Research Papers:

Features specific to retinal pigment epithelium cells derived from three-dimensional human embryonic stem cell cultures — a new donor for cell therapy

Wei Wu, Yuxiao Zeng, Zhengya Li, Qiyou Li, Haiwei Xu and Zheng Qin Yin _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:22819-22833. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.8185

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Wei Wu1,2,*, Yuxiao Zeng1,2,*, Zhengya Li1,2, Qiyou Li1,2, Haiwei Xu1,2, Zheng Qin Yin1,2

1Southwest Hospital/Southwest Eye Hospital, Third Military Medical University, Chongqing 400038, China

2Key Laboratory of Visual Damage and Regeneration and Restoration of Chongqing, Chongqing 400038, China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Zheng Qin Yin, e-mail: [email protected]

Haiwei Xu, e-mail: [email protected]

Keywords: retinal pigment epithelium cells, human embryonic stem cells, three-dimensional cultures, retinal degenerative diseases, cell therapy

Received: November 17, 2015     Accepted: February 18, 2016     Published: March 18, 2016


Retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) transplantation is a particularly promising treatment of retinal degenerative diseases affecting RPE-photoreceptor complex. Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) provide an abundant donor source for RPE transplantation. Herein, we studied the time-course characteristics of RPE cells derived from three-dimensional human ESCs cultures (3D-RPE). We showed that 3D-RPE cells possessed morphology, ultrastructure, gene expression profile, and functions of authentic RPE. As differentiation proceeded, 3D-RPE cells could mature gradually with decreasing proliferation but increasing functions. Besides, 3D-RPE cells could form polarized monolayer with functional tight junction and gap junction. When grafted into the subretinal space of Royal College of Surgeons rats, 3D-RPE cells were safe and efficient to rescue retinal degeneration. This study showed that 3D-RPE cells were a new donor for cell therapy of retinal degenerative diseases.

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