Research ArticleKidney Disease

Human pluripotent stem cell–derived erythropoietin-producing cells ameliorate renal anemia in mice

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Science Translational Medicine  27 Sep 2017:
Vol. 9, Issue 409, eaaj2300
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaj2300
  • Fig. 1. Differentiation of hiPSCs/ESCs into EPO-producing cells.

    (A) The expression of EPO mRNA was examined in human fetal and adult liver tissue, human fetal and adult kidney, and human adult brain tissue. Bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) containing EPO complementary DNA (cDNA) was used as a positive control. (B) EPO protein expression was evaluated using immunocytochemistry. Fetal mouse liver (E12.5) was positively stained with anti-EPO (green) and anti-AFP (red) antibodies. (C) Expression of marker genes for endoderm and liver lineages and EPO in cultures of differentiated hiPSCs. Human liver specimens were used as a positive control. hiPSCs were differentiated into the hepatic lineage (stages 1 to 3), as shown in fig. S1. (D and E) Time-course analyses of the expression of EPO mRNA (D) and protein (E). The expression of EPO mRNA was measured using qRT-PCR in (D), and Western blotting was performed with anti-EPO antibodies in (E). Each value was normalized to that of the sample on day 0. (F) EPO protein expression was evaluated using immunocytochemistry. hiPSC-EPO cells were positively stained with anti-EPO (green) and anti-AFP (red) antibodies. (G) Secretory vesicles (black arrows) were observed in the cytoplasm of hiPSC-EPO cells by transmission electron microscopy. The right lower panel is an image of E11.5 fetal mouse liver for comparison. (H) A temporal analysis of the EPO protein concentrations in the culture medium of hiPSC-EPO cells measured using ELISA. (I) EPO mRNA expression was observed in the differentiation cultures of multiple hiPSC/ESC lines. Each value was normalized to that of the hiPSC 253G4 cell line on day 0. The data were obtained from four independent experiments and are means ± SEM in (D), (E), (H), and (I). *P < 0.05 versus day 0 in (D), (E), and (H); analysis of variance (ANOVA) with Bonferroni’s test. Scale bars, 40 μm (B and F) and 2 μm (G).

  • Fig. 2. Cell proliferation and EPO-producing capacity of hiPSC-EPO cells.

    (A) Number of stage 2 hiPSC-EPO cells during culture. hiPSCs were differentiated into EPO-producing cells (stage 2), as shown in fig. S1. (B) The expression of a cell proliferation marker, Ki67, was measured by immunocytochemistry. (C) Number of hiPSC-EPO cells during maintenance culture. (D and E) Time-course analyses of EPO mRNA expression (D) and EPO protein secretion (E) using RT-PCR and EPO ELISA, respectively. Each value was normalized to that of the stage 2 sample on day 0 (D). The data from four independent experiments are means ± SEM in (A), (C), (D), and (E). *P < 0.05 versus day 0 in (A), (D), and (E); ANOVA with Bonferroni’s test. Scale bars, 40 μm (B).

  • Fig. 3. Differentiation of EPO-producing cells from miPSCs/ESCs.

    (A) Temporal pattern of mouse Epo mRNA expression in the differentiation culture of an miPSC line, 494B-4, measured using qRT-PCR. Each value was normalized to that of the sample on day 0. (B) Epo mRNA expression observed in the differentiation culture of an mESC line, D3. Each value was normalized to that of the sample on day 0. (C) Mouse EPO protein concentrations in the cell culture medium were measured using ELISA. The data were obtained from four independent experiments and are means ± SEM. *P < 0.05 versus day 0; Student’s t test (B) and ANOVA with Bonferroni’s test (C).

  • Fig. 4. Effects of IGF-1 treatment on EPO expression and secretion in hiPSC-EPO cells.

    (A) Effects of IGF-1, IGF-2, and insulin treatment on the EPO mRNA expression for stage 2 hiPSC-EPO cells on culture day 8 using qRT-PCR analysis. Each value was normalized to that of control samples (no growth factor). A sample of human fetal liver was used as a positive control. (B) IGF-1 receptor expression was measured using Western blot analysis. Representative data are shown for four independent experiments. (C and D) Concentration-dependent effects of IGF-1 treatment on EPO mRNA expression (C) and protein secretion (D) for stage 2 hiPSC-EPO cells on culture day 8. Each value was normalized to that of control hiPSCs treated with no IGF-1. (E and F) Time-course analyses of the IGF-1–induced EPO mRNA expression (E) and protein secretion (F) for hiPSC-EPO cells. Each value was normalized to that of samples on day 0 in (E). (G and H) The mRNA expression of AFP (G) and ALBUMIN (H) was analyzed using qRT-PCR. Each value was normalized to control stage 2 hiPSC-EPO cells on culture day 8 not treated with IGF-1. The data were obtained from four independent experiments and are means ± SEM in (A) and (C) to (H). *P < 0.05 versus control samples without IGF-1 treatment in (A) and (C) to (F); ANOVA with Bonferroni’s test.

  • Fig. 5. Stimulation of EPO expression and secretion under hypoxic culture conditions.

    (A and B) Time-course analyses of EPO mRNA expression (A) and protein secretion (B) in hiPSC-EPO cells cultured under low oxygen (1%) conditions compared to control hiPSC-EPO cells cultured under normal oxygen (21%) conditions. EPO mRNA expression was measured using qRT-PCR, whereas the EPO protein concentrations in the culture medium were analyzed using ELISA. Each value was normalized to that of samples on day 0 in (A). (C and D) AFP (C) and ALBUMIN (D) mRNA expression was analyzed using qRT-PCR. Each value was normalized to control stage 2 hiPSC-EPO cells on culture day 8 cultured under normoxic conditions. (E and F) The effects of PHD inhibitors on EPO mRNA expression (E) and protein secretion (F) in HepG2 cells and in stage 2 hiPSC-EPO cells on culture day 8 were analyzed using qRT-PCR and ELISA, respectively (100 μM DFO, 50 μM FG4592, and 1 mM DMOG). Each value was normalized to control samples (no PHD inhibitor) in (E). (G) Effects of an HIF-1 dimerization inhibitor, Acriflavine (10 μM), on EPO protein secretion by hiPSC-EPO cells. (H) The nuclear translocation of HIF-1α and HIF-2α in hiPSC-EPO and HepG2 cells under hypoxic (1%) conditions was evaluated by immunocytochemistry. The data from four independent experiments are means ± SEM. *P < 0.05 versus control samples under normoxic conditions in (A) and (B) or without PHD inhibitors in (E) to (G); **P < 0.05 versus control samples (HepG2 cells) in (E) and (F); ANOVA with Bonferroni’s test (A, B, E, and F) and Student’s t test (G). Scale bars, 20 μm (H).

  • Fig. 6. Effects of hiPSC-EPO protein on erythropoiesis in vitro.

    (A) Schematic of clonogenic hematopoietic progenitor assays using methylcellulose-based semisolid medium. (B) Representative images of BFU-E induced by rhEPO (left) and hiPSC-EPO protein (right). (C) Number of clonal colonies on semisolid medium containing ST3 supplemented with rhEPO (0.28 and 2.8 ng/ml) or hiPSC-EPO protein (0.28 and 2.8 ng/ml) (n = 3). (D) Number of clonal colonies on semisolid medium containing different concentrations of neutralizing antibodies against human EPO in addition to ST3 and hiPSC-EPO protein (2.8 ng/ml) (n = 3). The data were obtained from three independent experiments and are means ± SEM in (C) and (D). Scale bars, 200 μm (B).

  • Fig. 7. Therapeutic effects of hiPSC-EPO protein on renal anemia in adenine-treated mice.

    (A to H) Renal anemia was induced by adenine treatment (50 mg/kg body weight daily for 4 weeks) in male C57BL/6 mice. The mice were then treated with rhEPO or hiPSC-EPO protein. (A) Time-course analyses of the hematocrit (Hct) measured using glass capillary tubes. (B) Hematocrit after 4 weeks of treatment with rhEPO or hiPSC-EPO protein. (C) Hemoglobin concentrations after 4 weeks of treatment with rhEPO or hiPSC-EPO protein analyzed by ELISA. The gray shaded areas indicate the normal hematocrit in C57BL/6 mice in (A) and (B) and the normal hemoglobin concentration in C57BL/6 mice in (C). (D) Number of red blood cells (RBC), white blood cells (WBC), and platelets after 4 weeks of treatment with rhEPO or hiPSC-EPO protein. (E) Mean corpuscular volume (MCV), mean corpuscular hemoglobin (MCH), and mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC) after 4 weeks of treatment with rhEPO or hiPSC-EPO protein. (F and G) The concentrations of mouse (F) and human (G) EPO protein in mouse serum were measured after 4 weeks of treatment with rhEPO or hiPSC-EPO protein using ELISA. (H) The efficiency of renal anemia recovery after treatment with 0.56 ng of rhEPO or hiPSC-EPO protein was calculated on the basis of the increase in hematocrit per week (ΔHct/week). (I) Glycosylation patterns of hiPSC-EPO and rhEPO protein were measured using lectin microarray assays. The data are means ± SEM (n = 4). Abbreviations are defined in table S3. (J) Half-lives of the hiPSC-EPO protein and rhEPO in vivo were evaluated by measuring EPO protein concentrations in mouse serum after subcutaneous injection of hiPSC-EPO or rhEPO using ELISA. The data from three independent experiments are means ± SEM in (A) to (H) and (J). n = 6 for control and n = 10 for rhEPO (28 ng), rhEPO (0.56 ng), hiPSC-EPO protein (0.56 ng), and saline. *P < 0.05 versus saline in (A) to (D), control in (G), and rhEPO in (H); ANOVA with Bonferroni’s test (A to G) and Student’s t test (H).

  • Fig. 8. Therapeutic effects of the transplantation of hiPSC-EPO–producing cells on renal anemia in adenine-treated mice.

    Renal anemia was induced using adenine treatment (50 mg/kg body weight daily for 5 weeks) in immunodeficient mice (NOD.CB17-Prkdcscid/J mice). Twenty aggregates of hiPSC-EPO cells (5.0 × 105 cells per aggregate) were transplanted into the kidney subcapsules of mice with renal anemia. (A) Hematocrit was examined during the first 4 weeks after transplantation using glass capillary tubes. (B) Human EPO concentrations in mouse serum at 4 weeks after transplantation were measured using ELISA. (C) Hematocrit was examined for up to 28 weeks after transplantation. The gray shaded areas in (A) and (C) indicate the normal hematocrit range in NOD.CB17-Prkdcscid/J mice. (D) Human EPO concentrations in mouse serum after transplantation were measured using ELISA. (E) The hiPSC-EPO–producing cell grafts were evaluated using immunohistochemistry for EPO (green), AFP (red) and ALBUMIN (red) and using H&E staining. (F) The new vasculature in the grafts derived from host mice was examined by anti-mouse CD31/PECAM-1 immunostaining and H&E staining. (G) The human EPO concentrations in host mouse serum after phlebotomy were measured using ELISA. The data from three independent experiments are means ± SEM; n = 6 for hiPSC-EPO–producing cells and saline in (A) and (B). The data from two independent experiments are means ± SEM; n = 4 for hiPSC-EPO cells and saline in (C), (D), and (G). *P < 0.05 versus control; ANOVA with Bonferroni’s test (A, C, D, and G) and Student’s t test (B). Scale bars, 40 μm (E) and 20 μm (F).

Supplementary Materials

  • www.sciencetranslationalmedicine.org/cgi/content/full/9/409/eaaj2300/DC1

    Fig. S1. Differentiation method for generating EPO-producing cells from hiPSCs/ESCs.

    Fig. S2. Expression of hepatic lineage and endoderm markers in hiPSC-EPO cells.

    Fig. S3. Variable expression and secretion of EPO and expression of hepatoblast markers among three hiPSC/ESC lines.

    Fig. S4. Differentiation method for generating EPO-producing cells from miPSCs/ESCs.

    Fig. S5. Effects of 46 different factors on EPO mRNA expression in the hiPSC-EPO cells.

    Fig. S6. The HIF-PHD pathway regulates EPO production induced by hypoxia or IGF-1 treatment.

    Fig. S7. Effects of hiPSC-EPO protein on body weight and renal anemia in adenine-treated mice.

    Table S1. Effects of hiPSC-EPO protein on in vitro erythropoiesis (related to Fig. 6).

    Table S2. The sequences of sense and antisense primers used for RT-PCR in this study.

    Table S3. A list of lectins and their specificity for microarray analysis.

  • Supplementary Material for:

    Human pluripotent stem cell–derived erythropoietin-producing cells ameliorate renal anemia in mice

    Hirofumi Hitomi, Tomoko Kasahara, Naoko Katagiri, Azusa Hoshina, Shin-Ichi Mae, Maki Kotaka, Takafumi Toyohara, Asadur Rahman, Daisuke Nakano, Akira Niwa, Megumu K. Saito, Tatsutoshi Nakahata, Akira Nishiyama, Kenji Osafune*

    *Corresponding author. Email: osafu{at}cira.kyoto-u.ac.jp

    Published 27 September 2017, Sci. Transl. Med. 9, eaaj2300 (2017)
    DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaj2300

    This PDF file includes:

    • Fig. S1. Differentiation method for generating EPO-producing cells from hiPSCs/ESCs.
    • Fig. S2. Expression of hepatic lineage and endoderm markers in hiPSC-EPO cells.
    • Fig. S3. Variable expression and secretion of EPO and expression of hepatoblast markers among three hiPSC/ESC lines.
    • Fig. S4. Differentiation method for generating EPO-producing cells from miPSCs/ESCs.
    • Fig. S5. Effects of 46 different factors on EPO mRNA expression in the hiPSC-EPO cells.
    • Fig. S6. The HIF-PHD pathway regulates EPO production induced by hypoxia or IGF-1 treatment.
    • Fig. S7. Effects of hiPSC-EPO protein on body weight and renal anemia in adenine-treated mice.
    • Table S1. Effects of hiPSC-EPO protein on in vitro erythropoiesis (related to Fig. 6).
    • Table S2. The sequences of sense and antisense primers used for RT-PCR in this study.
    • Table S3. A list of lectins and their specificity for microarray analysis.

    [Download PDF]

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