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R. Lund, E. Budko, B. Lu, Y. Sauvé, T.M. Holmes, S. Girman, S. Wang; Assessment of Olfactory Ensheathing Cells as a Cell–Based Therapy to Prevent Photoreceptor Degeneration in the Royal College of Surgeons Rat . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2005;46(13):1653.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Purpose: Olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs) have been shown to be effective in CNS regeneration where they have been used as an alternative to Schwann cells, due to their production of multiple growth factors. We examined the effectiveness of OECs in rescuing photoreceptors using the RCS rat model of retinal degeneration. Methods: Cells were isolated from rat olfactory bulbs according to a protocol for isolating OECs and were injected into the subretinal space of 10 dystrophic RCS rats. Injections were into the right eye with the left eye as an unoperated control; immunosupression was achieved via oral cyclosporine. Visual function was tested with ERG and OptoMotor head tracking at 4 months of age followed by tectal threshold recordings, and finally, anatomical study of both grafted and unoperated eyes. Results: While ERG recordings indicated no difference between both eyes at 3 months of age, OptoMotor results showed 0.341 c/d and 0.265 c/d for treated and untreated dystrophic RCS rats respectively. Tectal recordings showed thresholds around 1 log units over background illumination (0.02 cd/m2) in many penetrations, in contrast to 2.5 log units for most recording sites in untreated eyes. Anatomically, OEC injected eyes had 4–5 layers of rescued photoreceptors covering a large area of the retina compared with a few scattered photoreceptors in untreated eyes. In addition, the inner retinal lamination was well preserved in OEC injected eyes. Conclusions: OEC injection can rescue photoreceptors in the RCS rat and are therefore potential candidates for cell–based therapy for retinal degeneration. The lack of ERG responses with positive responses from the other functional tests suggests that further work is required to characterise the effects of OECs in this model. Anatomical rescue supports the OptoMotor and tectal thresholding results and further anatomical studies will help define the effects of these cells on the inner retina.
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