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Development and cellular functions of the iris pigment epithelium

Published in Survey of Ophthalmology. 2001, vol. 45, no. 4, p. 345-354
Abstract A number of studies have shown that transplantation of retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells to the subretinal space offers a promising treatment modality for retinal degenerative diseases. However, it is necessary to transplant autologous cells to avoid rejection; unfortunately, obtaining autologous RPE cells necessitates such traumatic surgical intervention as to make this approach irrelevant. It has been hypothesized that iris pigment epithelial (IPE) cells may be a possible substitute for RPE cells for transplantation into the subretinal space. The iris pigment epithelium, which has the same embryonic origin as retinal pigment epithelium, has not received much attention from visual scientists. Even though it forms a highly specialized tissue, it is not clear whether the iris pigment epithelium contributes critical functions to the health of the visual system. In vivo the IPE does not appear to have any of the functions characteristic of RPE; however, in vitro cultured IPE cells do acquire functions, such as specific phagocytosis of rod outer segments, that are characteristic of RPE cells, and have been shown to have the potential to carry out many functions characteristic of RPE cells, e.g., retinol metabolism. This review outlines the development and cellular functions of the IPE with special emphasis on the modulation of those functions that can allow the IPE cells to be transplanted to the subretinal space where they appear to acquire differentiated properties of retinal pigment epithelium (RPE).
Keywords Cell TransplantationHumansIris/cytology/physiologyPigment Epithelium of Eye/cytology/physiology/transplantationRetina/cytology/surgery
PMID: 11166346
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THUMANN, Gabriele. Development and cellular functions of the iris pigment epithelium. In: Survey of Ophthalmology, 2001, vol. 45, n° 4, p. 345-354.

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Deposited on : 2016-11-23

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