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S. K. Mistry, N. Bischoff, D. J. Messina, I. R. Harris, S. Wang, L. Bin, S. Girman, R. D. Lund; Long Term Rescue Effect of Cells Isolated From Umbilical Cord Tissue in a Rodent Model of Retinal Disease. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2007;48(13):4099.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Photoreceptor degeneration resulting from genetic and other factors is a leading cause of blindness worldwide. Previously we demonstrated that cells derived from human umbilical cord tissue (hUTC) rescue photoreceptors up to 80 days post-cell injection when injected into the subretinal space of 21 day old RCS rats (P21). This study investigated the long-term effect of hUTC cells on visual function in RCS rats following subretinal or intravitreal administration in the presence or absence of immunosuppression.
hUTC were expanded in culture for 10 passages prior to freezing. Thawed cells were injected into animals at P21. Visual function was assessed up to P180 via optomotor and luminance threshold testing and anatomic evaluations of the retina were conducted at P180-P200.
Visual function testing demonstrated that hUTC injected RCS rats preserved optomotor and luminance threshold responses unlike vehicle or untreated controls at P180. Preservation of visual function with hUTC was observed in both cyclosporine and non cyclosporine treated groups. Anatomical evaluations demonstrated that donor cells survived for at least 3 months, with substantial photoreceptor rescue being observed. At P180, no donor cells were detected, but functional rescue and photoreceptor preservation were apparent.
hUTC injections rescue photoreceptors and visual function for up to 6 months even in the absence of immunosupression via subretinal and intravitreal administration in RCS rats. The demonstration that hUTC were effective not only after subretinal injection but also via intravitreal delivery, suggests that rescue may also be achieved through diffusible factors. Thus, hUTC may provide utility as a cell source for the treatment of retinal degenerative diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa.
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