Xeno-Free and Defined Human Embryonic Stem Cell-Derived Retinal Pigment Epithelial Cells Functionally Integrate in a Large-Eyed Preclinical Model

Plaza Reyes A., Petrus-Reurer S., Antonsson L., Stenfelt S., Bartuma H., Panula S., Mader T., Douagi I., Andre H., Hovatta O., Lanner F., Kvanta A.

Stem Cell Reports, 2015

This publication by the groups of Drs. Hovatta, Lanner, and Kvanta describe the production of hESC-RPE cells in a xeno-free and defined manner. In the paper, they describe an effective differentiation methodology using a human recombinant laminin-521 matrix with a xeno-free and defined medium. The differentiated RPE cells exhibit native characteristics including morphology, pigmentation, marker expression, monolayer integrity, polarization, and phagocytic activity. The authors also established a large-eyed geographic atrophy model that allowed in vivo imaging of the hESC-RPE and host retina. Cells were transplanted in suspension and showed long-term integration and formed polarized monolayers exhibiting phagocytic and photoreceptor rescue capacity.

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