Programm                 "Degeneration und Regeneration– Grundlagen, Diagnostik und Therapie"


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Abstract
Abstract

Stem Cell Transplants in the Retina: from Mice to Pigs

Young M.
Schepens Eye Research Institute, Department of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School, Boston/USA

Transplantation of neuronal tissue to the CNS represents a promising, albeit challenging, approach to replacement of neurons lost due to injury or disease. Recent studies have suggested that transplantation of CNS-derived progenitor cells may have the capacity to restore function to damaged areas of the nervous system, including the retina. I shall describe studies in which we have grafted progenitor cells from the brain and retina to various sites in the body. The results of these studies demonstrate that:
1) CNS progenitor cells are inherently immune privileged, as they survive for extended periods when grafted to conventional allogeneic sites;
2) Brain-derived progenitor cells can differentiate into retinal neurons only under extreme experimental conditions (e.g. early development);
and 3) Retinal-derived progenitor cells have the capacity to differentiate into retinal neurons both in vivo and in vitro, with the mature, diseased subretinal space inducing photoreceptor cell differentiation. These studies offer insight into the rules that govern progenitor cell engraftment and differentiation, allowing us to develop strategies aimed at cell replacement in the diseased CNS.


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