Honors & Awards
Maternal and Child Health Research Institute Postdoctoral Support, Maternal and Child Health Research Institute (MCHRI) (2019-2021)
School of Medicine Dean's Postdoctoral Fellowship, Stanford University School of Medicine (2019-2020)
Postdoctoral Fellowship, The Moses Feldman Family Foundation (2018-2020)
Doctor of Philosophy, Hebrew University of Jerusalem (2018)
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Hebrew University Of Jerusalem (2017)
Bachelor of Science, Hebrew University Of Jerusalem (2017)
Neuronal defects in a human cellular model of 22q11.2 deletion syndrome.
22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11DS) is a highly penetrant and common genetic cause of neuropsychiatric disease. Here we generated induced pluripotent stem cells from 15 individuals with 22q11DS and 15 control individuals and differentiated them into three-dimensional (3D) cerebral cortical organoids. Transcriptional profiling across 100 days showed high reliability of differentiation and revealed changes in neuronal excitability-related genes. Using electrophysiology and live imaging, we identified defects in spontaneous neuronal activity and calcium signaling in both organoid- and 2D-derived cortical neurons. The calcium deficit was related to resting membrane potential changes that led to abnormal inactivation of voltage-gated calcium channels. Heterozygous loss of DGCR8 recapitulated the excitability and calcium phenotypes and its overexpression rescued these defects. Moreover, the 22q11DS calcium abnormality could also be restored by application of antipsychotics. Taken together, our study illustrates how stem cell derived models can be used to uncover and rescue cellular phenotypes associated with genetic forms of neuropsychiatric disease.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41591-020-1043-9
View details for PubMedID 32989314
Dynamic Gain Analysis Reveals Encoding Deficiencies in Cortical Neurons That Recover from Hypoxia-Induced Spreading Depolarizations
JOURNAL OF NEUROSCIENCE
2019; 39 (39): 7790–7800
Cortical regions that are damaged by insults, such as ischemia, hypoxia, and trauma, frequently generate spreading depolarization (SD). At the neuronal level, SDs entail complete breakdown of ionic gradients, persisting for seconds to minutes. It is unclear whether these transient events have a more lasting influence on neuronal function. Here, we describe electrophysiological changes in cortical neurons after recovery from hypoxia-induced SD. When examined with standard measures of neuronal excitability several hours after recovery from SD, layer 5 pyramidal neurons in brain slices from mice of either sex appear surprisingly normal. However, we here introduce an additional parameter, dynamic gain, which characterizes the bandwidth of action potential encoding by a neuron, and thereby reflects its potential efficiency in a multineuronal circuit. We find that the ability of neurons that recover from SD to track high-frequency inputs is markedly curtailed; exposure to hypoxia did not have this effect when SD was prevented pharmacologically. Staining for Ankyrin G revealed at least a fourfold decrease in the number of intact axon initial segments in post-SD slices. Since this effect, along with the effect on encoding, was blocked by an inhibitor of the Ca2+-dependent enzyme, calpain, we conclude that both effects were mediated by the SD-induced rise in intracellular Ca2+ Although effects of calpain activation were detected in the axon initial segment, changes in soma-dendritic compartments may also be involved. Whatever the precise molecular mechanism, our findings indicate that in the context of cortical circuit function, effectiveness of neurons that survive SD may be limited.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Spreading depolarization, which commonly accompanies cortical injury, entails transient massive breakdown of neuronal ionic gradients. The function of cortical neurons that recover from hypoxia-induced spreading depolarization is not obviously abnormal when tested for usual measures of neuronal excitability. However, we now demonstrate that they have a reduced bandwidth, reflecting a significant impairment of their ability to precisely encode high-frequency components of their synaptic input in output spike trains. Thus, neurons that recover from spreading depolarizations are less able to function normally as elements in the multineuronal cortical circuitry. These changes are correlated with activation of the calcium-dependent enzyme, calpain.
View details for DOI 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3147-18.2019
View details for Web of Science ID 000487762900014
View details for PubMedID 31399533
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6764201
Human 3D cellular model of hypoxic brain injury of prematurity.
Owing to recent medical and technological advances in neonatal care, infants born extremely premature have increased survival rates1,2. After birth, these infants are at high risk of hypoxic episodes because of lung immaturity, hypotension and lack of cerebral-flow regulation, and can develop a severe condition called encephalopathy of prematurity3. Over 80% of infants born before post-conception week 25 have moderate-to-severe long-term neurodevelopmental impairments4. The susceptible cell types in the cerebral cortex and the molecular mechanisms underlying associated gray-matter defects in premature infants remain unknown. Here we used human three-dimensional brain-region-specific organoids to study the effect of oxygen deprivation on corticogenesis. We identified specific defects in intermediate progenitors, a cortical cell type associated with the expansion of the human cerebral cortex, and showed that these are related to the unfolded protein response and changes. Moreover, we verified these findings in human primary cortical tissue and demonstrated that a small-molecule modulator of the unfolded protein response pathway can prevent the reduction in intermediate progenitors following hypoxia. We anticipate that this human cellular platform will be valuable for studying the environmental and genetic factors underlying injury in the developing human brain.
View details for PubMedID 31061540
Reliability of human cortical organoid generation.
2019; 16 (1): 75–78
The differentiation of pluripotent stem cells in three-dimensional cultures can recapitulate key aspects of brain development, but protocols are prone to variable results. Here we differentiated multiple human pluripotent stem cell lines for over 100 d using our previously developed approach to generate brain-region-specific organoids called cortical spheroids and, using several assays, found that spheroid generation was highly reliable and consistent. We anticipate the use of this approach for large-scale differentiation experiments and disease modeling.
View details for PubMedID 30573846
Differentiation and maturation of oligodendrocytes in human three-dimensional neural cultures.
Investigating human oligodendrogenesis and the interaction of oligodendrocytes with neurons and astrocytes would accelerate our understanding of the mechanisms underlying white matter disorders. However, this is challenging because of the limited accessibility of functional human brain tissue. Here, we developed a new differentiation method of human induced pluripotent stem cells to generate three-dimensional brain organoids that contain oligodendrocytes as well as neurons and astrocytes, called human oligodendrocyte spheroids. We found that oligodendrocyte lineage cells derived in human oligodendrocyte spheroids transitioned through developmental stages similar to primary human oligodendrocytes and that the migration of oligodendrocyte lineage cells and their susceptibility to lysolecithin exposure could be captured by live imaging. Moreover, their morphology changed as they matured over time in vitro and started myelinating neurons. We anticipate that this method can be used to study oligodendrocyte development, myelination, and interactions with other major cell types in the CNS.
View details for PubMedID 30692691
The earliest neuronal responses to hypoxia in the neocortical circuit are glutamate-dependent
NEUROBIOLOGY OF DISEASE
2016; 95: 158–67
Soon after exposure to hypoxia or ischemia, neurons in cortical tissues undergo massive anoxic depolarization (AD). This precipitous event is preceded by more subtle neuronal changes, including enhanced excitatory and inhibitory synaptic transmitter release. Here, we have used patch-in-slice techniques to identify the earliest effects of acute hypoxia on the synaptic and intrinsic properties of Layer 5 neurons, to determine their time course and to evaluate the role of glutamate receptors in their generation. Coronal slices of mouse somatosensory cortex were maintained at 36°C in an interface chamber and challenged with episodes of hypoxia. In recordings with cell-attached electrodes, the open probability of Ca(2+)-dependent BK channels began to increase within seconds of hypoxia onset, indicating a sharp rise in [Ca(2+)]i just beneath the membrane. By using a high concentration of K(+) in the pipette, we simultaneously monitored the membrane potential and showed that the [Ca(2+)]i rise was not associated with membrane depolarization. The earliest hypoxia-induced synaptic disturbance was a marked increase in the frequency of sPSCs, which also began soon after the removal of oxygen and long before AD. This synaptic effect was accompanied by depletion of the readily releasable transmitter pools, as demonstrated by a decreased response to hyperosmotic solutions. The early [Ca(2+)]i rise, the early increase in transmitter release and the subsequent AD itself were all prevented by bathing in a cocktail containing blockers of ionotropic glutamate receptors. We found no evidence for involvement of pannexin hemichannels or TRPM7 channels in the early responses to hypoxia in this experimental preparation. Our data indicate that the earliest cellular consequences of cortical hypoxia are triggered by activation of glutamate-gated channels.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.nbd.2016.07.019
View details for Web of Science ID 000383412200015
View details for PubMedID 27443966
The Outwardly Rectifying Current of Layer 5 Neocortical Neurons that was Originally Identified as "Non-Specific Cationic" Is Essentially a Potassium Current
2015; 10 (7): e0132108
In whole-cell patch clamp recordings from layer 5 neocortical neurons, blockade of voltage gated sodium and calcium channels leaves a cesium current that is outward rectifying. This current was originally identified as a "non-specific cationic current", and subsequently it was hypothesized that it is mediated by TRP channels. In order to test this hypothesis, we used fluorescence imaging of intracellular sodium and calcium indicators, and found no evidence to suggest that it is associated with influx of either of these ions to the cell body or dendrites. Moreover, the current is still prominent in neurons from TRPC1-/- and TRPC5-/- mice. The effects on the current of various blocking agents, and especially its sensitivity to intracellular tetraethylammonium, suggest that it is not a non-specific cationic current, but rather that it is generated by cesium-permeable delayed rectifier potassium channels.
View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0132108
View details for Web of Science ID 000358547600021
View details for PubMedID 26197082
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4510442