JAN 26, 2015 08:00 AM PST

How stem cells speak with immune cells

Speakers
  • University Lecturer, Brain Repair, Honorary Consultant in Neurology, University of Cambridge, UK
    Biography
      After receiving his MD (1995) and PhD in Neuroscience (2004) from the University of Siena (Italy), Stefano completed a residency program in Neurology at the same University (1999) and received additional training at the MRC Brain Repair Centre, Cambridge University, UK (1996-1998). He then completed two subsequent Post doctoral fellowships (2004-2005) with Gianvito Martino at the San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan (Italy), where he progressed to the position of Project and the Group leader (2005-2010). Stefano is currently an University Lecturer in Brain Repair and Honorary Consultant in Neurology, at the University of Cambridge, UK, within the Centre for Brain Repair (2010-). He is also an European Research Council (ERC) Starting Independent Researcher and member of the Department of Clinical Neurosciences.

    Abstract:
    Advances in stem cell biology have raised great expectations that diseases of the central nervous system may be ameliorated by the development of non-haematopoietic stem cell medicines. Yet, the application of stem cells as therapeutics is challenging and the interpretation of some of the outcomes ambiguous. The initial idea that stem cell transplants work only via structural cell replacement has been challenged by the observation of consistent intercellular information exchange between the graft and the host. Sustained stem cell graft-to-host exchange of signals has led to remarkable trophic effects on endogenous brain cells and beneficial modulatory actions on innate and adaptive immune responses that ultimately promote the healing of the injured CNS. Among a number of promising candidate stem cell sources, mesenchymal/stromal stem cells (MSCs) and neural stem/precursor cells (NPCs) are being extensively investigated for their capacities to signal to the immune system upon transplantation in experimental CNS diseases.

    Here, we focused on defining whether the form of cellular signalling mediated by extracellular membrane vesicles (EVs) exists for neural stem/precursor cells (NPCs), and on its molecular signature and functional relevance on target cells. We also investigated whether the EV cargo molecules are modulated by extracellular pro- or anti-inflammatory cytokines, determined the key elements responsible for this novel mechanism of EV-mediated intercellular communication, and finally reflected on the forthcoming challenges related to the translation of these exciting experimental proofs into ready-to-use clinical medicines for inflammatory CNS diseases.

    Learning Objectives:
    • Learn about whether the EV cargo molecules are modulated by extracellular pro- or anti-inflammatory cytokines, and the key elements responsible for this novel mechanism of EV-mediated intercellular communication
    • Define whether the form of cellular signaling mediated by extracellular membrane vesicles (EVs) exists for neural stem/precursor cells (NPCs), and on its molecular signature and functional relevance on target cell
    • Understand challenges related to the translation of these exciting experimental proofs into ready-to-use clinical medicines for inflammatory CNS diseases

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