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Peter Gouras, Jian Kong, Stephen H. Tsang; Retinal Degeneration and RPE Transplantation in Rpe65−/− Mice. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2002;43(10):3307-3311.
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purpose. To determine whether transplanting normal retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) into the subretinal space influences photoreceptor function and degeneration in Rpe65−/− mice.
methods. RPE cells were isolated from eyes of normal mice and transplanted to the subretinal space of one eye of Rpe65−/− mice. The other eye received a subretinal injection of saline or was not touched. Corneal electroretinograms (ERGs) from both eyes were monitored before and after surgery to follow progression of the degeneration. The width of the outer nuclear layer was measured in the area of transplantation and compared with a similar area in control retinas.
results. Transplantation of RPE increased ERG amplitude maximally at 3.7 weeks after surgery. This rescue effect slowly diminished with time. Sham surgery had little effect on the ERG. The width of the outer nuclear layer in the area receiving RPE transplants was slightly greater than in control subjects. Evidence of the presence of RPE transplants in the subretinal space decreased with time after transplantation without signs of inflammation.
conclusions. Retinal degeneration in the Rpe65−/− mice is slowly progressive. Photoreceptor function can be transiently increased for several months and anatomic degeneration slightly reduced in Rpe65−/− mice by RPE cell transplantation. Loss of the rescue effect may be due to degeneration of the transplanted RPE.
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