J. Oswal, E. Kegeles, T. Minelli, P. Volchkov, P. Baranov | Mol Ther Methods Clin Dev. | 2021
Optic neuropathies, including glaucoma, are a group of neurodegenerative diseases, characterized by the progressive loss of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), leading to irreversible vision loss. While previous studies demonstrated the potential to replace RGCs with primary neurons from developing mouse retinas, their use is limited clinically. We demonstrate successful transplantation of mouse induced pluripotent stem cell (miPSC)/mouse embryonic stem cell (mESC)-derived RGCs into healthy and glaucomatous mouse retinas, at a success rate exceeding 65% and a donor cell survival window of up to 12 months. Transplanted Thy1-GFP+ RGCs were able to polarize within the host retina and formed axonal processes that followed host axons along the retinal surface and entered the optic nerve head. RNA sequencing of donor RGCs re-isolated from host retinas at 24 h and 1 week post-transplantation showed upregulation of cellular pathways mediating axonal outgrowth, extension, and guidance. Additionally, we provide evidence of subtype-specific diversity within miPSC-derived RGCs prior to transplantation.