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Ochratoxin A at nanomolar concentration perturbs the homeostasis of neural stem cells in highly differentiated but not in immature three-dimensional brain cell cultures.
Ochratoxin A (OTA), a fungal contaminant of basic food commodities, is known to be highly cytotoxic, but the pathways underlying adverse effects at subcytotoxic concentrations remain to be elucidated. Recent reports indicate that OTA affects cell cycle regulation. Therefore, 3D brain cell cultures were used to study OTA effects on mitotically active neural stem/progenitor cells, comparing highly differentiated cultures with their immature counterparts. Changes in the rate of DNA synthesis were related to early changes in the mRNA expression of neural stem/progenitor cell markers. OTA at 10nM, a concentration below the cytotoxic level, was ineffective in immature cultures, whereas in mature cultures it significantly decreased the rate of DNA synthesis together with the mRNA expression of key transcriptional regulators such as Sox2, Mash1, Hes5, and Gli1; the cell cycle activator cyclin D2; the phenotypic markers nestin, doublecortin, and PDGFRα. These effects were largely prevented by Sonic hedgehog (Shh) peptide (500ngml(-1)) administration, indicating that OTA impaired the Shh pathway and the Sox2 regulatory transcription factor critical for stem cell self-renewal. Similar adverse effects of OTA in vivo might perturb the regulation of stem cell proliferation in the adult brain and in other organs exhibiting homeostatic and/or regenerative cell proliferation.
Animals, Cell Culture Techniques, Cell Differentiation/drug effects, Cell Proliferation/drug effects, Culture Media, Serum-Free, DNA/biosynthesis, Dose-Response Relationship, Drug, Homeostasis/drug effects, Neural Stem Cells/cytology, Neural Stem Cells/drug effects, Ochratoxins/toxicity, RNA, Messenger/metabolism, Rats, Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction, Telencephalon/cytology, Telencephalon/drug effects, Transcription Factors/metabolism
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