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Adult Stem Cells, Tools for Repairing the Retina

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Abstract

Purpose of Review

Retinal degenerative diseases lead to the death of retinal neurons causing visual impairment and blindness. In lower order vertebrates, the retina and its surrounding tissue contain stem-cell niches capable of regenerating damaged tissue. Here, we examine these niches and review their capacity to be used as retinal stem/progenitor cells (RSCs/RPCs) for retinal repair.

Recent Findings

Exogenous factors can control the in vitro activation of RSCs/PCs found in several niches within the adult eye including cells in the ciliary margin, the retinal pigment epithelium, iris pigment epithelium, as well as the inducement of Müller and amacrine cells within the neural retina itself. Recently, factors have been identified for the activation of adult mammalian Müller cells to a RPC state in vivo.

Summary

Whereas cell transplantation still holds potential for retinal repair, activation of the dormant native regeneration process may lead to a more successful process including greater integration efficiency and proper synaptic targeting.

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    Correspondence to Karl E. Kador.

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    Aladdad, A.M., Kador, K.E. Adult Stem Cells, Tools for Repairing the Retina. Curr Ophthalmol Rep 7, 21–29 (2019) doi:10.1007/s40135-019-00195-z

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    Keywords

    • Retinal stem cells niche
    • Retinal regeneration
    • Retinal adult stem cells