Generation of 3D retinal tissue from human pluripotent stem cells using a directed small molecule-based serum-free microwell platform

Hassan Rashidi, Yeh Chwan Leong, Kerrie Venner, Hema Pramod, Qi-Zhen Fei, Owen J. R. Jones, Dale Moulding & Jane C. Sowden

Scientific Reports, 2022

Biolaminin 521 (LN521) was used as the matrix in a 2D/3D system for retinal differentiation from human pluripotent stem cells in an agarose micromould platform. To achieve a serum-free and animal-free protocol for producing retinal tissue with photoreceptor cells, the scientists successfully replaced Matrigel (which is derived from mouse tumor cells) with laminin-521, and fetal bovine serum (FBS) with human platelet lysate (HPL). The culture system first allows cells to self-organize forming neuroepithelial structures that resemble embryonic optic vesicles, and then mimics retinogenesis and produces retinal tissue with photoreceptor cells. The generated photoreceptors exhibited key photoreceptor cell features including the formation of OS-like structures containing proteins involved in phototransduction.