The broad, long-term objectives are to develop retinal transplantation models for saving or restoring retinal function and to learn more about basic principles underlying CNS and retinal development and regeneration, both of which may have clinical applications in the years ahead. Since retina-to-retina grafting is a new research field, the factors that influence graft differentiation and the extent of graft/host integration and function are poorly understood. The currently used transplantation method grafting retinal tissue aggregates - in contrast to grafting whole sheets - is inadequate because retinal grafts approaching normal organization cannot be produced. However, recent results indicate that cografting embryonic retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells may improve the lamination of retinal grafts.
The specific aims and experiments are: (1) Test whether RPE is important for the differentiation of embryonic retinal grafts to adult retina. The influence of both host and donor RPE on retinal will be investigated. Whole sheets of matrix-embedded embryonic retina, with or without its RPE attached, will be grafted by an anterior approach to the subretinal space with or without cutting out a """"""""window"""""""" in the host retina, and with or without the presence of host at the implantation site. Graft differentiation and integration will be evaluated using histology, immunohistochemistry, and electron microscopy. (2) Study the extent of graft/host integration by labeling grafted donor tissue to distinguish it from host tissue. Embryonic donor tissue will be labeled prior to grafting with a marker for dividing cells, eg, BrdU and 3H-thymidine, or with vital fluorescent or electron-dense dyes. 3) Study host/graft neuronal interaction using tracing techniques. Host retinal cells or graft cells will be labeled retro- or anterogradely with tracers, e.g., horseradish peroxidase or Fluorogold in vivo or in whole mounts in vitro. 4) Optimize donor tissue cryopreservation and hibernation parameters, which will be useful for future transplantation purposes; optimize the cryopreservation medium and procedure, and grafting method to obtaIn viable and differentiated grafts from long-term stored retinas.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Eye Institute (NEI)
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Visual Sciences A Study Section (VISA)
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Schepens Eye Research Institute
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Seiler, Magdalene J; Aramant, Robert B (2012) Cell replacement and visual restoration by retinal sheet transplants. Prog Retin Eye Res 31:661-87
Seiler, Magdalene J; Sagdullaev, Botir T; Woch, Gustaw et al. (2005) Transsynaptic virus tracing from host brain to subretinal transplants. Eur J Neurosci 21:161-72
Aramant, Robert B; Seiler, Magdalene J (2004) Progress in retinal sheet transplantation. Prog Retin Eye Res 23:475-94
Sagdullaev, Botir T; Aramant, Robert B; Seiler, Magdalene J et al. (2003) Retinal transplantation-induced recovery of retinotectal visual function in a rodent model of retinitis pigmentosa. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 44:1686-95
Aramant, Robert B; Seiler, Magdalene J (2002) Transplanted sheets of human retina and retinal pigment epithelium develop normally in nude rats. Exp Eye Res 75:115-25
Aramant, Robert B; Seiler, Magdalene J (2002) Retinal transplantation--advantages of intact fetal sheets. Prog Retin Eye Res 21:57-73
Woch, G; Aramant, R B; Seiler, M J et al. (2001) Retinal transplants restore visually evoked responses in rats with photoreceptor degeneration. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 42:1669-76
Seiler, M J; Liu, O L; Cooper, N G et al. (2000) Selective photoreceptor damage in albino rats using continuous blue light. A protocol useful for retinal degeneration and transplantation research. Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol 238:599-607
Ball, S L; Petry, H M (2000) Noninvasive assessment of retinal function in rats using multifocal electroretinography. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 41:610-7
Aramant, R B; Seiler, M J; Ball, S L (1999) Successful cotransplantation of intact sheets of fetal retina with retinal pigment epithelium. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 40:1557-64

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