PURPOSE. To determine whether hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSCs/HPCs) can home to and regenerate the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) after induced injury. METHODS. Enriched HSCs/HPCs from green fluorescent protein (gfp) transgenic mice were transplanted into irradiated recipient mice to track bone marrow-derived cells. Physical damage was induced by breaching Bruch's membrane and inducing vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGFa) expression to promote neovascularization. RPE damage was also induced by sodium iodate injection (40 mg/kg) into wild-type or albino C57Bl/6 mice. Cell morphology, gfp expression, the presence of the Y chromosome, and the presence of melanosomes were used to determine whether the injured RPE was being repaired by the donor bone marrow. RESULTS. Injury to the RPE recruits HSC/HPC-derived cells to incorporate into the RPE layer and differentiate into an RPE phenotype. A portion of the HSCs/HPCs adopt RPE morphology, express melanosomes, and integrate into the RPE without cell fusion. CONCLUSIONS. HSCs/HPCs can migrate to the RPE layer after physical or chemical injury and regenerate a portion of the damaged cell layer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sensory Systems
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience