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Caihui Jiang, Caiyun Fu, Guanghua Peng, Zhengqin Yin; Transplantation of c-kit positive / SSEA-1 negative human retinal progenitor cells into the subretinal space of mice. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2014;55(13):1104.
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Many retinal degenerative diseases result in irreversible visual damage due to photoreceptor loss. Cell replacement therapy represents a novel approach for treatment of retinal degenerative diseases, such as retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration. In this study, we assessed the ability of c-kit positive / SSEA-1 negative human retinal progenitor cells (hRPCs) to engraft, survive and differentiate into retinal cells in the mouse retinas with laser injury.
hRPCs were isolated from 12-16 wks gestational age retina. c-kit positive / SSEA-1 negative hRPCs were selected by Fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) and expanded in vitro. Cells were characterized by immunochemistry for expression of retinal progenitor markers. PKH26-labeled c-kit positive / SSEA-1 negative hRPCs in HBSS were transplanted into the subretinal space of mice with retinal laser injury. Mice in control group received subretinal injection of HBSS. Fundus examination and optical coherence tomography (OCT) were performed at various time after transplantation. Mice were sacrificed 3 to 6 weeks after transplantation and eyes were collected for immunohistochemistry study.
At both 3 and 6 weeks after transplantation, the injected c-kit positive / SSEA-1 negative hRPCs were able to engraft, survive and migrate within the mouse retina with laser injruy. Furthermore, most of the integrated cells resided in the outer nuclear layers of the mice. Immunohistochemistry analysis revealed that some transplanted cells co-labeled with human mitochondria and retinal photoreceptor markers rhodopsin and recoverin.
c-kit positive / SSEA-1 negative hRPCs transplanted into the subretinal space of mice with retinal laser injury can migrate, integrate and differentiate into photoreceptors. These results suggest that c-kit positive / SSEA-1 negative hRPCs could be a source for cell replacement therapy for retinal degenerative diseases.
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