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Open Access Application of Human Persistent Fetal Vasculature Neural Progenitors for Transplantation in the Inner Retina

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Persistent fetal vasculature (PFV) is a potentially serious developmental anomaly in human eyes, which results from a failure of the primary vitreous and the hyaloid vascular systems to regress during development. Recent findings from our laboratory indicate that fibrovascular membranes harvested from subjects with PFV contain neural progenitor cells (herein called NPPFV cells). Our studies on successful isolation, culture, and characterization of NPPFV cells have shown that they highly express neuronal progenitor markers (nestin, Pax6, and Ki67) as well as retinal neuronal markers (β-III-tubulin and Brn3a). In the presence of retinoic acid and neurotrophins, these cells acquire a neural morphological appearance in vitro, including a round soma and extensive neurites, and express mature neuronal markers (β-III-tubulin and NF200). Further experiments, including real-time qRT-PCR to quantify characteristic gene expression profiles of these cells and Ca2+ imaging to evaluate the response to stimulation with different neurotransmitters, indicate that NPPFV cells may resemble a more advanced stage of retinal development and show more differentiation toward inner retinal neurons rather than photoreceptors. To explore the potential of inner retinal transplantation, NPPFV cells were transplanted intravitreally into the eyes of adult C57BL/6 mice. Engrafted NPPFV cells survived well in the intraocular environment in presence of rapamycin and some cells migrated into the inner nuclear layer of the retina 1 week posttransplantation. Three weeks after transplantation, NPPFV cells were observed to migrate and integrate in the inner retina. In response to daily intraperitoneal injections of retinoic acid, a portion of transplanted NPPFV cells exhibited retinal ganglion cell-like morphology and expressed mature neuronal markers (β-III-tubulin and synaptophysin). These findings indicate that fibrovascular membranes from human PFV harbor a population of neuronal progenitors that may be potential candidates for cell-based therapy for degenerative diseases of the inner retina.
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Keywords: Differentiation; NPPFV (persistent fetal vasculature-derived neural progenitor) cell; Retina; Retinal ganglion cell (RGC); Transplantation

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-12-01

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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.

    Cell Transplantation is now being published by SAGE. Please visit their website for the most recent issues.

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