Induction of epithelial progenitors in vitro from mouse embryonic stem cells and application for reconstruction of damaged cornea in mice.
ABSTRACT Severe ocular surface diseases and injuries cause loss of the corneal limbal epithelium, leading to re-epithelialization by bulbar conjunctival cells, resulting in vascularization of the cornea, conjunctival scarring, and loss of visual acuity. In this study, the optimal culture condition for induction of differentiation of epithelial progenitor cells from embryonic stem (ES) cells was determined for use in transplantation to damaged cornea in mice.
Mouse ES cells were cultured on Petri dishes coated with several extracellular matrix proteins, and the markers for epithelial cells were analyzed with RT-PCR and Western blot analysis. The optimal condition for induction of epithelial progenitor cells was determined, and the progenitors were transplanted onto mouse eyes with corneal epithelia that had been damaged by exposure to n-heptanol.
Epithelial progenitors were successfully induced by culturing mouse ES cells on type IV collagen for 8 days. These progenitors expressed keratin (K)12, which is specific to corneal epithelial cells, and cell surface CD44 and E-cadherin, both of which are essential in corneal epithelial wound healing. Complete re-epithelialization of the corneal surface occurred within 24 hours after transplantation. The resultant corneal epithelial cells expressed markers of the grafted cells, and no teratomata were observed during the follow-up period.
Epithelial progenitors were successfully induced in vitro from ES cells and were applicable as grafts for treating corneal epithelial injury. ES cells may become an unlimited donor source of corneal epithelial cells for corneal transplantation and may restore useful vision in patients with a deficiency of limbal epithelial cells. This is an important first trial toward assessing the use of ES cells to reconstruct corneal epithelial cells.
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ABSTRACT: The first example of cell therapy using cultured stem cells dates back to 1981, when it was demonstrated that human epidermis could be grown in the laboratory and transplanted onto burnt patients to reconstitute a functional epidermis [Green H, Kehinde O, Thomas J. Growth of cultured human epidermal cells into multiple epithelia suitable for grafting. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 1979;76(11):5665-8; Banks-Schlegel S, Kehinde O, Green H. Grafting of burns with cultured epithelium prepared from autologous epidermal cells. Lancet 1981;1:75-8; Gallico 3rd GG, O'Connor NEMJ, Compton CC, Kehinde O, Green H. Permanent coverage of large burn wounds with autologous cultured human epithelium. N Engl J Med 1984;311(7):448-51]. This was the onset of regenerative medicine, which is now being developed also in many other fields including ophthalmology. Emerging cell therapies for the restoration of sight have focused on two areas of the eye that are critical for visual function, the cornea and the retina. The relatively easy access of the cornea, the homogeneity of the cells forming the different layers of the corneal epithelium and the improvement of cell culture protocols are leading to considerable success in corneal epithelium restoration. Rebuilding the entire cornea is however still far from reality. The restoration of the retina has recently been achieved in different animal models of retinal degeneration using immature photoreceptors, and two other promising strategies have been demonstrated: transplantation of endothelial precursors to rescue retinal vessels and neurons, and transplantation of retinal pigmented epithelial cells to preserve vision over the long term. The relevance of these approaches will be discussed in function of the disease targeted.Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology 01/2008; 18(6):805-18. · 6.65 Impact Factor