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J Biomed Biotechnol. 2012;2012:278932. doi: 10.1155/2012/278932. Epub 2012 Apr 2.

PEDF and VEGF-A output from human retinal pigment epithelial cells grown on novel microcarriers.

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Department of Neurology, College of Medicine, The University of Arizona, AHSC, P.O. Box 245023, 1501 N. Campbell Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85724, USA.


Human retinal pigment epithelial (hRPE) cells have been tested as a cell-based therapy for Parkinson's disease but will require additional study before further clinical trials can be planned. We now show that the long-term survival and neurotrophic potential of hRPE cells can be enhanced by the use of FDA-approved plastic-based microcarriers compared to a gelatin-based microcarrier as used in failed clinical trials. The hRPE cells grown on these plastic-based microcarriers display several important characteristics of hRPE found in vivo: (1) characteristic morphological features, (2) accumulation of melanin pigment, and (3) high levels of production of the neurotrophic factors pigment epithelium-derived factor (PEDF) and vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A). Growth of hRPE cells on plastic-based microcarriers led to sustained levels (>1 ng/ml) of PEDF and VEGF-A in conditioned media for two months. We also show that the expression of VEGF-A and PEDF is reciprocally regulated by activation of the GPR143 pathway. GPR143 is activated by L-DOPA (1 μM) which decreased VEGF-A secretion as opposed to the previously reported increase in PEDF secretion. The hRPE microcarriers are therefore novel candidate delivery systems for achieving long-term delivery of the neuroprotective factors PEDF and VEGF-A, which could have a value in neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson's disease.

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