Stem Cell Res. 2015 May;14(3):243-57. doi: 10.1016/j.scr.2015.02.003. Epub 2015 Feb 24.
Stem cell treatment of degenerative eye disease.
1Neurotrauma Research Group, Neurobiology Section, School of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK; School of Dentistry, University of Birmingham, B4 6NN, UK.
2Neurotrauma Research Group, Neurobiology Section, School of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK.
3School of Dentistry, University of Birmingham, B4 6NN, UK.
Stem cell therapies are being explored extensively as treatments for degenerative eye disease, either for replacing lost neurons, restoring neural circuits or, based on more recent evidence, as paracrine-mediated therapies in which stem cell-derived trophic factors protect compromised endogenous retinal neurons from death and induce the growth of new connections. Retinal progenitor phenotypes induced from embryonic stem cells/induced pluripotent stem cells (ESCs/iPSCs) and endogenous retinal stem cells may replace lost photoreceptors and retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells and restore vision in the diseased eye, whereas treatment of injured retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) has so far been reliant on mesenchymal stem cells (MSC). Here, we review the properties of non-retinal-derived adult stem cells, in particular neural stem cells (NSCs), MSC derived from bone marrow (BMSC), adipose tissues (ADSC) and dental pulp (DPSC), together with ESC/iPSC and discuss and compare their potential advantages as therapies designed to provide trophic support, repair and replacement of retinal neurons, RPE and glia in degenerative retinal diseases. We conclude that ESCs/iPSCs have the potential to replace lost retinal cells, whereas MSC may be a useful source of paracrine factors that protect RGC and stimulate regeneration of their axons in the optic nerve in degenerate eye disease. NSC may have potential as both a source of replacement cells and also as mediators of paracrine treatment.
PLoS One. 2013 May 31;8(5):e65691. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0065691. Print 2013.
Pericytes derived from adipose-derived stem cells protect against retinal vasculopathy.
1Department of Ophthalmology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, United States of America.
Retinal vasculopathies, including diabetic retinopathy (DR), threaten the vision of over 100 million people. Retinal pericytes are critical for microvascular control, supporting retinal endothelial cells via direct contact and paracrine mechanisms. With pericyte death or loss, endothelial dysfunction ensues, resulting in hypoxic insult, pathologic angiogenesis, and ultimately blindness. Adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs) differentiate into pericytes, suggesting they may be useful as a protective and regenerative cellular therapy for retinal vascular disease. In this study, we examine the ability of ASCs to differentiate into pericytes that can stabilize retinal vessels in multiple pre-clinical models of retinal vasculopathy.
We found that ASCs express pericyte-specific markers in vitro. When injected intravitreally into the murine eye subjected to oxygen-induced retinopathy (OIR), ASCs were capable of migrating to and integrating with the retinal vasculature. Integrated ASCs maintained marker expression and pericyte-like morphology in vivo for at least 2 months. ASCs injected after OIR vessel destabilization and ablation enhanced vessel regrowth (16% reduction in avascular area). ASCs injected intravitreally before OIR vessel destabilization prevented retinal capillary dropout (53% reduction). Treatment of ASCs with transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β1) enhanced hASC pericyte function, in a manner similar to native retinal pericytes, with increased marker expression of smooth muscle actin, cellular contractility, endothelial stabilization, and microvascular protection in OIR. Finally, injected ASCs prevented capillary loss in the diabetic retinopathic Akimba mouse (79% reduction 2 months after injection).
ASC-derived pericytes can integrate with retinal vasculature, adopting both pericyte morphology and marker expression, and provide functional vascular protection in multiple murine models of retinal vasculopathy. The pericyte phenotype demonstrated by ASCs is enhanced with TGF-β1 treatment, as seen with native retinal pericytes. ASCs may represent an innovative cellular therapy for protection against and repair of DR and other retinal vascular diseases.