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Danhong Zhu, Xuemei Deng, Christine Spee, Shozo Sonoda, Chih-Lin Hsieh, Ernesto Barron, Martin Pera, David R. Hinton; Polarized Secretion of PEDF from Human Embryonic Stem Cell–Derived RPE Promotes Retinal Progenitor Cell Survival. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2011;52(3):1573-1585. doi: 10.1167/iovs.10-6413.
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Human embryonic stem cell–derived RPE (hES-RPE) transplantation is a promising therapy for atrophic age-related macular degeneration (AMD); however, future therapeutic approaches may consider co-transplantation of hES-RPE with retinal progenitor cells (RPCs) as a replacement source for lost photoreceptors. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of polarization of hES-RPE monolayers on their ability to promote survival of RPCs.
The hES-3 cell line was used for derivation of RPE. Polarization of hES-RPE was achieved by prolonged growth on permeable inserts. RPCs were isolated from 16- to 18-week-gestation human fetal eyes. ELISA was performed to measure pigment epithelium–derived factor (PEDF) levels from conditioned media.
Pigmented RPE-like cells appeared as early as 4 weeks in culture and were subcultured at 8 weeks. Differentiated hES-RPE had a normal chromosomal karyotype. Phenotypically polarized hES-RPE cells showed expression of RPE-specific genes. Polarized hES-RPE showed prominent expression of PEDF in apical cytoplasm and a marked increase in secretion of PEDF into the medium compared with nonpolarized culture. RPCs grown in the presence of supernatants from polarized hES-RPE showed enhanced survival, which was ablated by the presence of anti-PEDF antibody.
hES-3 cells can be differentiated into functionally polarized hES-RPE cells that exhibit characteristics similar to those of native RPE. On polarization, hES-RPE cells secrete high levels of PEDF that can support RPC survival. These experiments suggest that polarization of hES-RPE would be an important feature for promotion of RPC survival in future cell therapy for atrophic AMD.
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