Information from, THe Department of Transplantation Immunology, Institute of Experimental Medicine of the, Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague, Czech Republic.
Retinal degenerative diseases, which include age-related macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma, mostly affect the elderly population, and are the most common cause of decreased quality of vision or even blindness. So far, there is no satisfactory treatment protocol to prevent, stop or cure these disorders. A great hope and promise for patients affected by retinal diseases is represented by stem cell-based therapy which could replace diseased or missing retinal cells, and support regeneration.
In this respect, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) which can be obtained from the particular patient, and used as autologous cells, have turned out to be a promising stem cell type for treatment. Here we show that MSCs can differentiate into cells expressing markers of retinal cells, inhibit production of proinflammatory cytokines by retinal tissue and produce a number of growth and neuroprotective factors for retinal regeneration.
All of these properties make MSCs a prospective cell type for cell-based therapy of age-related retinal degenerative diseases.