Niche stiffness underlies the ageing of central nervous system progenitor cells.
Weber, Isabell P
Agley, Chibeza C
Thompson, Amelia J
Gonzalez, Ginez A
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Segel, M., Neumann, B., Hill, M., Weber, I. P., Viscomi, C., Zhao, C., Young, A., et al. (2019). Niche stiffness underlies the ageing of central nervous system progenitor cells.. Nature https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-019-1484-9
Ageing causes a decline in tissue regeneration owing to a loss of function of adult stem cell and progenitor cell populations1. One example is the deterioration of the regenerative capacity of the widespread and abundant population of central nervous system (CNS) multipotent stem cells known as oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs)2. A relatively overlooked potential source of this loss of function is the stem cell 'niche'-a set of cell-extrinsic cues that include chemical and mechanical signals3,4. Here we show that the OPC microenvironment stiffens with age, and that this mechanical change is sufficient to cause age-related loss of function of OPCs. Using biological and synthetic scaffolds to mimic the stiffness of young brains, we find that isolated aged OPCs cultured on these scaffolds are molecularly and functionally rejuvenated. When we disrupt mechanical signalling, the proliferation and differentiation rates of OPCs are increased. We identify the mechanoresponsive ion channel PIEZO1 as a key mediator of OPC mechanical signalling. Inhibiting PIEZO1 overrides mechanical signals in vivo and allows OPCs to maintain activity in the ageing CNS. We also show that PIEZO1 is important in regulating cell number during CNS development. Thus we show that tissue stiffness is a crucial regulator of ageing in OPCs, and provide insights into how the function of adult stem and progenitor cells changes with age. Our findings could be important not only for the development of regenerative therapies, but also for understanding the ageing process itself.
The work was supported by European Research Council (ERC) grant 772798 (to K.J.C.) and 772426 (to K.F.); the UK Multiple Sclerosis Society (to R.J.M.F.); Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) grant BB/M008827/1 (to K.J.C and R.J.M.F.) and BB/N006402/1 (to K.F.); the Adelson Medical Research Foundation (R.J.M.F. and D.H.R.); an EMBO Long-Term Fellowship ALTF 1263-2015 and European Commission FP7 actions LTFCOFUND2013, GA-2013-609409 (to I.P.W.); and a core support grant from the Wellcome Trust and Medical Research Council (MRC) to the Wellcome Trust–MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute.
MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS SOCIETY (50)
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CUH) (146281)
Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Medical Research Foundation (AMRF) (EQ2017B)
European Commission Horizon 2020 (H2020) ERC (789054)
European Commission Horizon 2020 (H2020) ERC (772426)
European Commission Horizon 2020 (H2020) ERC (772798)
Wellcome Trust (203151/Z/16/Z)
MRC (via University of Edinburgh) (MR/R015635/1)
MEDICAL RESEARCH COUNCIL (MR/M011089/1)
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-019-1484-9
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/296113
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