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Mol Cell Neurosci. 2008 Jul;38(3):359-73. doi: 10.1016/j.mcn.2008.03.008. Epub 2008 Apr 10.

Isolation and characterisation of neural progenitor cells from the adult Chx10(orJ/orJ) central neural retina.

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  • 1Developmental Biology Unit, University College London Institute of Child Health, 30 Guilford Street, London WC1N 1EH, UK.


Retinal stem cells have been isolated from the ciliary epithelium (CE) of the mammalian retina. However, the central neural retina (CNR) lacks the capability to regenerate, a phenomenon retained by lower vertebrates. Mutations in the Chx10 homeobox gene cause reduced proliferation of retinal progenitor cells during development, leading to microphthalmia. Recently, we showed that in Chx10(orJ/orJ) mice, dividing cells persist in the adult CNR, suggesting the existence of a dormant progenitor population. Here, we show that these cells are proliferative and give rise to neurospheres in vitro, a characteristic of neural stem cells. However, these adult-derived CNR progenitors differ from those of the wildtype CE, leading to de-pigmented, larger and more numerous neurospheres expressing Müller glial cell markers. Our results suggest that lack of Chx10 leads to maintenance of a dormant neural progenitor population in the adult CNR. Furthermore, Chx10 is not required for in vitro proliferation of these progenitors.

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