A ROCK Inhibitor Blocks the Inhibitory Effect of Chondroitin Sulfate Proteoglycan on Morphological Changes of Mesenchymal Stromal/Stem Cells into Neuron-Like Cells

  • Lim, Hee-Suk (Cancer Research Institute and Department of Medical Lifescience, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea) ;
  • Joe, Young Ae (Cancer Research Institute and Department of Medical Lifescience, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea)
  • Received : 2013.05.13
  • Accepted : 2013.05.30
  • Published : 2013.11.30


Chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan (CSPG) inhibits neurite outgrowth of various neuronal cell types, and CSPG-associated inhibition of neurite outgrowth is mediated by the Rho/ROCK pathway. Mesenchymal stromal/stem cells (MSCs) have the potential to differentiate into neuron-like cells under specific conditions and have been shown to differentiate into neuron-like cells by co-treatment with the ROCK inhibitor Y27632 and the hypoxia condition mimicking agent $CoCl_2$. In this study, we addressed the hypothesis that a ROCK inhibitor might be beneficial to regenerate neurons during stem cell therapy by preventing transplanted MSCs from inhibition by CSPG in damaged tissues. Indeed, dose-dependent inhibition by CSPG pretreatment was observed during morphological changes of Wharton's jelly-derived MSCs (WJ-MSCs) induced by Y27632 alone. The formation of neurite-like structures was significantly inhibited when WJ-MSCs were pre-treated with CSPG before induction under Y27632 plus $CoCl_2$ conditions, and pretreatment with a protein kinase C inhibitor reversed such inhibition. However, CSPG treatment resulted in no significant inhibition of the WJ-MSC morphological changes into neuron-like cells after initiating induction by Y27632 plus $CoCl_2$. No marked changes were detected in expression levels of neuronal markers induced by Y27632 plus $CoCl_2$ upon CSPG treatment. CSPG also blocked the morphological changes of human bone marrow-derived MSCs into neuron-like cells under other neuronal induction condition without the ROCK inhibitor, and Y27632 pre-treatment blocked the inhibitory effect of CSPG. These results suggest that a ROCK inhibitor can be efficiently used in stem cell therapy for neuronal induction by avoiding hindrance from CSPG.



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