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Postnatal photoreceptor cells can be integrated into the wild-type adult retina in mice, and retinal transplantation is now one therapeutic option for retinal degenerative diseases when photoreceptor degeneration is the primary cause of the disease. The aim of this study was to specify
the optimal time window during the course of retinal degeneration and to modulate the host and/or graft environment for a successful transplantation. We first studied the background features of the mice with phosphodiesterase 6b (PDE6b) gene mutation (rd; C3H/Hej) and found that the
infiltration of microglia and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) expression once increased at the peak of rod death (∼2‐3 weeks of age) but then reduced for a following period until gliosis began to take place with enhanced GFAP expression (∼8 weeks of age). The postnatal
retinal cells (p4‐p7) were successfully transplanted during this period with neurite extension into the host retina. In later transplantations (6 or 8 weeks of age), graft cells survived better in the presence of chondroitinase ABC (ChABC), which digests chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan
(CSPG), an essential component of gliosis. In contrast, in earlier transplantations (4 weeks of age), graft cells survived better in the presence of valproic acid (VPA), a neural differentiating reagent, or glatiramer acetate, an immune modulator. These suggest that, immediately after the
outer nuclear layer (ONL) degeneration, an inflammatory reaction may be easily induced but the host neurons may be more able to accept donor cells in the presence of neural differentiating factor. These results will help optimize transplantation conditions when we consider clinical application.
Affiliations:Laboratory for Retinal Regeneration, Riken Kobe CDB, Kobe, Hyogo, Japan
Publication date: January 1, 2012
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