Cell therapy with hiPSC-derived RPE cells and RPCs prevents visual function loss in a rat model of retinal degeneration
Photoreceptor loss is the principal cause of blindness in retinal degenerative diseases (RDDs). Whereas some therapies exist for early stages of RDDs, no effective treatment is currently available for later stages, and once photoreceptors are lost, the only option to rescue vision is cell transplantation. With the use of the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) rat model of retinal degeneration, we sought to determine whether combined transplantation of human-induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)-derived retinal precursor cells (RPCs) and retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells was superior to RPE or RPC transplantation alone in preserving retinal from degeneration. hiPSC-derived RPCs and RPE cells expressing (GFP) were transplanted into the subretinal space of rats. In vivo monitoring showed that grafted cells survived 12 weeks in the subretinal space, and rats treated with RPE + RPC therapy exhibited better conservation of the outer nuclear layer (ONL) and visual response than RPE-treated or RPC-treated rats. Transplanted RPE cells integrated in the host RPE layer, whereas RPC mostly remained in the subretinal space, although a limited number of cells integrated in the ONL. In conclusion, the combined transplantation of hiPSC-derived RPE and RPCs is a potentially superior therapeutic approach to protect retina from degeneration in RDDs.
Cell therapy; Regenerative medicine; Retina degeneration
Salas A, Duarri A, Fontrodona L, Ramírez DM, Badia A, Isla-Magrané H, et al. Cell therapy with hiPSC-derived RPE cells and RPCs prevents visual function loss in a rat model of retinal degeneration. Mol Ther Methods Clin Dev. 2021 Mar 12;20:688–702.
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