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Title: Investigation of photoreceptor precursor cell transplantation to the adult retina
Author: West, E. L.
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2010
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Retinal degeneration is the leading cause of untreatable blindness in the developed world. Cell transplantation provides a novel therapeutic strategy to repair and restore the degenerate retina. Photoreceptor degeneration is possibly one of the most feasible disorders that could, potentially, be treated by cell transplantation, as the remainder of the retinal circuitry remains intact. Therefore, transplanted cells need only make a single efferent connection to the host’s sensory neurons. SO far, it has been shown that transplanted post mitotic photoreceptor precursors are able to functionally integrate into the adult mouse retina. Greater numbers of these functionally integrated cells would be required to restore visual responses in models of photoreceptor degeneration. The studies presented here aim to further our understanding of photoreceptor cell integration into the adult retina, in order to enhance the number of integrating cells and enable the improvement of cell transplantation into degenerate models. Initial investigation of integrated photoreceptor cell survival will examine the potential longevity of cell mediated retinal repair, and explore possible methods to improve upon this. Further characterisation of the host environment will investigate the importance of structural barriers, naturally present in the retina, and determine whether disruption of these barriers could lead to enhanced photoreceptor cell integration. Finally, the importance of extrinsic factors within the host environment will be examined, in relation to enhancing precursor cell survival and integration in the adult retina. These studies demonstrate that the immunological, structural and extrinsic characteristics of the host retina can effect photoreceptor precursor cell integration. By identifying and manipulating these factors it has been possible to significantly increase the number of integrating cells in the adult retina.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available