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A D Seaton, J E Turner; RPE transplants stabilize retinal vasculature and prevent neovascularization in the RCS rat.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 1992;33(1):83-91. doi: https://doi.org/.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Previous reports indicate that in the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) rat a decline in the retinal vessel density accompanies the loss of the normal architecture of the deep bed. This begins at about three months with neovascularization that originates in the deep vessel bed and develops in the direction of the retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells by four months. A surgical technique has been developed recently for the transplantation of healthy RPE cells into the subretinal space of the RCS rat, resulting in the rescue of photoreceptor cells. This permits evaluation of the possibility that such transplants also protect the retinal vessels. We report for the first time: (1) the stabilization of the normal retinal vasculature by maintenance of the density and architecture of the deep vessel bed; and (2) prevention of neovascularization of the RPE by the surgical transplantation of healthy RPE cells into the subretinal space of the RCS rat. More specifically, we show a maintenance of the deep vessel bed density under the transplant in contrast to a significant reduction in the vessel density that had taken place in corresponding areas in nongrafted and sham injected controls at four months of age. The vessel density in the transplanted group is statistically different from the nongrafted and the sham injected groups. We also report a significant decline in the number of neovascularization profiles around the transplant site of the RPE-grafted RCS retina. We also note that the pathological changes in the vasculature of the RCS rat occur in a predictable central to peripheral gradient.
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