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Qiuli Fu, Zhenwei Qin, Xiuming Jin, Lifang Zhang, Zhijian Chen, Jiliang He, Junfeng Ji, Ke Yao; Generation of Functional Lentoid Bodies From Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells Derived From Urinary Cells. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2017;58(1):517-527. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.16-20504.
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The pathological mechanisms underlying cataract formation remain largely unknown on account of the lack of appropriate in vitro cellular models. The aim of this study is to develop a stable in vitro system for human lens regeneration using pluripotent stem cells.
Isolated human urinary cells were infected with four Yamanaka factors to generate urinary human induced pluripotent stem cells (UiPSCs), which were induced to differentiate into lens progenitor cells and lentoid bodies (LBs). The expression of lens-specific markers was examined by real-time PCR, immunostaining, and Western blotting. The structure and magnifying ability of LBs were investigated using transmission electron microscopy and observing the magnification of the letter “X,” respectively.
We developed a “fried egg” differentiation method to generate functional LBs from UiPSCs. The UiPSC-derived LBs exhibited crystalline lens-like morphology and a transparent structure and expressed lens-specific markers αA-, αB-, β-, and γ-crystallin and MIP. During LB differentiation, the placodal markers SIX1, EYA1, DLX3, PAX6, and the specific early lens markers SOX1, PROX1, FOXE3, αA-, and αB-crystallin were observed at certain time points. Microscopic examination revealed the presence of lens epithelial cells adjacent to the lens capsule as well as both immature and mature fiber-like cells. Optical analysis further demonstrated the magnifying ability (1.7×) of the LBs generated from UiPSCs.
Our study provides the first evidence toward generating functional LBs from UiPSCs, thereby establishing an in vitro system that can be used to study human lens development and cataractogenesis and perhaps even be useful for drug screening.
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