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Z. Q. Yin, C. Tian, T. Zhao; Müller Cells Play a Key Role in Maintaining a Functional Retina After Stem Cell Transplantation in Rcs Rats. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2010;51(13):4059.
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Retinal degeneration is a leading cause of blindness worldwide, and currently there is no practical clinical treatment. Stem cell-based therapy offers a novel therapeutic approach for the treatment of retinal degeneration. This study was to evaluate whether Müller cells are potential progenitor cells in a chronic retinal degeneration model (RCS rats) and in rats with subretinal stem cell (rSC) transplants.
The morphology of Müller cell in a RCS rats and in rats with rSC transplants was showed by immunohischemistry with anti-bodies to Chx10 (progenitor marker), vimentin (Müller cell marker) and opsin (photoreceptor cell marker).The function of retina in a RCS rats and in rats with rSC transplants was evaluated by electroretinaogram.
We found that some cells in retina co-expressed anti-bodies to Chx10 and vimentin in a RCS rats and in rats with rSC transplants. The number of Chx10-vimentin positive cells (dedifferentiated Müller cells) significantly increased after rSC transplantation in the graft region (temporal retina) as well as nasal retina. In addition, some Müller cells co-express photoreceptor cell markers. Electroretinaogram analysis showed that retinal function was significantly prolonged after transplants.
Müller cells play a key role in restoring/maintaining retinal function in cell based treatments of degeneration. Investigation of the relationship between Müller cell dedifferentiation and functional recovery may lead to new treatments for retinal diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa.
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