Generation of retinal ganglion-like cells from reprogrammed mouse fibroblasts

Mengfei Chen, Qin Chen, Xuerong Sun, Wenjuan Shen, Bingqian Liu, Xiufeng Zhong, Yunxia Leng, Chunmei Li, Weizhong Zhang, Fang Chai, Bing Huang, Qianying Gao, Andy Peng Xiang, Yehong Zhuo, Jian Ge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PURPOSE. Somatic cells can be reprogrammed into an embryonic stem cell-like pluripotent state by Oct-3/4, Sox2, c-Myc, and Klf4. Sox2 as an essential reprogramming factor also contributes to the development of the eye and the retina. This study was conducted to determine whether induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells express retinal progenitor cell (RPC)- related genes and whether iPS cells can directly differentiate into retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). METHODS. Mouse iPS cells were induced by the ectopically expressed four factors in tail-tip fibroblasts (TTFs). The expression of RPC-related genes in iPS cells was analyzed by RT-PCR and immunofluorescence. iPS cells were induced to differentiate into RGCs by the addition of Dkk1 + Noggin (DN) + DAPT and overexpression of Math5. iPS-derived retinal ganglion (RG)-like cells were injected into the retina, and the eyes were analyzed by immunohistochemistry. RESULTS. iPS cells inherently express RPC-related genes such as Pax6, Rx, Otx2, Lhx2, and Nestin. Overexpression of Math5 and addition of DN can directly differentiate iPS into retinal ganglion-like cells. These iPS-derived RG-like cells display long synapses and gene expression patterns, including Math5, Brn3b, Islet-1, and Thy1.2. Furthermore, inhibiting Hes1 by DAPT increases the expression of RGC marker genes. In addition, iPS-derived RG-like cells were able to survive but were unable to be integrated into the normal retina after transplantation. CONCLUSIONS. The four factor iPS cell inherently expressed RPC-related genes, and the iPS cell could be further turned into RG-like cells by the regulation of transcription factor expression. These findings demonstrate that iPS cells are valuable for regeneration research into retinal degeneration diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5970-5978
Number of pages9
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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