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D N Hu, R Ritch, S A McCormick, K Pelton-Henrion; Isolation and cultivation of human iris pigment epithelium.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 1992;33(8):2443-2453.
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There have been very few attempts to isolate and culture human iris pigment epithelium (IPE). Earlier efforts that used whole iris explant methods did not achieve pure cultures of IPE. We have developed methods for separating the IPE from the iris stroma of post-mortem eyes that avoid contamination by other cell types. Three different isolation methods were studied: direct dissection, enzyme digestion, and enzyme-assisted microdissection. The latter method yielded the best results. After treatment with enzyme solution, the IPE was easily separated from the stroma under the stereomicroscope and subsequently cultured with supplemented F12 medium. With this method, approximately 2.3 x 10(5) cells were isolated from each iris with an average viability of 90.2%. IPE cells isolated from 19 of 24 eyes grew to confluence in primary culture. The IPE could be maintained in pure culture for many generations over several months with up to 20 population doublings. Cultured IPE demonstrated cytokeratin and S-100 protein by immunocytochemistry. Some of these cells also displayed desmin, indicating origin from the anterior IPE. Cultured IPE cells retained most of the characteristics of IPE in vivo, such as apical/basal polarization, microvilli, and many cell junctions. Gradual dilution of pigment occurred in the dividing IPE cells, suggesting an inability to produce melanin in vitro. A subpopulation of the IPE cells contained myofilaments by electron microscopy, also indicating a anterior IPE origin. This method provides a source for large numbers of human IPE cells and could be useful in studies of the biology of IPE and the role of IPE in pathogenesis of several eye diseases, most notably exfoliation syndrome and its associated glaucomas.
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