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Taoran Zhang, Yuntao Hu, Ying Li, Jianguo Wu, Lin Zhao, Changguan Wang, Yuling Liu, Zhengqin Yin, Zhizhong Ma; Photoreceptors Repair by Autologous Transplantation of Retinal Pigment Epithelium and Partial-Thickness Choroid Graft in Rabbits. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2009;50(6):2982-2988. doi: 10.1167/iovs.08-2131.
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purpose. To investigate whether autologous retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) and a partial-thickness graft can repair degenerated photoreceptors overlying a mechanically damaged Bruch’s membrane.
methods. Twenty-one pigmented rabbits were used in the study. Abrasive debridement of the RPE was performed with a metal cannula after superior retinal bleb detachment in 20 rabbits. The graft was prepared beneath the inferior retina and was transplanted to the debridement area 14 days later. Debridement-only sites served as the control. Tissue sections were evaluated by light microscopy and transmission electron microscopy at 7 days, 1 month, and 3 months after transplantation, corresponding to 21 days, 45 days, and 3 months after debridement, respectively.
results. When analyzed at 7 days after transplantation, short buds of inner segment with regularly organized outer nuclear layer were observed. The outer segments (OS) were of insufficient length to be observed, but by 1 and 3 months, a significant elongation of the OS was detected. In control retinas from 21 days (corresponding to 7 days after transplantation) to 3 months after RPE debridement, the outer nuclear layer cells were disorganized and diminished.
conclusions. This study showed that autologous RPE and partial-thickness choroid graft have the capacity not only to support photoreceptor cell survival, but also to initiate early repair mechanisms, as exhibited by outer segment regeneration.
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