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Stem Cell Rev. 2017 Apr;13(2):278-286. doi: 10.1007/s12015-016-9706-0.

CXCL12/SDF-1-Dependent Retinal Migration of Endogenous Bone Marrow-Derived Stem Cells Improves Visual Function after Pharmacologically Induced Retinal Degeneration.

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Department of Ophthalmology, University Hospital, University of Bern, Freiburgstrasse 14, 3010, Bern, Switzerland.
Department of Clinical Research, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.
Department of Clinical Research, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.
NOXXON Pharma AG, Berlin, Germany.


Mobilized bone marrow-derived stem cells (BMSC) have been discussed as an alternative strategy for endogenous repair. Thereby, different approaches for BMSC mobilization have been pursued. Herein, the role of a newly discovered oligonucleotide for retinal homing and regeneration capability of BMSCs was investigated in the sodium iodate (NaIO3) model of retinal degeneration. Mobilization was achieved in GFP-chimera with NOX-A12, a CXC-motif chemokine ligand 12 (CXCL12)/stromal cell-derived factor 1 (SDF-1)-neutralizing L-aptamer. BMSC homing was directed by intravitreal SDF-1 injection. Visual acuity was measured using the optokinetic reflex. Paraffin cross sections were stained with hematoxylin and eosin for retinal thickness measurements. Immunohistochemistry was performed to investigate the expression of cell-specific markers after mobilization. A single dose of NOX-A12 induced significant mobilization of GFP+ cells which were found in all layers within the degenerating retina. An additional intravitreal injection of SDF-1 increased migration towards the site of injury. Thereby, the number of BMSCs (Sca-1+) found in the damaged retina increased whereas a decrease of activated microglia (Iba-1+) was found. The mobilization led to significantly increased visual acuity. However, no significant changes in retinal thickness or differentiation towards retinal cell types were detected. Systemic mobilization by a single dose of NOX-A12 showed increased homing of BMSCs into the degenerated retina, which was associated with improved visual function when injection of SDF-1 was additionally performed. The redistribution of the cells to the site of injury combined with their observed beneficial effects support the endogenous therapeutic strategy for retinal repair.


Bone marrow-derived stem cells (BMSC); L-aptamer; Mobilization; NOX-A12; Olaptesed pegol; Retinal degeneration; Sodium iodate; Spiegelmer

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