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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2003 Aug;44(8):3526-32.

Transplantation of syngeneic Schwann cells to the retina of the rhodopsin knockout (rho(-/-)) mouse.

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Department of Pathology, Institute of Ophthalmology, London, United Kingdom.



To determine whether subretinal Schwann cell transplantation can prolong the survival of photoreceptors in the rhodopsin knockout (rho(-/-)) mouse.


Schwann cells were prepared from postnatal day (PN) 5 to 7 mouse pups and grafted subretinally into the eyes of PN35 rho(-/-) mice. RT-PCR was performed on similarly prepared cells to determine growth factor production in vitro. Eyes were retrieved at PN70 for anatomic and statistical analysis. Control animals received grafts of fibroblasts or sham surgery.


RT-PCR demonstrated the presence of message for ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF), brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), and glia-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) in the cultured Schwann cells. Schwann cell grafts produced a statistically significant rescue of photoreceptors in a restricted area of retina at PN70, but the effect was lost by PN140. Preserved inner segments could be identified, but outer segments were never present. Sham surgery also resulted in photoreceptor rescue but at a reduced level. Fibroblast grafts appeared to produce little or no rescue effect. Grafts of Schwann cells or fibroblasts and sham surgery induced a reactive Müller glial response.


Schwann cells can prolong photoreceptor survival in the rhodopsin knockout mouse until at least PN70.

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