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M S Silverman, S E Hughes; Transplantation of photoreceptors to light-damaged retina.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 1989;30(8):1684-1690.
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We investigated the possibility of reconstructing light-damaged retinas by photoreceptor transplantation. The outer nuclear layer containing the photoreceptor cells was eliminated in adult albino rat retinas by exposure to constant high-level illumination. Photoreceptors for transplantation were harvested from neonatal rats using a novel isolation technique that maintained the cellular organization of the outer nuclear layer. Transplantation was accomplished using a transcorneal approach to the subretinal space, which minimized trauma to the eye. The retina reattached to the back of the eye with transplanted photoreceptors interposed between the retina and the overlying tissues. Prelabelling with fluorescent dye enabled positive identification of the transplanted cells. The transplanted photoreceptors appeared to survive transplantation for at least 6 weeks and were immunohistochemically reactive for opsin. The antibody staining for opsin identifies the transplanted cells as photoreceptors and indicates that they are still capable of producing visual pigment and therefore may have the capacity to transduce light. These findings indicate that photoreceptors can be transplanted to form a new outer nuclear layer in a damaged mature retina.
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