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Keywords:

  • blood–retina barrier;
  • cell integration;
  • cell migration;
  • cell survival;
  • stem-cell therapy;
  • Xenotransplantation

Abstract

Background

Novel threads of discovery provide the basis for optimism for the development of a stem-cell-based strategy for the treatment of retinal blindness. Accordingly, achievement to suitable cell source with potential-to-long-term survival and appropriate differentiation can be an effective step in this direction.

Methods

After derivation of human adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (HAD-MSCs), they were stably transfected with a vector containing Turbo-green fluorescent protein (GFP) and JRed to be able to trace them after transplantation. Labeled HAD-MSCs were transplanted into the intact adult rat eye and their survival, integration, and migration during 6 months post-transplantation were assessed.

Results

The transplanted cells were traceable in the rat vitreous humor (VH) up until 90 days after transplantation, with gradual reduction in numbers, their adhesion and expansion capacity after recovery. These cells were also integrated into the ocular tissues. Nonetheless, some of the implanted cells succeeded to cross the blood–retina barrier (BRB) and accumulate in the spleen with time.

Conclusions

The survival of the HAD-MSCs for a period of 90 days in VH and even longer period of up to 6 months in other eye tissues makes them a promising source to be considered in regenerative medicine of eye diseases. However, the potency of crossing the BRB by the implanted cells suggests that use of HAD-MSCs must be handled with extreme caution.