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Yuntao Hu, Alejandra Gonzalez, Laura Liu, Barbara R. Evans, Elias Greenbaum, Robert Chow, Biju B. Thomas, Mark S. Humayun; Evaluation of Safety and Efficacy of Photosystem I Proteoliposome Subretinal Injection in Retinal Degenerate Rats. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2011;52(14):425.
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Photosystem I (PS-1) is a membrane protein complex that catalyzes sunlight-driven transmembrane electron transfer as part of the photosynthetic process. Previously it was demonstrated that light stimulation led to increase in intracellular calcium concentrations (suggestive of neuronal activation) in retinal ganglion cells following incubation with PS-1 proteoliposomes. The purpose of this study is to assess the morphological and functional changes due to subretinal PS-1 proteoliposome injection in a retinal degenerate rat model, the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) rats.
Dystrophic RCS rats (n=6) without any visual sensitivity ( >6 months old) were used for subretinal injection of PS-1 proteoliposomes (30 µl/eye). The fellow (non-injected) eye served as the control. One week after injection, ophthalmic examinations were performed based on fundus photography. Visual functional evaluations were performed using a computer-based optokinetic instrument equipped with a red filter. All animals were sacrificed at 30 days after injection and both eyes were subjected to histological examination using hematoxylin & eosin staining.
Based on ophthalmic examinations, no apparent differences were observed between the injected and the control (non-injected) eyes. Safety of PS-1 proteoliposome injections in the rat’s eye was confirmed based on the histological examinations. Optokinetic behavioral assays demonstrated restoration of visual head-tracking response in two rats (2/6) only in the PS-1 injected eye.
No signs of complications were observed in rats subsequent to subretinal injection of PS-1 proteoliposomes. Restoration of optokinetic head-tracking response in the PS-1 injected eyes suggest that PS-1 proteoliposomes have the potential to be used as a treatment strategy for vision restoration in blind human subjects.
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