Selective Removal of Photoreceptor Cells In Vivo Using the Biodegradable Elastomer Poly(Glycerol Sebacate)

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Abstract

Retinal transplantation experiments have advanced considerably during recent years, but remaining diseased photoreceptor cells in the host retina physically obstruct the development of graft-host neuronal contacts which are required for vision. We here report selective removal of photoreceptors using the biodegradable elastomer poly(glycerol sebacate) (PGS). A 1x3 mm PGS membrane was implanted in the subretinal space of normal rabbit eyes, and morphologic specimens were examined with hematoxylin and eosin staining and a panel of immunohistochemical markers. Seven days postoperatively, a patent separation of the neuroretina and retinal pigment epithelium was found as well as loss of several rows of photoreceptors in combination with massive TUNEL staining for apoptosis in the outer nuclear layer. After 28 days, the neuroretina was reattached, the PGS membrane had degraded, and photoreceptors were absent in the implantation area. Activated Müller cells were found in the entire retina in 7-day specimens, and in the implantation area after 28 days. AII amacrine and rod bipolar cell morphology was not affected, except for disrupted dendritic branching which was present in rod bipolar cells in 28-day specimens. We conclude that retinal detachment induced by the biodegradable PGS membrane creates a permissive environment in which graft-host neuronal connections may be facilitated in future retinal transplantation experiments.

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  • Ophthalmology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1675-1682
JournalTissue Engineering. Part A
Volume17
Issue number13-14
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes