Retinal transplants may help restore sight

November 8, 2006

British scientists have discovered non-dividing retinal cells implanted into adult mouse retina can generate new photoreceptors.

The University College London researchers say their finding suggests a possible way to regenerate photoreceptors lost from many forms of blindness.

Previously, stem cells transplanted into the adult retina have not integrated correctly and it was thought the retinal environment inhibits regeneration.

Robin Ali and colleagues at UCL's Institute of Ophthalmology extracted immature retinal cells from newborn mice at a time when many rod photoreceptors are normally being generated, and transplanted them into adult mouse retinas.

The scientists found the cells differentiated into rods, formed synaptic connections and, when transplanted into certain mouse models of inherited retinal degeneration, improved the animals' response to light.

Surprisingly, they found that this was possible only using rod precursor cells during a specific time window of development, when they have stopped dividing rather than proliferating stem cells.

The results, say the researchers, suggest precursor cells grown from human adult or embryonic stem cells might also serve to restore sight, and challenge the assumption that stem cells offer the best prospect for tissue repair.

The study appears in the journal Nature.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Scientists find that stem cell exosomes promote survival of retinal ganglion cells in rats

Related Stories

Mixed results for stem cell treatments of AMD

March 16, 2017

(HealthDay)—Stem cells may offer new hope for patients with age-related macular degeneration, but that promise can come with some risks, according to research published in the March 17 issue of the New England Journal of ...

Genome surgery with CRISPR-Cas9 to prevent blindness

February 16, 2017

It is estimated that almost one in every ten people over 65 has some signs of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and its prevalence is likely to increase as a consequence of the aging population. AMD is a form of blindness, ...

Recommended for you

Macrophages shown to be essential to a healthy heart rhythm

April 20, 2017

A Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)-led research team has identified a surprising new role for macrophages, the white blood cells primarily known for removing pathogens, cellular debris and other unwanted materials. In ...

Gut bacteria affect ageing

April 19, 2017

It loses its pigments, its motor skills and mental faculties decline, it gets cancer – the turquoise killifish (Nothobranchius furzeri) struggles with the same signs of old age that affect many other living creatures. Researchers ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.