Smooth Muscle Progenitor Cells Derived From Human Pluripotent Stem Cells Induce Histologic Changes in Injured Urethral Sphincter
Yanhui Li, Yan Wen, Zhe Wang, Prachi Wani, Morgaine Green, Ganesh Swaminathan, Anand Ramamurthi, Renee Reijo Pera
Stem Cells Translational Medicine
Data suggest that myoblasts from various sources, including bone marrow, skeletal muscle, and adipose tissue, can restore muscle function in patients with urinary incontinence. Animal data have indicated that these progenitor cells exert mostly a paracrine effect on the native tissues rather than cell regeneration. Limited knowledge is available on the in vivo effect of human stem cells or muscle progenitors on injured muscles. We examined in vivo integration of smooth muscle progenitor cells (pSMCs) derived from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs). pSMCs were derived from a human embryonic stem cell line (H9-ESCs) and two induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) lines. pSMCs were injected periurethrally into urethral injury rat models (2 × 10(6) cells per rat) or intramuscularly into severe combined immunodeficiency mice. Histologic and quantitative image analysis revealed that the urethras in pSMC-treated rats contained abundant elastic fibers and thicker muscle layers compared with the control rats. Western blot confirmed increased elastin/collagen III content in the urethra and bladder of the H9-pSMC-treated rats compared with controls. iPSC-pSMC treatment also showed similar trends in elastin and collagen III. Human elastin gene expression was not detectable in rodent tissues, suggesting that the extracellular matrix synthesis resulted from the native rodent tissues rather than from the implanted human cells. Immunofluorescence staining and in vivo bioluminescence imaging confirmed long-term engraftment of pSMCs into the host urethra and the persistence of the smooth muscle phenotype. Taken together, the data suggest that hPSC-derived pSMCs facilitate restoration of urethral sphincter function by direct smooth muscle cell regeneration and by inducing native tissue elastin/collagen III remodeling. SIGNIFICANCE: The present study provides evidence that a pure population of human smooth muscle progenitor cells (pSMCs) derived from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) (human embryonic stem cells and patient induced pluripotent stem cells) restores urethral sphincter function by two mechanisms: modulation of extracellular matrix protein metabolism in vivo and pSMC proliferation and differentiation into smooth muscle cells to regenerate the muscle layer in the lower urinary tract. These findings on the in vivo effects of human pSMCs should aid in optimizing regenerative therapies using human myoblasts.
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