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S. Wang, Y. Sauvé, B. Lu, P.M. Wood, J.M. Lawrence, R.D. Lund; Human Schwann Cell Grafting into the Retina of the Dystrophic RCS Rat Limits Anatomical and Functional Deterioration . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2003;44(13):503.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Purpose: To examine whether human Schwann cells grafted into the subretinal space of dystrophic Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) rats can delay photoreceptor loss and maintain visual function. Methods: Purified human Schwann cells isolated from peripheral nerve roots of adult human organ donors were grafted into the subretinal space of 3week old immune suppressed dystrophic RCS rats. Additional animals received sham surgery. At five months of age, animals were examined for photoreceptor survival using light and electron microscope. Visual function was assessed by dark-adapted corneal electroretinography (ERG) and by recording unit responses to light in the superior colliculus. Results: Well preserved photoreceptors with distinct inner and outer segments were seen in grafted RCS retina. Only isolated photoreceptors were present in sham-operated animals. The best responding animals, assessed by visual threshold responses, had an outer nuclear layer 6 cell deep in some regions. ERG recordings indicated preserved b-wave amplitudes and thresholds not seen in shams. Electrophysiological recordings showed significantly lower thresholds over a large area of visual field with some points comparable to those seen in normal rats. The portion of visual field rescued corresponded well with graft placement and photoreceptor survival. Conclusions: Human Schwann cells grafted into the subretinal space of dystrophic RCS rats can prolong photoreceptor survival and delay functional deterioration. Growth factors produced by the human Schwann cells and known to support photoreceptor survival may be the mechanism of rescue. Schwann cells obtained through University of Miami Organ Procurement Organization.
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