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PA Tsonis, K Del Rio-Tsonis; Molecular Aspects in the Induction of Lens and Retina Regeneration . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2002;43(13):2328.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Purpose: Knowing how to induce regeneration of eye tissues, such as lens or retina would be of enormous importance in several diseases. In our lab and for the past few years we have undertaken the task of identifying molecules that are controlling lens or retina regeneration in appropriate animal models. Methods: For lens regeneration we utilize the newt, which is the only vertebrate capable of lens regeneration as an adult. We have established a particular system that allows us to genetically engineer incompetent PECs (for example from the ventral iris) and examine the potential for lens regeneration induction. Likewise we use the chick system to isolate factors involved in retina regeneration either by transdifferentiation of PECs or by neural retina precursor cells. Results: After lentectomy, the lens is regenerated by the transdifferentiation of the pigment epithelial cells (PECs) of the dorsal iris only. Based on that our search has pinpointed several molecules that are specific to dorsal iris. These include pax-6, FGFR-1, prox-1 and six-3. These genes were transfected in ventral PECs and cells were implanted into a lentectomized eye. We will report results on induction of lens differentiation. Obviously, these experiments will lead the way to experiment with animals incapable for lens regeneration. For retina regeneration the factors that are examined include pax-6, Mitf, FGFs and Shh. Conclusion: These type of experiments prove that lens or retina regeneration is possible by genetic manipulation of regeneration-incompetent cells.
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