Retinoic Acid-Treated Pluripotent Stem Cells Undergoing Neurogenesis Present Increased Aneuploidy and Micronuclei Formation
by Rafaela C. Sartore, Priscila B. Campos, Cleber A. Trujillo, Bia L. Ramalho, Priscilla D. Negraes, Bruna S. Paulsen, Tamara Meletti, Elaine S. Costa, Leonardo Chicaybam, Martin H. Bonamino, Henning Ulrich, Stevens K. Rehen
The existence of loss and gain of chromosomes, known as aneuploidy, has been previously described within the central nervous system. During development, at least one-third of neural progenitor cells (NPCs) are aneuploid. Notably, aneuploid NPCs may survive and functionally integrate into the mature neural circuitry. Given the unanswered significance of this phenomenon, we tested the hypothesis that neural differentiation induced by all-trans retinoic acid (RA) in pluripotent stem cells is accompanied by increased levels of aneuploidy, as previously described for cortical NPCs in vivo. In this work we used embryonal carcinoma (EC) cells, embryonic stem (ES) cells and induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells undergoing differentiation into NPCs. Ploidy analysis revealed a 2-fold increase in the rate of aneuploidy, with the prevalence of chromosome loss in RA primed stem cells when compared to naïve cells. In an attempt to understand the basis of neurogenic aneuploidy, micronuclei formation and survivin expression was assessed in pluripotent stem cells exposed to RA. RA increased micronuclei occurrence by almost 2-fold while decreased survivin expression by 50%, indicating possible mechanisms by which stem cells lose their chromosomes during neural differentiation. DNA fragmentation analysis demonstrated no increase in apoptosis on embryoid bodies treated with RA, indicating that cell death is not the mandatory fate of aneuploid NPCs derived from pluripotent cells. In order to exclude that the increase in aneuploidy was a spurious consequence of RA treatment, not related to neurogenesis, mouse embryonic fibroblasts were treated with RA under the same conditions and no alterations in chromosome gain or loss were observed. These findings indicate a correlation amongst neural differentiation, aneuploidy, micronuclei formation and survivin downregulation in pluripotent stem cells exposed to RA, providing evidence that somatically generated chromosomal variation accompanies neurogenesis in vitro.
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