Sodium Butyrate is the sodium salt of butyric acid, a short chain fatty acid that inhibits histone deacetylases (HDACs), leading to hyperacetylation of histones. This causes changes in chromatin structure and gene expression, resulting in many biological effects. (Boffa et al.; Kruh)
· Promotes reprogramming of human somatic cells to induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells using only a single factor, OCT4 (Zhu et al.).
MAINTENANCE AND SELF-RENEWAL
· Supports self-renewal of mouse and human embryonic stem (ES) cells, in the absence of exogenously added growth factors (Ware et al.).
· Promotes differentiation to hepatocytes from mouse and human ES cells (Hay et al.; Zhou et al.).
· Promotes differentiation to definitive endoderm and islet-like cells from human ES cells (Jiang et al.).
· Enhances osteogenic and suppresses adipogenic differentiation from human mesenchymal cells (Chen et al.; Lee et al.).
Small Molecules, Big Impact in Pluripotent Stem Cell Research
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There is increasing evidence to suggest that embryonic stem cells (ESCs) are capable of differentiating into hepatocytes in vitro. In this study, we used a combination of cytokines and sodium butyrate in a novel three-step procedure to efficiently direct the differentiation of mouse ESCs into hepatocytes. Mouse ESCs were first differentiated into definitive endoderm cells by 3 days of treatment with Activin A. The definitive endoderm cells were then differentiated into hepatocytes by the addition of acidic fibroblast growth factor (aFGF) and sodium butyrate to the culture medium for 5 days. After 10 days of further in vitro maturation, the morphological and phenotypic markers of hepatocytes were characterized using immunohistochemistry, immunoblotting, and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Furthermore, the cells were tested for functions associated with mature hepatocytes, including glycogen storage and indocyanine green uptake and release, and the ratio of hepatic differentiation was determined by counting the percentage of albumin-positive cells. In the presence of medium containing cytokines and sodium butyrate, numerous epithelial cells resembling hepatocytes were observed, and approximately 74% of the cells expressed the hepatic marker, albumin, after 18 days in culture. RT-PCR analysis and immunohistochemistry showed that these cells expressed adult liver cell markers, and had the abilities of glycogen storage and indocyanine green uptake and release. We have developed an efficient method for directing the differentiation of mouse ESCs into cells that exhibit the characteristics of mature hepatocytes. This technique will be useful for research into the molecular mechanisms underlying liver development, and could provide a source of hepatocytes for transplantation therapy and drug screening.
Cell stem cell 2010 DEC
Reprogramming of human primary somatic cells by OCT4 and chemical compounds.
Zhu S et al.
OBJECTIVES Histone deacetylase (HDAC) is an important therapeutic target in cancer. Two of the main anticancer mechanisms of HDAC inhibitors are induction of terminal differentiation and inhibition of cell proliferation. To investigate the role of HDAC in maintenance of self-renewal and cell proliferation, we treated mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) that originated from adipose tissue or umbilical cord blood with valproic acid (VPA) and sodium butyrate (NaBu). MATERIALS AND METHODS Human MSCs were isolated from mammary fat tissue and cord blood. We performed MTT assay and flow cytometry-based cell cycle analysis to assess self-renewal of MSCs. In vitro differentiation assays into osteogenic, adipogenic, neurogenic and chondrogenic lineages were conducted to investigate MSC multipotency. Immunocytochemistry, Western blot and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction were used to interrogate molecular pathways. RESULTS VPA and NaBu flattened the morphology of MSCs and inhibited their growth. VPA and NaBu activated the transcription of p21(CIP1/WAF1) by increasing the acetylation of histone H3 and H4 and eventually blocked the cell cycle at G2/M phase. The expression level of p16(INK4A), a cdk inhibitor that is closely related to cellular senescence, was not changed by HDAC inhibitor treatment. We performed controlled differentiation into bone, fat, cartilage and nervous tissue to elucidate the role of HDAC in the pluripotency of MSC to differentiate into functional tissues. VPA and NaBu decreased the efficiency of adipogenic, chondrogenic, and neurogenic differentiation as visualized by specific staining and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. In contrast, osteogenic differentiation was elevated by HDAC inhibitor treatment. CONCLUSION HDAC activity is essential for maintaining the self-renewal and pluripotency of MSCs.
Cell stem cell 2009 APR
Histone deacetylase inhibition elicits an evolutionarily conserved self-renewal program in embryonic stem cells.
Ware CB et al.
Recent evidence indicates that mouse and human embryonic stem cells (ESCs) are fixed at different developmental stages, with the former positioned earlier. We show that a narrow concentration of the naturally occurring short-chain fatty acid, sodium butyrate, supports the extensive self-renewal of mouse and human ESCs, while promoting their convergence toward an intermediate stem cell state. In response to butyrate, human ESCs regress to an earlier developmental stage characterized by a gene expression profile resembling that of mouse ESCs, preventing precocious Xist expression while retaining the ability to form complex teratomas in vivo. Other histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi) also support human ESC self-renewal. Our results indicate that HDACi can promote ESC self-renewal across species, and demonstrate that ESCs can toggle between alternative states in response to environmental factors.
Stem cells (Dayton, Ohio) 2008 APR
Efficient differentiation of hepatocytes from human embryonic stem cells exhibiting markers recapitulating liver development in vivo.
Hay DC et al.
The potential to differentiate human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) in vitro to provide an unlimited source of human hepatocytes for use in biomedical research, drug discovery, and the treatment of liver diseases holds great promise. Here we describe a three-stage process for the efficient and reproducible differentiation of hESCs to hepatocytes by priming hESCs towards definitive endoderm with activin A and sodium butyrate prior to further differentiation to hepatocytes with dimethyl sulfoxide, followed by maturation with hepatocyte growth factor and oncostatin M. We have demonstrated that differentiation of hESCs in this process recapitulates liver development in vivo: following initial differentiation, hESCs transiently express characteristic markers of the primitive streak mesendoderm before turning to the markers of the definitive endoderm; with further differentiation, expression of hepatocyte progenitor cell markers and mature hepatocyte markers emerged sequentially. Furthermore, we have provided evidence that the hESC-derived hepatocytes are able to carry out a range of hepatocyte functions: storage of glycogen, and generation and secretion of plasma proteins. More importantly, the hESC-derived hepatocytes express several members of cytochrome P450 isozymes, and these P450 isozymes are capable of converting the substrates to metabolites and respond to the chemical stimulation. Our results have provided evidence that hESCs can be differentiated efficiently in vitro to functional hepatocytes, which may be useful as an in vitro system for toxicity screening in drug discovery.
Stem cells (Dayton, Ohio) 2007 AUG
Generation of insulin-producing islet-like clusters from human embryonic stem cells.
Jiang J et al.
Recent success in pancreatic islet transplantation has energized the field to discover an alternative source of stem cells with differentiation potential to beta cells. Generation of glucose-responsive, insulin-producing beta cells from self-renewing, pluripotent human ESCs (hESCs) has immense potential for diabetes treatment. We report here the development of a novel serum-free protocol to generate insulin-producing islet-like clusters (ILCs) from hESCs grown under feeder-free conditions. In this 36-day protocol, hESCs were treated with sodium butyrate and activin A to generate definitive endoderm coexpressing CXCR4 and Sox17, and CXCR4 and Foxa2. The endoderm population was then converted into cellular aggregates and further differentiated to Pdx1-expressing pancreatic endoderm in the presence of epidermal growth factor, basic fibroblast growth factor, and noggin. Soon thereafter, expression of Ptf1a and Ngn3 was detected, indicative of further pancreatic differentiation. The aggregates were finally matured in the presence of insulin-like growth factor II and nicotinamide. The temporal pattern of pancreas-specific gene expression in the hESC-derived ILCs showed considerable similarity to in vivo pancreas development, and the final population contained representatives of the ductal, exocrine, and endocrine pancreas. The hESC-derived ILCs contained 2%-8% human C-peptide-positive cells, as well as glucagon- and somatostatin-positive cells. Insulin content as high as 70 ng of insulin/mug of DNA was measured in the ILCs, representing levels higher than that of human fetal islets. In addition, the hESC-derived ILCs contained numerous secretory granules, as determined by electron microscopy, and secreted human C-peptide in a glucose-dependent manner. Disclosure of potential conflicts of interest is found at the end of this article.
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