• Alignment of multiple glial cell populations in 3D nanofiber scaffolds: toward the development of multicellular implantable scaffolds for repair of neural injury

      Weightman, Alan P.; Jenkins, Stuart I.; Pickard, Mark R.; Chari, Divya M.; Yang, Ying; Keele University, United Kingdom (Elsevier, 2014-02)
      Non-neuronal cells of the central nervous system (CNS), termed "neuroglia," play critical roles in neural regeneration; therefore, replacement of glial populations via implantable nanofabricated devices (providing a growth-permissive niche) is a promising strategy to enhance repair. Most constructs developed to date have lacked three-dimensionality, multiple glial populations and control over spatial orientations, limiting their ability to mimic in vivo neurocytoarchitecture. We describe a facile technique to incorporate multiple glial cell populations [astrocytes, oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) and oligodendrocytes] within a three-dimensional (3D) nanofabricated construct. Highly aligned nanofibers could induce elongation of astrocytes, while OPC survival, elongation and maturation required pre-aligned astrocytes. The potential to scale-up the numbers of constituent nanofiber layers is demonstrated with astrocytes. Such complex implantable constructs with multiple glial sub-populations in defined 3D orientations could represent an effective approach to reconstruct glial circuitry in neural injury sites.
    • Endocytotic potential governs magnetic particle loading in dividing neural cells: studying modes of particle inheritance

      Tickle, Jacqueline A.; Jenkins, Stuart I.; Polyak, Boris; Pickard, Mark R.; Chari, Divya M.; Keele University, United Kingdom; Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, USA (Future Medicine, 2016-01-10)
      AIM: To achieve high and sustained magnetic particle loading in a proliferative and endocytotically active neural transplant population (astrocytes) through tailored magnetite content in polymeric iron oxide particles. MATERIALS & METHODS: MPs of varying magnetite content were applied to primary-derived rat cortical astrocytes ± static/oscillating magnetic fields to assess labeling efficiency and safety. RESULTS: Higher magnetite content particles display high but safe accumulation in astrocytes, with longer-term label retention versus lower/no magnetite content particles. Magnetic fields enhanced loading extent. Dynamic live cell imaging of dividing labeled astrocytes demonstrated that particle distribution into daughter cells is predominantly 'asymmetric'. CONCLUSION: These findings could inform protocols to achieve efficient MP loading into neural transplant cells, with significant implications for post-transplantation tracking/localization.
    • Identifying the cellular targets of drug action in the central nervous system following corticosteroid therapy

      Jenkins, Stuart I.; Pickard, Mark R.; Khong, Melinda; Smith, Heather L.; Mann, Carl L. A.; Emes, Richard D.; Chari, Divya M.; Keele University, University of Nottingham, University Hospital of North Staffordshire NHS Trust, United Kingdom (American Chemical Society, 2014-01-15)
      Corticosteroid (CS) therapy is used widely in the treatment of a range of pathologies, but can delay production of myelin, the insulating sheath around central nervous system nerve fibers. The cellular targets of CS action are not fully understood, that is, "direct" action on cells involved in myelin genesis [oligodendrocytes and their progenitors the oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs)] versus "indirect" action on other neural cells. We evaluated the effects of the widely used CS dexamethasone (DEX) on purified OPCs and oligodendrocytes, employing complementary histological and transcriptional analyses. Histological assessments showed no DEX effects on OPC proliferation or oligodendrocyte genesis/maturation (key processes underpinning myelin genesis). Immunostaining and RT-PCR analyses show that both cell types express glucocorticoid receptor (GR; the target for DEX action), ruling out receptor expression as a causal factor in the lack of DEX-responsiveness. GRs function as ligand-activated transcription factors, so we simultaneously analyzed DEX-induced transcriptional responses using microarray analyses; these substantiated the histological findings, with limited gene expression changes in DEX-treated OPCs and oligodendrocytes. With identical treatment, microglial cells showed profound and global changes post-DEX addition; an unexpected finding was the identification of the transcription factor Olig1, a master regulator of myelination, as a DEX responsive gene in microglia. Our data indicate that CS-induced myelination delays are unlikely to be due to direct drug action on OPCs or oligodendrocytes, and may occur secondary to alterations in other neural cells, such as the immune component. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first comparative molecular and cellular analysis of CS effects in glial cells, to investigate the targets of this major class of anti-inflammatory drugs as a basis for myelination deficits.
    • Influence of Amplitude of Oscillating Magnetic Fields on Magnetic Nanoparticle-Mediated Gene Transfer to Astrocytes

      Tickle, Jacqueline A.; Jenkins, Stuart I.; Pickard, Mark R.; Chari, Divya M.; Keele University, United Kingdom (World Scientific, 2014-08-07)
      Functionalized magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) are emerging as a major nanoplatform for regenerative neurology, particularly as transfection agents for gene delivery. Magnetic assistive technology, particularly the recent innovation of applied oscillating magnetic fields, can significantly enhance MNP-mediated gene transfer to neural cells. While transfection efficiency varies with oscillation frequency in various neural cell types, the influence of oscillation amplitude has not yet been investigated. We have addressed this issue using cortical astrocytes that were transfected using MNPs functionalized with plasmid encoding a reporter protein. Cells were exposed to a range of oscillation amplitudes (100–1000 μm), using a fixed oscillation frequency of 1 Hz. No significant differences were found in the proportions of transfected cells at the amplitudes tested, but GFP-related optical density measurements (indicative of reporter protein expression) were significantly enhanced at 200 μm. Safety data show no amplitude-dependent toxicity. Our data suggest that the amplitude of oscillating magnetic fields influences MNP-mediated transfection, and a tailored combination of amplitude and frequency may further enhance transgene expression. Systematic testing of these parameters in different neural subtypes will enable the development of a database of neuro-magnetofection protocols — an area of nanotechnology research where little information currently exists.