Eye’s Retina Grown Using Stem Cells!
Victims of Retinitis Pigmentosa, Age-related Macular Degeneration and several other eye disorders that gradually deprive you of your eyesight need not worry anymore.
A group of scientists from RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology headed by Yoshiki Sasai, in Kobe, Japan have succeeded in coaxing the mouse embryonic stem cells to become an embryonic eye.
Through this experiment, the researchers were able to grow retina of the eye, the most crucial part responsible for the vision. Retina is the set of cells that form the inner lining of the back of eye.
When a light ray hits the retina, it produces an image that is sent to the brain via optic nerve in the form of nerve signals. Eye diseases which affect retina can cause blindness or impaired vision if not treated on time.
The study, using novel laboratory techniques, persuaded the mouse embryonic stem cells to differentiate into the three-dimensional, multi-layered structure known as optic cup that develops into future retina.
The stem cell transformation began with a patternless and structureless mass into an organized two-layered (outer and inner) retina with minimum intervention from researchers.
Till now, growing an entire organ was thought of as a neighboring tissue dependent process. In other words, a single organ formation is influenced by the chemical interactions occurring between the organ and its neighboring tissues. Therefore, researchers were under the impression that it is impossible to generate an entire organ out of the body.
It was also seen that the proto-eye generated in this experiment had molecular markers specific to retinal pigmented epithelium, a layer that rids the eye of the debris and the neural retina, which is connected to brain.
This research breakthrough can solve the problem of retinitis pigmentosa patients. Retinitis Pigmentosa is a genetic disease, which is a result of the damage caused to the retina resulting in gradual degeneration of eye vision.