The Secretome of Human Dental Pulp Stem Cells and Its Components GDF15 and HB-EGF Protect Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Motoneurons against Death

Biomedicines. 2023 Jul 30;11(8):2152. doi: 10.3390/biomedicines11082152.


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal and incurable paralytic disorder caused by the progressive death of upper and lower motoneurons. Although numerous strategies have been developed to slow disease progression and improve life quality, to date only a few therapeutic treatments are available with still unsatisfactory therapeutic benefits. The secretome of dental pulp stem cells (DPSCs) contains numerous neurotrophic factors that could promote motoneuron survival. Accordingly, DPSCs confer neuroprotective benefits to the SOD1G93A mouse model of ALS. However, the mode of action of DPSC secretome on motoneurons remains largely unknown. Here, we used conditioned medium of human DPSCs (DPSCs-CM) and assessed its effect on survival, axonal length, and electrical activity of cultured wildtype and SOD1G93A motoneurons. To further understand the role of individual factors secreted by DPSCs and to circumvent the secretome variability bias, we focused on GDF15 and HB-EGF whose neuroprotective properties remain elusive in the ALS pathogenic context. DPSCs-CM rescues motoneurons from trophic factor deprivation-induced death, promotes axon outgrowth of wildtype but not SOD1G93A mutant motoneurons, and has no impact on the spontaneous electrical activity of wildtype or mutant motoneurons. Both GDF15 and HB-EGF protect SOD1G93A motoneurons against nitric oxide-induced death, but not against death induced by trophic factor deprivation. GDF15 and HB-EGF receptors were found to be expressed in the spinal cord, with a two-fold increase in expression for the GDF15 low-affinity receptor in SOD1G93A mice. Therefore, the secretome of DPSCs appears as a new potential therapeutic candidate for ALS.

Keywords: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; axon outgrowth; cell therapy; conditioned medium; death; dental pulp stem cell; electrical activity; motoneuron; neuropathology; neurotrophic factors.