Isolation, characterisation and differentiation of canine adult stem cells
Hodgkiss-Geere, Hannah Mary
Geere, Hannah Mary Hodgkiss
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Cardiac and orthopaedic diseases are significant causes of morbidity and mortality in dogs and are therefore critical areas for veterinary research. More information regarding the pathophysiology of these diseases, and the development of novel therapeutics are sorely required and adult stem cells (ASCs) are a promising source of cells for both investigation of these diseases in vitro and also potentially therapeutics in the longer term. ASCs are a readily available source of multipotent cells which bypass the ethical issues surrounding embryonic stem (ES) cells. ASCs have been described in several tissues of the body, and typically differentiate along specific cellular routes related to original source location. This thesis investigates whether ASCs can be isolated and cultured from the dog from two specific locations; cardiac, producing cardiac stem cells (CSCs); and the bone marrow, producing mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). These cell sources will be extensively characterised at their baseline for morphology, culture behaviour and gene marker expression. Following characterisation each cell source will be subjected to differentiation techniques to examine canine ASC multipotent differentiation potential. CSCs were isolated from cultured atrial cardiac explant tissue taken from dogs post-mortem, with owners’ consent. These cells were able to survive successive passages in serum free media and formed large spherical cell clusters, termed ‘cardiospheres’. CSCs were capable of clonal expansion under controlled culture conditions, demonstrating their ability for self-renewal. Characterisation of these cells demonstrated the expression of CSC markers; c-Kit, GATA 4 and Flk-1 and no expression of cardiac lineage markers including cardiac troponin T and I, Nkx2.5, the cardiac ryanodine receptor and the β1-adrenergic receptor. Primary canine MSCs were isolated from bone marrow aspirates using ficoll separation and cultured on tissue culture plastic. Canine MSCs closely resembled MSCs described from other species, such as the human and mouse, and were found to express CD44 and STRO-1 and were negative for CD34 and CD45. CSCs and MSCs were exposed to published cardiac directed differentiation protocols and differentiation then analysed using cellular morphology and gene expression. Canine CSCs appeared to differentiate partially along cardiac lineages with upregulation of cardiac troponin T and Nkx2.5, and down regulation of c-Kit and endothelial lineage markers. Canine MSCs demonstrated some morphological changes during cardiac differentiation, and demonstrated up-regulation of Nkx2.5 and Flk-1 but no significant alteration in other markers examined. This suggested that cardiac directed differentiation was not as successful with canine MSCs compared to CSCs and conflicting with published data using rodent MSC models. Murine MSCs were used as a positive control cell line for cardiac directed differentiation, based upon published literature. Critically there were key marker expression differences between baseline murine and canine MSCs, including the expression of cardiac markers such as cardiac troponin T and I, and the Ryanodine receptor. Furthermore, expression analysis of cardiac genes changed with time in culture and passage number and no significant alteration was seen when cells were subjected to the cardiac differentiation protocol; thereby bringing into question the data regarding successful cardiac differentiation using murine MSCs. Canine MSCs were further differentiated toward a chondrocyte lineage to investigate the use of MSCs for orthopaedic research. Canine MSCs were successfully differentiated toward articular type cartilage, with demonstration of extracellular matrix secretions, an upregulation of collagen type II with downregulation of collagen type I and the development of SOX9 expression in differentiated cells. This thesis builds the groundwork for future ASC research in the dog. Successful isolation and culture of two ASC sources from the dog is demonstrated. Cardiac and cartilage directed differentiation was successful using primary sourced cells, but differentiation was found to be limited to highly specific routes for each stem cell source. The results presented here highlight the importance of analysing baseline stem cells extensively prior to differentiation and in particular, before making comparisons between cell populations isolated from different locations and species.