Research press release


Nature Communications

Neuroscience: Re-evaluation of how retinal function can be restored



このほどRachael PearsonたちのグループとMarius Aderたちのグループによる別々の研究で、マウスを使った視細胞移植実験が行われ、その際にドナーの視細胞と宿主の視細胞が異なる色の蛍光タンパク質で遺伝的に標識された。その結果、ドナーの標識が宿主の外顆粒層の視細胞で見つかったが、その後行われた個々の移植細胞を可視化する実験では、移植細胞からドナーの細胞核物質の証拠は見つからず、完全な細胞融合があったことを示す証拠も見つからなかった。両研究グループは、宿主の視細胞が残っている網膜への視細胞の移植が成功した主たる原因はドナーと宿主の視細胞の間で細胞質物質が移動したことだと考えられると結論づけている。


The transfer of intracellular (cytoplasmic) material, as opposed to integration of entire photoreceptor cells, may have a major role in rescuing vision in mice, suggest two separate studies in Nature Communications.

Loss of photoreceptors - rod- and cone-shaped cells that respond to light - results in permanent loss of vision in several retinal diseases. In some instances of photoreceptor degeneration, the inner retinal circuitry remains intact, and in these cases replacement of the photoreceptors in the outer nuclear layer of the retina is needed to restore vision. Previous studies showed that transplantation of rod or cone-like precursor cells in adult mice with degenerating retina improved visual function. However, it was generally assumed that during transplantation of photoreceptors, whole donor photoreceptor cells become integrated into the host retina.

In two separate studies, Rachael Pearson and colleagues and Marius Ader and colleagues genetically labelled host and donor cells with different coloured fluorescent proteins in mice that underwent photoreceptor transplantation. Although the donor label was found in photoreceptors located in the host outer nuclear layer, further experiments to visualise individually transplanted cells did not find evidence for donor nuclear material in these cells or evidence for complete cell fusion. Both groups conclude that the success of photoreceptor transplantation in retinas where some host photoreceptors remain may, in large part, be due to transfer of cellular cytoplasmic material between donor and host photoreceptors.

Although only shown in mice, the finding that cytoplasmic material may be sufficient to mediate transplantation sucess could change current understanding of retinal regeneration.

doi: 10.1038/ncomms13029

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