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Zongyi Li, Juan Wang, Xiujuan Shi, Jieping Zhang, Lixia Lu, Weiye Li, Guo-Tong Xu; Adipose-derived Stem Cells (ADSCs) Delay the Process of Retinal Degeneration in RCS Rats by Anti-apoptotic Mechanisms. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2013;54(15):2220.
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Stem cell therapy is a promising approach for retinal degeneration (RD), a leading cause of blindness in the world. The present study is to investigate the effects of subretinal transplantation of adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs) in RCS rats.
P5 ADSCs that were grown in DMEM/low glucose medium plus 10% FBS and 1% P/S, was labeled with lentivirus-GFP fortransplantation and tracing. Three-week-old Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) rats were divided into three groups (n=4 per group), 0.9% NaCl (sham) group, ADSC group, and RCS control group, respectively. ERG was performed to evaluate the visuall function; and immunofluorescence (IF) was carried out to examine the possible transdifferentiation after transplantation. The thickness of the retinal layers was measured by HE staining. TUNEL and Q-PCR were done to detect the apoptotic markers of the retinal cells.
Compared with sham and RCS rat control groups, an increased expression of the outer nuclear layer (ONL) genes, such as Rho, Crx and OPN1. Meanwhile the decreased expression of pro-apoptosis genes, including Bax, Bak and Caspase 3 , were detected in ADSC treated group in post-transplantational 2w (p<0.05). After posttransplantation 8w, the thickness of the ONL was significantly restored in the central retina and the visual function of the RCS rats was significantly rescured after ADSC treatment. There were fewer apoptotic cells detected by TUNEL in the sites where ADSC was transplanted in RCS. No transdifferentiation of ADSC was observed by IF with specific retina cell type markers.
Subretinal transplantation of ADSC in RCS rats with retinal degeneration can restore visual function and delay neuro-retinal degeneration via its anti-apoptotic function. The ADSC therapy merits further investigation for clinical application for retinal degeneration. These data may provide useful clues to further clinical intervention in RD patients.
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