivity of nanocomposites. Based on a cytotoxicity study, CuO-TiO2-chitosan-escin nanocomposites had inhibition concentrations (IC50) of 13.68, 8.9, and 7.14 µg/mL against human T lymphoblast cells after 24, 48, and 72 h of incubation, respectively. Compared with untreated MOLT-4 cells, CuO-TiO2-chitosan-escin nanocomposite-treated cells significantly increased (p < 0.05) caspase-3, -8, and -9 and decreased the levels of antioxidant enzymes GR, SOD, and GSH. Furthermore, MDA for lipid peroxidase and ROS levels significantly increased (p < 0.05) in the treated cells than in the untreated cells. Remarkably, CuO-TiO2-chitosan-escin nanocomposite-mediated control of cell cycles were mainly achieved through the activation of caspase-3, -8, and -9.
  15. Farhana A, Koh AE, Tong JB, Alsrhani A, Kumar Subbiah S, Mok PL
    Molecules, 2021 Sep 06;26(17).
    PMID: 34500845 DOI: 10.3390/molecules26175414
    Molecular crosstalk between the cellular epigenome and genome converge as a synergistic driver of oncogenic transformations. Besides other pathways, epigenetic regulatory circuits exert their effect towards cancer progression through the induction of DNA repair deficiencies. We explored this mechanism using a camptothecin encapsulated in β-cyclodextrin-EDTA-Fe3O4 nanoparticles (CPT-CEF)-treated HT29 cells model. We previously demonstrated that CPT-CEF treatment of HT29 cells effectively induces apoptosis and cell cycle arrest, stalling cancer progression. A comparative transcriptome analysis of CPT-CEF-treated versus untreated HT29 cells indicated that genes controlling mismatch repair, base excision repair, and homologues recombination were downregulated in these cancer cells. Our study demonstrated that treatment with CPT-CEF alleviated this repression. We observed that CPT-CEF exerts its effect by possibly affecting the DNA repair mechanism through epigenetic modulation involving genes of HMGB1, APEX1, and POLE3. Hence, we propose that CPT-CEF could be a DNA repair modulator that harnesses the cell's epigenomic plasticity to amend DNA repair deficiencies in cancer cells.
  16. Farhana A, Koh AE, Kothandan S, Alsrhani A, Mok PL, Subbiah SK
    Int J Mol Sci, 2021 Nov 13;22(22).
    PMID: 34830168 DOI: 10.3390/ijms222212286
    Cancer cells are able to proliferate in an unregulated manner. There are several mechanisms involved that propel such neoplastic transformations. One of these processes involves bypassing cell death through changes in gene expression and, consequently, cell growth. This involves a complex epigenetic interaction within the cell, which drives it towards oncogenic transformations. These epigenetic events augment cellular growth by potentially altering chromatin structures and influencing key gene expressions. Therapeutic mechanisms have been developed to combat this by taking advantage of the underlying oncogenic mechanisms through chemical modulation. Camptothecin (CPT) is an example of this type of drug. It is a selective topoisomerase I inhibitor that is effective against many cancers, such as colorectal cancer. Previously, we successfully formulated a magnetic nanocarrier-conjugated CPT with β-cyclodextrin and iron NPs (Fe3O4) cross-linked using EDTA (CPT-CEF). Compared to CPT alone, it boasts higher efficacy due to its selective targeting and increased solubility. In this study, we treated HT29 colon cancer cells with CPT-CEF and attempted to investigate the cytotoxic effects of the formulation through an epigenetic perspective. By using RNA-Seq, several differentially expressed genes were obtained (p < 0.05). Enrichr was then used for the over-representation analysis, and the genes were compared to the epigenetic roadmap and histone modification database. The results showed that the DEGs had a high correlation with epigenetic modifications involving histone H3 acetylation. Furthermore, a subset of these genes was shown to be associated with the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway, which is highly upregulated in a large number of cancer cells. These genes could be investigated as downstream therapeutic targets against the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells. Further interaction analysis of the identified genes with the key genes of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway in colorectal cancer identified the direct interactors and a few transcription regulators. Further analysis in cBioPortal confirmed their genetic alterations and their distribution across patient samples. Thus, the findings of this study reveal that colorectal cancer could be reversed by treatment with the CPT-CEF nanoparticle-conjugated nanocarrier through an epigenetic mechanism.
  17. Khan MSA, Khundmiri SUK, Khundmiri SR, Al-Sanea MM, Mok PL
    Front Pharmacol, 2018;9:569.
    PMID: 29988459 DOI: 10.3389/fphar.2018.00569
    Ulceration in the stomach develops in peptic ulcer disease when there is a loss of protective mucosal layers, particularly in Helicobacter pylori infection. Antibiotic therapy has failed to eradicate and impede the colonization of H. pylori. Despite given treatment, recurrent bleeding can occur and lead to death in the affected individual. The disease progression is also related to the non-steroidal inflammatory drug and stress. There are extensive research efforts to identify the gastroprotective property from various alkaloids, flavonoids, and tannins compounds from plants and marine. These natural products are believed to be safe for consumption. However, not much attention was given to summarize the carbohydrate and terpenoidal anti-ulcer compounds. Hence, this review will cover the possible mechanisms and information about acidic hydroxylans, arabinogalactan and rhamnogalacturon; and limonene, pinene, lupeol, citral, ursolic acid and nomilin to exemplify on the gastroprotective properties of polysaccharides and terpenoid, respectively, obtained from fruits. These compounds could act as a prebiotic to prevent the inhabitation of H. pylori, modulate the inflammation, suppress gastric cancer growth, and capable of stimulating the reparative mechanisms on the affected regions. Finally, this review provides the future research prospects of these natural compounds in an effort to develop new therapy for gastrointestinal tissue healing.
  18. Koh AE, Alsaeedi HA, Rashid MBA, Lam C, Harun MHN, Saleh MFBM, et al.
    J. Photochem. Photobiol. B, Biol., 2019 Jul;196:111514.
    PMID: 31154277 DOI: 10.1016/j.jphotobiol.2019.111514
    Retinal disorders account for a large proportion of ocular disorders that can lead to visual impairment or blindness, and yet our limited knowledge in the pathogenesis and choice of appropriate animal models for new treatment modalities may contribute to ineffective therapies. Although genetic in vivo models are favored, the variable expressivity and penetrance of these heterogeneous disorders can cause difficulties in assessing potential treatments against retinal degeneration. Hence, an attractive alternative is to develop a chemically-induced model that is both cost-friendly and standardizable. Sodium iodate is an oxidative chemical that is used to simulate late stage retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration. In this study, retinal degeneration was induced through systemic administration of sodium iodate (NaIO3) at varying doses up to 80 mg/kg in Sprague-Dawley rats. An analysis on the visual response of the rats by electroretinography (ERG) showed a decrease in photoreceptor function with NaIO3 administration at a dose of 40 mg/kg or greater. The results correlated with the TUNEL assay, which revealed signs of DNA damage throughout the retina. Histomorphological analysis also revealed extensive structural lesions throughout the outer retina and parts of the inner retina. Our results provided a detailed view of NaIO3-induced retinal degeneration, and showed that the administration of 40 mg/kg NaIO3 was sufficient to generate disturbances in retinal function. The pathological findings in this model reveal a degenerating retina, and can be further utilized to develop effective therapies for RPE, photoreceptor, and bipolar cell regeneration.
  19. Koh AE, Alsaeedi HA, Rashid MBA, Lam C, Harun MHN, Ng MH, et al.
    Front Cell Dev Biol, 2021;9:652017.
    PMID: 33987180 DOI: 10.3389/fcell.2021.652017
    Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) are highly regarded as a potential treatment for retinal degenerative disorders like retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration. However, donor cell heterogeneity and inconsistent protocols for transplantation have led to varied outcomes in clinical trials. We previously showed that genetically-modifying MSCs to express erythropoietin (MSCEPO) improved its regenerative capabilities in vitro. Hence, in this study, we sought to prove its potential in vivo by transplanting MSCsEPO in a rat retinal degeneration model and analyzing its retinal transcriptome using RNA-Seq. Firstly, MSCsEPO were cultured and expanded before being intravitreally transplanted into the sodium iodate-induced model. After the procedure, electroretinography (ERG) was performed bi-weekly for 30 days. Histological analyses were performed after the ERG assessment. The retina was then harvested for RNA extraction. After mRNA-enrichment and library preparation, paired-end RNA-Seq was performed. Salmon and DESeq2 were used to process the output files. The generated dataset was then analyzed using over-representation (ORA), functional enrichment (GSEA), and pathway topology analysis tools (SPIA) to identify enrichment of key pathways in the experimental groups. The results showed that the MSCEPO-treated group had detectable ERG waves (P <0.05), which were indicative of successful phototransduction. The stem cells were also successfully detected by immunohistochemistry 30 days after intravitreal transplantation. An initial over-representation analysis revealed a snapshot of immune-related pathways in all the groups but was mainly overexpressed in the MSC group. A subsequent GSEA and SPIA analysis later revealed enrichment in a large number of biological processes including phototransduction, regeneration, and cell death (P adj <0.05). Based on these pathways, a set of pro-survival gene expressions were extracted and tabulated. This study provided an in-depth transcriptomic analysis on the MSCEPO-treated retinal degeneration model as well as a profile of pro-survival genes that can be used as candidates for further genetic enhancement studies on stem cells.
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