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Chondroitinase ABC Treatment Enhances Synaptogenesis Between Transplant and Host Neurons in Model of Retinal Degeneration

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Although recent studies revealed chondroitinase ABC (ChABC), an enzyme that degrades chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans, promotes CNS regeneration in vivo, the usefulness of its application for transplantation is not clear. We investigated if treatment with ChABC can promote synapse formation between graft and host neurons following retinal transplantation. Dissociated retinal cells were prepared from neonatal Nrl-GFP transgenic mice in which rod photoreceptors and their progenitor cells are labeled with GFP. Each cell suspension with or without ChABC (Nrl/ChABC group and Nrl group, respectively) was injected subretinally into the eyes of mice following chemically induced photoreceptor degeneration. The survival and functional integration of the transplanted photoreceptors were examined by histologically and electrophysiologically. Up to 4 weeks after transplantation, almost all the grafted GFP+ photoreceptor cells were widely distributed at the outer margin of the host retina where the photoreceptor layer was located originally. In the Nrl/ChABC group, 33.6% of the GFP+ photoreceptors elaborated neurites horizontally or vertically, and 4.6% elaborated neurites toward the retina. These neurites extended over the glial seal at the graft–host interface, and established synaptic contacts with neurons in the host retina as determined by confocal microscopy and three-dimensional analysis. Although 30.7% cells (p = 0.68) elaborated neurites in the Nrl group, only 1.2% cells (p < 0.05) projected neurites towards the host tissue and synaptic contacts were rare. Our results illustrate the potential utility of ChABC for enhancing synaptogenesis between transplanted neurons and host retina.

Keywords: Chondoritinase ABC; Glial scar; Remodeling; Retinal degeneration; Retinal transplantation; Synaptogenesis

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Opthalmology and Visual Sciences, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan 2: Department of Experimental Therapeutics, Translational Research Center, Kyoto University Hospital, Kyoto, Japan 3: Department of Biophysics, Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan 4: Department of Ophthalmology, Nagahama City Hospital, Nagahama, Shiga, Japan 5: Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences, W.K. Kellogg Eye Center, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA, Department of Human Genetics, W.K. Kellogg Eye Center, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA

Publication date: May 1, 2007

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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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