Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New stem cell approach for blindness successful in mice

Date:
January 7, 2013
Source:
University of Oxford
Summary:
Blind mice can see again, after researchers transplanted developing cells into their eyes and found they could re-form the entire light-sensitive layer of the retina.

Cells which have re-formed the light sensitive layer of the retina are shown in green.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Oxford

Blind mice can see again, after Oxford University researchers transplanted developing cells into their eyes and found they could re-form the entire light-sensitive layer of the retina.

Videos show the nocturnal mice, which once didn't notice the difference between light and dark at all, now run from the light and prefer to be in the dark -- just like mice with normal vision.

The researchers say the approach has relevance for treating patients with retinitis pigmentosa, a condition in which the light-sensing cells in the retina gradually die leading to progressive blindness.

The study was led by Professor Robert MacLaren in the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Oxford, together with Dr Mandeep Singh, an eye surgeon from the National University Hospital of Singapore who is currently undertaking PhD studies in Oxford. The findings are published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The researchers worked with mice that are blind due to complete loss of the light-sensing photoreceptor cells in their retinas. This is the most relevant mouse model for treating patients who are blind from retinitis pigmentosa.

After two weeks, the researchers showed the cells transplanted into the eye had re-formed a full light-detecting layer on the retina and the mice could see.

The cells used were mouse 'precursor' cells that are on an initial path towards developing into retinal cells.

A pupil constriction test showed that, of the 12 mice that received the cell transplant, 10 showed improved pupil constriction in response to light. This shows that the retinas of the mice were sensing the light once more, and this was being transmitted down the optic nerve to the brain.

Dr Singh says: 'We found that if enough cells are transplanted together, they not only become light sensing but they also regenerate the connections required for meaningful vision.'

Professor MacLaren explains: 'Stem cells have been trialled in patients to replace the pigmented lining of the retina, but this new research shows that the light-sensing layer might also be replaced in a similar way. The light-sensing cells have a highly complex structure and we observed that they can resume function as a layer and restore connections after transplantation into the completely blind retina.'

In looking forward towards potential cell treatments for blindness in humans, Professor MacLaren explains that they would like to use induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells. These are stem cells that have been generated from the patient's own cells, such as skin or blood cells, and can then be directed to form precursors of the retina cells.

Professor MacLaren says that this has been achieved by others: 'All the steps are there for doing this in patients in the future.' The next step is to find a reliable source of cells in patients that can provide the stem cells for use in such transplants, he says.

While these are more long-term developments to work towards, Professor MacLaren says 'Our study shows what we could achieve with a cell-based approach.'

'We have shown the transplanted cells survive, they become light-sensitive, and they connect and reform the wiring to the rest of the retina to restore vision,' he says. 'The ability to reconstruct the entire light sensitive layer of the retina using cell transplantation is the ultimate goal of the stem cell treatments for blindness we are all working towards.'


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Oxford. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Mandeep S. Singh, Peter Charbel Issa, Rachel Butler, Chris Martin, Daniel M. Lipinski, Sumathi Sekaran, Alun R. Barnard, and Robert E. MacLaren. Reversal of end-stage retinal degeneration and restoration of visual function by photoreceptor transplantation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2013; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1119416110

Cite This Page:

University of Oxford. "New stem cell approach for blindness successful in mice." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 January 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130107160413.htm>.
University of Oxford. (2013, January 7). New stem cell approach for blindness successful in mice. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130107160413.htm
University of Oxford. "New stem cell approach for blindness successful in mice." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130107160413.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) Liberia's finance minister is urging the international community to quickly follow through on pledges of cash to battle Ebola. Bodies are piling up in the capital Monrovia as the nation awaits more help. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) A Florida doctor who helped fight the expanding Ebola outbreak in West Africa says the disease can be stopped, but only if nations quickly step up their response and make border control a priority. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Newsy (Sep. 21, 2014) More than 100 tons of medical supplies were sent to West Africa on Saturday, but aid workers say the global response is still sluggish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins