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P. Montavon, Y. Arsenijevic; Inhibition of Notch Pathway Enhances Photoreceptor Commitment From Cultured Retinal Stem Cells. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2010;51(13):2645.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Consequently to the principle that photoreceptors have to be at a very precise development stage to be successfully transplanted (MacLaren 2006), we are trying to mimic this development stage in vitro using retinal stem cells. The latter one isolated from the newborn mouse retina, derived from the radial glia population, which were previously isolated and characterized in our laboratory. We developed a protocol to commit these cells to the photoreceptor fate, but even if the percentage of cells expressing photoreceptor markers is high (30%), the differentiation process is incomplete so far (Merhi-Soussi 2006).
In order to ameliorate photoreceptor differentiation, we hypothesized that the Notch pathway may interfere with this process by either promoting glia commitment, or maintaining an undifferentiated state. We are thus using a gamma-secretase inhibitor (DAPT), which inhibits Notch receptor cleavage and thus Notch activation. DAPT was used either during the whole differentiation stimulation, or only during a restricted period in two various retinal stem cell lines (RSC AA and RSC MP1).
RT-PCR performed during cell proliferation, showed the same positive expression in both cell lines for the following genes: Math3, Six3, Hes1, NeuroD, Pax6 and Notch1. Additionally, Mash1, Hes5, Prox1, Crx and Otx2 were detected in both cell lines but with a stronger expression in RSC MP1. Opposite results were obtained for Chx10. Nrl, Peripherin/RDS, GFAP and Math5 were detected neither in RSC AA, nor in RSC MP1.The constant presence of DAPT i) leads to a 233% (RSC AA) or 900% (RSC MP1) increase in peripherin/RDS-positive (photoreceptor marker) cells, compared to controls (no DAPT, n=3, P<0.02) along with a 68% (RSC AA) or 80% (RSC MP1) decrease in GFAP- positive cells (n=3, P<0.04), ii) modifies the ratio between uni-/bi- (23%) and multi- (77%) polar peripherin/RDS-positive cells to 45% and 55%, respectively, for both cell lines and iii) reduces by 50% the total cell number during the whole differentiation process for both cell lines.
We are now exploring whether this reduction in total cell number is due to inhibition of cell proliferation or to cell death and whether photoreceptor differentiation is promoted instead of glial induction. We also want to confirm the results obtained with DAPT with RSCs isolated from Notch1-loxP mice. Such protocol may help to better mimic photoreceptor development, but this needs to be confirmed by genomic and proteomic profile analyses.
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