The adult human olfactory bulb neural stem/progenitor cells (OBNC/PC) are promising candidate for cell-based therapy for traumatic and neurodegenerative insults. Exogenous application of NGF was suggested as a promising therapeutic strategy for traumatic and neurodegenerative diseases, however effective delivery of NGF into the CNS parenchyma is still challenging due mainly to its limited ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, and intolerable side effects if administered into the brain ventricular system. An effective method to ensure delivery of NGF into the parenchyma of CNS is the genetic modification of NSC to overexpress NGF gene. Overexpression of NGF in adult human OBNSC is expected to alter their proliferation and differentiation nature, and thus might enhance their therapeutic potential. In this study, we genetically modified adult human OBNS/PC to overexpress human NGF (hNGF) and green fluorescent protein (GFP) genes to provide insight about the effects of hNGF and GFP genes overexpression in adult human OBNS/PC on their in vitro multipotentiality using DNA microarray, immunophenotyping, and Western blot (WB) protocols. Our analysis revealed that OBNS/PC-GFP and OBNS/PC-GFP-hNGF differentiation is a multifaceted process involving changes in major biological processes as reflected in alteration of the gene expression levels of crucial markers such as cell cycle and survival markers, stemness markers, and differentiation markers. The differentiation of both cell classes was also associated with modulations of key signaling pathways such MAPK signaling pathway, ErbB signaling pathway, and neuroactive ligand-receptor interaction pathway for OBNS/PC-GFP, and axon guidance, calcium channel, voltage-dependent, gamma subunit 7 for OBNS/PC-GFP-hNGF as revealed by GO and KEGG. Differentiated OBNS/PC-GFP-hNGF displayed extensively branched cytoplasmic processes, a significant faster growth rate and up modulated the expression of oligodendroglia precursor cells markers (PDGFRα, NG2 and CNPase) respect to OBNS/PC-GFP counterparts. These findings suggest an enhanced proliferation and oligodendrocytic differentiation potential for OBNS/PC-GFP-hNGF as compared to OBNS/PC-GFP.,
Department of Surgery

Marei, H., Althani, A., Afifi, N., Abd-Elmaksoud, A., Bernardini, C., Michetti, F., … Cenciarelli, C. (2013). Over-expression of hNGF in adult human olfactory bulb neural stem cells promotes cell growth and oligodendrocytic differentiation. PLoS ONE, 8(12). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0082206