Otx2- genetically modified retinal pigment epithelial cells rescue photoreceptors after transplantation

Abstract : Inherited retinal degenerations are blinding diseases characterized by the loss of photoreceptors. Their extreme genetic heterogeneity complicates treatment by gene therapy. This has motivated broader strategies for transplantation of healthy retinal pigmented epithelium to protect photoreceptors independently of the gene causing the disease. The limited clinical benefit for visual function reported up to now is mainly due to dedifferentiation of the transplanted cells that undergo an epithelial-mesenchymal transition. We have studied this mechanism in vitro and revealed the role of the homeogene OTX2 in preventing dedifferentiation through the regulation of target genes. We have overexpressed OTX2 in retinal pigmented epithelial cells before their transplantation in the eye of a model of retinitis pigmentosa carrying a mutation in Mertk, a gene specifically expressed by retinal pigmented epithelial cells. OTX2 increases significantly the protection of photoreceptors as seen by histological and functional analyses. We observed that the beneficial effect of OTX2 is non-cell autonomous, and it is at least partly mediated by unidentified trophic factors. Transplantation of OTX2-genetically modified cells may by medically effective for other retinal diseases involving the retinal pigmented epithelium in age-related macular degeneration.
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Molecular Therapy, Nature Publishing Group, 2017, 〈10.1016/j.ymthe.2017.09.007〉
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Christo Kole, Laurence Klipfel, Ying Yang, Vanessa Ferracane, Frédéric Blond, et al.. Otx2- genetically modified retinal pigment epithelial cells rescue photoreceptors after transplantation. Molecular Therapy, Nature Publishing Group, 2017, 〈10.1016/j.ymthe.2017.09.007〉. 〈hal-01611959〉

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