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L. Gao, M. Kucia, M. Ratajczak, D. Dean, H. Kaplan, V. Enzmann; Very Small Embryonic-Like Cells (VSELs) - A New Type of Ocular Stem Cell?. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2007;48(13):4084.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
To investigate the presence of very small embryonic-like cells (VSELs) in the mouse retina and if there are differences during development of the retina.
Single cells were isolated from both the neurosensory retina (NSR) and retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) from newborn and 3-week-old C57BL/6 adult mice. The tissues were enzymatically digested using papain dissociation system, for the NSR, and dispase + trypsin, for the RPE. Small sized (2~6µm) Sca1+Lin- CD45- cells were sorted by FACS and the expression of embryonic stem cell markers (i.e. Nanog, Rex1, Rif1, Dppa1, Utf1, Tdgf1) was analyzed by real-time PCR. These cells meet the criteria for VSELs.
We found small size (2~6 µm) Sca1+Lin- CD45- cells in both the NSR and RPE from new-born C57BL/6 mice, but mainly in the RPE of 3-week-old C57BL/6 adult mice. The number of these VSELs cells was significantly higher in Sca-1+Lin-CD45- population than in Sca-1- Lin- CD45- cells. The expression of embryonic cell markers on the Sca-1+Lin- CD45- cells is similar to VSELs identified in adult mouse bone marrow. Additionally, purified Sca1+Lin- CD45- cells from the retina expressed Oct-4 mRNA using One Step RT-PCR.
We have identified VSELs in the developing mouse retina both in the NSR and RPE. VSELs appear to become restrict to the RPE by 3 weeks of age. The latter may serve as resource pool for stem cells in the adult eye and be useful for cell replacement therapy in the ocular disease.
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