Investigating the regenerative and proliferative competencies of human retinal pigment epithelial cells
|Title||Investigating the regenerative and proliferative competencies of human retinal pigment epithelial cells|
|Institution||IMP - Research Institute of Molecular Pathology|
Associated cell lines
Retinal degeneration in its various forms is amongst the leading causes for impaired vision and complete blindness. This debilitating condition severely compromises the quality of life of the affected individuals, directly affecting personal independence and mental health. Some pathologies involve the depletion of retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells during aging, mostly followed by photoreceptor degeneration and loss of sight. Unfortunately, once the human RPE cells are lost due to injury or disease, they fail to regenerate and replenish the damaged structures. To date, most available clinical retinal degenerative therapies are only successful in slowing disease progression but do not restore vision. Thus, there is an urgent need in developing new strategies to counteract the loss of RPE cells and photoreceptors with the overall goal of regaining eyesight. Therefore, we will use an established protocol, in which human embryonic stem cells (hESC) can be differentiated rapidly and reproducibly into RPE cells. The resultant cells express mature RPE cell markers, become post-mitotic and represent an accessible in vitro model for human RPE research. We will use this system as a platform to investigate the regenerative and proliferative capacities of human RPE cells during different stages of their development and maturation.