- A quest for the best retinal pigment epithelium (stem) cell replacement therapy
- Award date
- 1 December 2017
- Number of pages
- Document type
- PhD thesis
- Faculty of Medicine (AMC-UvA)
In this thesis the focus of study lies on the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), a monolayer of pigmented cells that lie underneath the photoreceptors (PR). The PR are specialized type of neurons that are capable of converting the incoming light into electric and neurochemical signals to the brain. This information is used to build a representation of the surrounding environment. The RPE performs various specialized functions that maintain the PR healthy and consequently the RPE is important for retinal health and vision. Functional defects of the RPE lead to physiological defects in the entire homeostatic unit of the retina and are the hallmark of retinal disease such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and some forms of retinitis pigmentosa (RP). AMD is a late onset, degenerative and progressive disorder of the macula with a multifactorial etiology. Cell replacement therapy is considered an important strategy in AMD treatment and stem cells are an interesting cells source to use for this purpose. We performed studies that are related to the development of cell replacement therapy for RPE degenerative disorders such as AMD with the focal point on the molecular properties of the human RPE. We used microarray for gene expression profiling to measure thousands of genes at once to give a global picture of molecular and cellular RPE function. We extracted biological meaning from the data using Ingenuity’s IPA and used this to compare the human RPE to stem cell derived RPE, the human iris epithelium and mouse RPE.
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