ABSTRACT Pattern formation along the body axis directs the proportion of different types of cells required for functional tissue structures. The secreted protein sonic hedgehog (Shh) and zinc finger transcription factor Gli3 are key players in pattern formation during brain and limb development; the antagonistic action of Shh towards Gli3 may be crucial for pattern formation. Recent findings from Shh/Gli3 double homozygous mutants suggest that a balance of both activities is required for the production of the normal proportion of different cell types during organogenesis. This conclusion contrasts with the alternative hypothesis that a Shh gradient directs the specification of several different cell types. The observations reviewed here offer a new perspective on understanding the pathogenesis of human birth defects caused by mutations of the Shh and Gli3 genes.
ABSTRACT This review describes culture techniques for the epithelial system as well as trends in the clinical application of cultured keratinocytes in our department and the possibility of applying the techniques to other organs. Cultured epithelium and cultured dermis in particular have considerably preceded regeneration of other organs in the field of regenerative medicine. Since 1988 we have grafted cultured keratinocytes by the Rheinwald-Green modified method in at least 500 patients with large skin defects. As a result of the establishment of a culture technique for individual patients, it is now possible to prepare enough regenerated epithelium to cover the body surface area of as many as 10 adult patients in approximately three weeks after collecting 1 cm2 of skin, and then remaining cultured keratinocytes can be cryo-preserved for two-stage dermatoplasty at another site. This procedure makes it possible to avoid frequent skin collection from the same patient and thereby improves patients’ quality of life and activities of daily living. On the other hand, to solve the problem of regenerated epithelium shrinking and problems with graft efficiency on dermis defect lesion, we have developed a proteinase-resistant regenerated dermis by mixing a certain protein with a fibrin scaffold. Recently we also took the initiative in grafting hybrid-type regenerated trachea in an animal experiment by using the epithelial and dermal cell culture technique, and some results of the graft were obtained.
ABSTRACT Many of the effects of dioxins, which are potent environmental pollutants and teratogens, are mediated through the aryl hydrocarbon receptor, also known as the dioxin receptor. The purpose of the present study was to characterize dioxin-responsive genes in a comprehensive manner using two complementary approaches: bioinformatic analysis and microarray analysis. First, we characterized the overall distribution of the cis-regulatory element for the dioxin-responsive element sequence (DRE) ‘gcgtg’ within putative promoter regions. We assembled the upstream sequences 10 kb from the transcription start site and evaluated their location and frequency in the human and mouse genomes. Second, we characterized the expression profile of mouse embryonic day 12 fetal brain exposed to 2,3,7,8-tetrarchlorodibenzo-p-dioxin. The distributions of 26 680 DREs among 2843 human genes and 98 711 DREs among 18 541 mouse genes were examined. In both species, the DREs tended to be located close to the transcription start site. Forty genes exhibited significant induction or repression following dioxin exposure in fetal mice. The set of genes exhibited a strong functional coherence, with statistically significant enrichment in organogenesis and the DNA-dependent regulation of transcription, according to Gene Ontology annotations. In both humans and mice, DREs were preferentially distributed close to transcription start sites. Evolutionary conservation of this unique DRE distribution pattern suggests that DREs may be involved in transcriptional regulation. In mice, prenatal dioxin exposure altered the expression of 10 transcription factors, many of which have been documented to play a role in organogenesis. These genes may represent potential mediators of dioxin’s effects in fetal tissues.
ABSTRACT It is well known that ochratoxin A (OTA) induces neural tube defects (NTDs) in mice. In the present study, OTA was administered to the genetic polydactyly/arhinencephaly mouse (Pdn/Pdn) to investigate the synergistic effect between gene and environmental toxin. OTA treatment on day 7.5 of gestation increased NTDs in the Pdn/Pdn mouse. The responsible gene for Pdn/Pdn is Gli3. So, it was speculated that specific susceptibility for OTA in the Pdn/Pdn mouse embryo may be due to the severe depression of Gli3 gene expression. As correlated genes, Gli3, Shh and Fgf8 gene expressions were examined in the Pdn mouse embryo on day 9 of gestation after administration of OTA on day 7.5. No alteration of Shh expression was observed in the non-treated Pdn/Pdn, and OTA-treated +/+ and Pdn/Pdn. Fgf8 signal was observed at the anterior neural ridge (ANR) in the non-treated +/+, and that was elongated in the non-treated Pdn/Pdn, and further elongated and more intensive in the OTA-treated Pdn/Pdn. It was suggested that Fgf8 gene expression was affected by the depression of Gli3, and alteration of Fgf8 gene expression was accelerated by the toxicity of OTA in the Pdn/Pdn.
ABSTRACT To clarify the cytogenetic effects of glucose and ketone bodies on the pathogenesis of diabetes-associated congenital anomalies, we cultured cells from gestation-day-8 ICR mouse embryos under the diabetic condition. Cells were cultured in the medium with glucose (300 mg/dL) plus DL-2-hydroxybutyric acid (32 mM) (G + B group), glucose alone (G group), or neither of them (C group) for 5 days. At the end of the culture, cells were analyzed for the chromosomes. After 3–4 days culture, when the living cells grew into a mono-layered sheet, cells floating in the medium were observed and showed morphological features of apoptosis. Ratio of the floating cells was significantly higher in the G + B group than in the G or C group (P < 0.05), suggesting the deleterious effect of glucose and ketone body. Polyploidy was observed in the cultured cells more frequently in the G + B group (64.1%) than in the G group (49.0%), which was higher than the C group (20.5%) (G + B vs G: P < 0.05, G vs C: P < 0.001). The higher ratio of the polyploidy, but not of the aneuploidy, in the G + B and G groups suggested the specific effect of glucose and ketone body for inducing polyploidy. These results suggest that diabetic condition causes polyploidy in cultured embryonic cells.
ABSTRACT Rats exposed prenatally to 5-bromo-2′-deoxyuridine (BrdU-rats) display hyperlocomotive activity, making them a possibly useful animal model for the study of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Using this model, we investigated dopamine transporter (DAT) density and behavioral outcomes in BrdU-rats, some of which were also administered methylphenidate, a psychostimulant that is widely used for the treatment of ADHD. Pregnant rats were exposed to BrdU from gestational day 9 through 15. In male offspring, DAT densities in different regions of the striatum were quantified at three weeks of age. At seven weeks of age, locomotor, rearing and grooming behaviors were evaluated in an open-field setting, with or without methylphenidate treatment (1 mg/kg or 4 mg/kg). The results revealed no significant changes in striatal DAT densities in BrdU-rats compared with controls. Extreme hyperlocomotion of BrdU-rats was detected in the open-field environment, an effect that was exacerbated following treatment with the lower and higher dose of methylphenidate. Such increase in locomotor activity was observed only with the higher dose in control animals. In summary, degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in the terminal field was not detected in juvenile BrdU-rats, although adult animals displayed hyperactive behavior in a mildly stressful environment as well as hypersensitivity to a psychostimulant that facilitates dopaminergic neurotransmission.
ABSTRACT Callosal agenesis is a congenital brain anomaly caused by embryonal hypogenesis of the corpus callosum. Concerning the neurological prognosis, epilepsy and motor disturbance are noted in some cases, while many cases are asymptomatic and the prognosis is good. We report a fetus tentatively diagnosed with hydrocephaly on prenatal echo-encephalography, which was performed without adequate explanation to and understanding of the parents. The parents had not expected an abnormality before the screening, and were subsequently not psychologically prepared for the discovery of the congenital brain anomaly on imaging. Moreover, they received no guidance on how to deal with any possible abnormalities. The pregnant mother was referred to our hospital. Prenatal MRI was performed after informed consent was obtained, and the fetus was diagnosed with callosal agenesis. The patient was followed for 5 years, and neurological development was normal. However, the parents have remained anxious while raising the child. Thus, the prenatal diagnosis of callosal agenesis in this case caused unnecessary mental burden to the parents. Here, we report the course of the case, and discuss the way prenatal ultrasonography should be used as a prenatal screening method, and the importance of counseling before the test.