ACS nano

Polymeric Nanovehicle Regulated Spatiotemporal Real-Time Imaging of the Differentiation Dynamics of Transplanted Neural Stem Cells after Traumatic Brain Injury.

PMID 26020550


Recent advances in neural stem cell (NSC) transplantation have led to an inspiring progress in alleviating central nervous system (CNS) damages and restoring brain functions from diseases or injuries. One challenge of NSC transplantation is directed differentiation of transplanted NSCs into desired neuronal subtypes, such as neurons, to compensate the adverse impact of brain injury; another challenge lies in the lack of tools to noninvasively monitor the dynamics of NSC differentiation after transplantation in vivo. In this study, we developed a polymer nanovehicle for morphogen sustained release to overcome the drawbacks of conventional methods to realize the long-term directed NSC differentiation in vivo. Moreover, we constructed a bicistronic vector with a unique neuron specific gene tubb3 promoter to drive reporter gene expression for real-time imaging of NSC differentiation and migration. The developed uniform nanovehicle showed efficient NSC uptake and achieved a controlled release of morphogen in cytosol to consistently stimulate NSC differentiation into neurons at a sustainably effective concentration. The spatiotemporal imaging results showed a multiplexed migration, proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis orchestra of transplanted NSCs regulated by nanovehicles in TBI mice. The imaging results also uncovered the peak time of NSC differentiation in vivo. Although we observed only a handful of NSCs ultimately migrated to the TBI area and differentiated into neurons, those neurons were functional, ameliorating the detrimental impact of TBI. The imaging findings enabled by the nanovehicle and the neuron specific bicistronic vector provide additional understanding of the in vivo behaviors of transplanted NSCs in neuronal regenerative medicine.