Author(s): Klassen H, Ziaeian B, Kirov II, Young MJ, Schwartz PH
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Abstract The goal of the present study was threefold: to determine whether viable human retinal progenitor cells (hRPCs) could be obtained from cadaveric retinal tissue, to evaluate marker expression by these cells, and to compare hRPCs to human brain progenitor cells (hBPCs). Retinas were dissected from post-mortem premature infants, enzymatically dissociated, and grown in the presence of epidermal growth factor and basic fibroblast growth factor. The cells grew as suspended spheres or adherent monolayers, depending on culture conditions. Expanded populations were banked or harvested for analysis by RT-PCR, immunocytochemistry, and flow cytometry. hBPCs derived from forebrain specimens from the same donors were grown and used for RT-PCR. Post-mortem human retinal specimens yielded viable cultures that grew to confluence repeatedly, although not beyond 3 months. Cultured hRPCs expressed a range of markers consistent with CNS progenitor cells, including nestin, vimentin, Sox2, Ki-67, GD2 ganglioside, and CD15 (Lewis X), as well as the tetraspanins CD9 and CD81, CD95 (Fas), and MHC class I antigens. No MHC class II expression was detected. hRPCs, but not hBPCs, expressed Dach1, Pax6, Six3, Six6, and recoverin. Minority subpopulations of hRPCs and hBPCs expressed doublecortin, beta-III tubulin, and glial fibrillary acidic protein, which is consistent with increased lineage restriction in subsets of cultured cells. Viable progenitor cells can be cultured from the post-mortem retina of premature infants and exhibit a gene expression profile consistent with immature neuroepithelial cells. hRPCs can be distinguished from hBPC cultures by the expression of retinal specification genes and recoverin. Copyright 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
This article was published in J Neurosci Res
and referenced in Journal of Transplantation Technologies & Research