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Subretinally Transplanted Embryonic Stem Cells Rescue Photoreceptor Cells From Degeneration in the RCS Rats

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Abstract:

The Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) rat is an animal model for retinal degeneration such as the age-related macular degeneration. The RCS rat undergoes a progressive retinal degeneration during the early postnatal period. A potential treatment to prevent this retinal degeneration is the transplantation into the subretinal space of cells that would replace functions of the degenerating retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells or may form neurotrophic factors. In this study we have investigated the potential of subretinally transplanted embryonic stem cells to prevent the genetically determined photoreceptor cell degeneration in the RCS rat. Embryonic stem cells from the inner cell mass of the mouse blastocyst were allowed to differentiate to neural precursor cells in vitro and were then transplanted into the subretinal space of 20-day-old RCS rats. Transplanted and sham-operated rats were sacrificed 2 months following cell transplantation. The eyes were enucleated and photoreceptor degeneration was quantified by analyzing and determining the thickness of the outer nuclear layer by light and electron microscopy. In the eyes transplanted with embryonic cells up to 8 rows of photoreceptor cell nuclei were observed, whereas in nontreated control eyes the outer nuclear layer had degenerated completely. Transplantation of embryonic stem cells appears to delay photoreceptor cell degeneration in RCS rats.

Keywords: Key words: Electron microscopy; RCS rat; Stem cell

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3727/000000001783986215

Affiliations: *Department of Vitreoretinal Surgery, University of Cologne, Joseph Stelzmann Str. 9, 50931 Cologne, Germany

Publication date: 2001-08-01

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  • Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.
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