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A. W. Stitt, R. J. Medina, C. L. O'Neill, M. W. Humphreys, T. A. Gardiner; Outgrowth Endothelial Cells Potential for Reversing Ischaemic Retinopathy. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2010;51(13):3155.
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The purpose of this study was to isolate endothelial progenitor cells from human peripheral blood, characterise a distinct endothelial progenitor cell population named Outgrowth Endothelial Cells (OECs) and establish their potential as a novel cell therapy for ischaemic retinopathy.
OECs were isolated and characterised using immunophenotyping, genome-wide transcriptional profiling, and multiple in vitro functional assays to assess interaction with retinal capillary endothelial cells and angiogenic activity. OECs were delivered intravitreally in a mouse model of ischaemic retinopathy, and flat mounted retinas were examined using confocal microscopy.
Our data indicate that OECs are committed to an endothelial lineage, have significant proliferative, and de novo tubulogenic potential. Furthermore, OECs are able to closely interact with endothelial cells through adherens and tight junctions, and integrate into retinal vascular networks in vitro. Using a murine model of retinal ischaemia, it is demonstrated that OECs directly incorporate into the resident vasculature, significantly decreasing avascular areas, concomitantly increasing normovascular areas and preventing pathologic pre-retinal neovascularisation.
OECs have potential as therapeutic cells to vascularise the ischaemic retina and prevent sight-threatening pathology.
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