Background/aim: Post-mortem adult human retina contains pluripotent progenitor cells capable of forming neurospheres with different retinal cell types. We address whether this is the case at all ages and at different post-mortem times.
Methods: Adult human post-mortem retina-derived cell suspensions generated neurospheres in fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2) and N2 supplement. The yield of neurospheres from limited dilution or single cell cultures is very low so we studied cells generated per 105 viable cells from a cell suspension derived from whole retina. Retinal tissue from donors aged 18 -91 at various post-mortem times (between 23-44 hours) was studied in the context of generation rate and time for neurospheres.
Results: The potential to generate neurospheres from adult human retina remains throughout life. Neurosphere cellular components were not affected by donor age or post-mortem time (they contained nestin+, GFAP+ and Neurofilament+ cells). On average of 34.36 neurospheres were generated per 105 viable cells. After a few days in culture neurospheres begin to form. The time for this to occur was independent of donor age but prolonged at longer post-mortem times. No significant effect of donor sex was found.
Conclusion: Neurosphere-forming retinal progenitor cells are found in adult human retina throughout life. This cell population are a potential target for therapeutic intervention to influence repair and regeneration of the retina.
- donor age
- neural progenitor cell
- post-mortem time
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