Acta Neuropathologica

, Volume 120, Issue 1, pp 85–96

Balloon cells in human cortical dysplasia and tuberous sclerosis: isolation of a pathological progenitor-like cell

  • Shireena A. Yasin
  • Kate Latak
  • Francesca Becherini
  • Anita Ganapathi
  • Khadijah Miller
  • Oliver Campos
  • Simon R. Picker
  • Nelly Bier
  • Martin Smith
  • Maria Thom
  • Glenn Anderson
  • J. Helen Cross
  • William Harkness
  • Brian Harding
  • Thomas S. Jacques
Original Paper

Abstract

Neural stem cells are present in the human post-natal brain and are important in the development of brain tumours. However, their contribution to non-neoplastic human disease is less clear. We have tested the hypothesis that malformations of cortical development contain abnormal (pathological) stem cells. Such malformations are a major cause of epilepsy. Two of the most common malformations [focal cortical dysplasia (FCD) and cortical tubers] are characterised by the presence of a population of abnormal cells known as balloon cells. The identity of these cells is unknown but one hypothesis is that they are an abnormal stem cell that contributes to the pathogenesis of the malformation. We have characterised in tissue, and isolated in culture, an undifferentiated population of balloon cells from surgical resections of FCD and cortical tubers. We show that β1-integrin labels a sub-population of balloon cells with a stem cell phenotype and show for the first time that these cells can be isolated in vitro. We have characterised the immunohistochemical, morphological and ultrastructural features of these cells. This is the first isolation of an abnormal cell with features of a progenitor/stem cell from a non-neoplastic disease of the brain.

Keywords

Cortical dysplasia Tuberous sclerosis Stem cell Progenitor cell Epilepsy 

Supplementary material

401_2010_677_MOESM1_ESM.rtf (45 kb)
Supplementary material 1. Clinical characteristics of FCDIIb and TSC cases from which were used for culture experiments. (RTF 45 kb)
401_2010_677_MOESM2_ESM.tif (5.4 mb)
Supplementary material 2. β1-integrin-positive (green) balloon cells in vivo shown by confocal microscopy. Scale bar 25μm. (TIFF 5491 kb)
401_2010_677_MOESM3_ESM.tif (172 kb)
Supplementary material 3. β1-integrin positive balloon cells in vivo lack markers of mature neurones or glia. The bar chart shows the percentage of β1-positive or negative cells that are positive for each lineage marker. No β1-positive cells expressed Neurofilament. Very rare β1-positive cells expressed GFAP (3.1%). The difference between the β1-positive and negative cells reached statistical significance (p<0.05 Χ2 interactions between β1 expression and all differentiation markers 3 independent cases of FCD and >3000 cells). (TIFF 172 kb)
401_2010_677_MOESM4_ESM.doc (198 kb)
Supplementary material 4. Cultured balloon cells were isolated from 10 out of 12 cases of FCD TypeIIb or cortical tubers but no cases of other epilepsy associated pathology. (DOC 197 kb)
401_2010_677_MOESM5_ESM.mov (10 mb)
Supplementary material 5. Balloon cells are dynamic in culture, going through repeated rounds of cell attachment and cell separation with other balloon cells in culture. The images are from a case of cortical tuber (time-lapse microscopy 10 mins/frame). The material between the cells is myelin debris (confirmed by electron microscopy). The balloon cells are the only reproducible cell population in the cultures. (MOV 10250 kb)
401_2010_677_MOESM6_ESM.doc (196 kb)
Supplementary material 6. The presence of large cells in culture correlates closely with the presence of histologically confirmed balloon cells in the adjacent tissue (p<0.001 Fisher’s exact test). The case with no balloon cells in the immediately adjacent tissue did have proven balloon cells elsewhere in the tissue. (DOC 196 kb)
401_2010_677_MOESM7_ESM.docx (53 kb)
Supplementary material 7. Quantification of in vitro cell immunophenotyping. (DOCX 52 kb)
401_2010_677_MOESM8_ESM.tif (3.4 mb)
Supplementary material 8. Cultured balloon cells retain expression of markers of stem cells or progenitor cells after one week in culture. Each row represents a single balloon cell stained by immunofluorescence with a single marker. 1-3 and 5 confocal images. Scale bar 25μm. (TIFF 3473 kb)

Supplementary material 9. The video shows a balloon cell stained with mitotracker (red), vimentin (green) and DAPI (blue). The cell has the typical binucleate morphology. The vimentin appears to stain predominantly the cortex of the cell with mitochondria being more concentrated within the centre. The image is a projected z-stack from confocal images. (MOV 3504 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shireena A. Yasin
    • 1
    • 4
  • Kate Latak
    • 1
    • 4
  • Francesca Becherini
    • 1
  • Anita Ganapathi
    • 1
    • 4
  • Khadijah Miller
    • 1
    • 4
  • Oliver Campos
    • 1
    • 4
  • Simon R. Picker
    • 1
    • 4
  • Nelly Bier
    • 1
  • Martin Smith
    • 2
  • Maria Thom
    • 6
  • Glenn Anderson
    • 1
  • J. Helen Cross
    • 2
    • 5
  • William Harkness
    • 3
  • Brian Harding
    • 1
    • 5
  • Thomas S. Jacques
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of HistopathologyGreat Ormond Street HospitalLondonUK
  2. 2.Department of NeurologyGreat Ormond Street HospitalLondonUK
  3. 3.Department of NeurosurgeryGreat Ormond Street HospitalLondonUK
  4. 4.Neural Development UnitUCL-Institute of Child HealthLondonUK
  5. 5.The Neuroscience UnitUCL-Institute of Child HealthLondonUK
  6. 6.UCL-Institute of NeurologyLondonUK

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