In order to replace damaged retinal cells with the purpose of restoring lost vision adult stem cells isolated from different tissues have been discussed. We are investigating pre-differentiated bone marrow-derived stem cells (BMSCs; see image below) transplanted subretinally in animals with sodium iodate induced degeneration. Thereby, their differentiation and integration in the retina is studied. Electrophysiological and behavior tests are applied to measure recovery of visual functions after transplantation.
Visualization of functional pre-differentiated human BMSCs in co-culture with hRPE. CY5-labeled porcine photoreceptor outer segments (green spots) are internalized by BMSCs. Cell membranes are delineated with Na+/K+ -ATPase (red). Z-planes of the confocal image are depicted to the right and below the x/y image (center).