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Cell Stem Cell. 2012 Jun 14;10(6):771-85. doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2012.05.009.

Self-formation of optic cups and storable stratified neural retina from human ESCs.

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Organogenesis and Neurogenesis Group, RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology, Kobe 650-0047, Japan.


In this report, we demonstrate that an optic cup structure can form by self-organization in human ESC culture. The human ESC-derived optic cup is much larger than the mouse ESC-derived one, presumably reflecting the species differences. The neural retina in human ESC culture is thick and spontaneously curves in an apically convex manner, which is not seen in mouse ESC culture. In addition, human ESC-derived neural retina grows into multilayered tissue containing both rods and cones, whereas cone differentiation is rare in mouse ESC culture. The accumulation of photoreceptors in human ESC culture can be greatly accelerated by Notch inhibition. In addition, we show that an optimized vitrification method enables en bloc cryopreservation of stratified neural retina of human origin. This storage method at an intermediate step during the time-consuming differentiation process provides a versatile solution for quality control in large-scale preparation of clinical-grade retinal tissues.

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