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Photoreceptor replacement therapy for degenerative retinal disease

Embryonic stem cell (ESC)-derived photoreceptors could help treat degenerative retinal diseases. In an adapted 3D culture system, mouse ESCs differentiated into photoreceptor-expressing rod precursor cells. In three mouse models of retinal degeneration, subretinal injection of 200,000 rod precursors resulted in the integration of approximately 25,000 morphologically normal rod photoreceptors that responded to metabotropic glutamate receptor subtype 8 (mGluR8; GRM8) agonists and antagonists in a manner comparable to that of
wild-type photoreceptors. This number of integrated photoreceptors was insufficient to yield electroretinographic responses. Next steps could include improving the efficiency of integration.

SciBX 6(33); doi:10.1038/scibx.2013.912
Published online Aug. 29, 2013

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Gonzalez-Cordero, A. et al. Nat. Biotechnol.; published online July 21, 2013;
Contact: Robin R. Ali, Institute of Ophthalmology, University College London, London, U.K.