Study finds, Surgical Retinal Explants as a Source of Retina
A Study was conducted to describe the novel observation of spontaneously migrating retinal cells from living donor surgical retinal explants that express progenitor cell markers in the absence of exogenous growth factors.

Surgical retinal explants were harvested from 5 consecutive patients undergoing 23 G pars plana vitrectomy for the management of rhegmatogenous detachment. During surgery, equatorial flap tears were trimmed with the vitreous cutter and aspirated. Excised tissue was then regurgitated into a syringe containing balanced salt solution and immediately transferred to tissue culture. Migrating cells subsequently underwent immunohistochemical staining and their characteristics were compared with those of a spontaneously immortalized Müller stem cell line.

--Spontaneously migrating cells were observed from samples taken from all 5 patients from Day 2 to 10 after transfer to culture.

--These cells were found to express embryonic cell markers, including paired box 6 (Pax6), sex-determining region Y-box 2 (Sox-2), nestin, cone-rod homeobox, and cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 1B (p27Kip1) as well as proteins consistent with early or retained differentiation down the Müller cell lineage, including glial fibrillary acidic protein and glutamine synthetase.

Conclusively, the human equatorial retina is capable of spontaneously generating cells that migrate and express progenitor cell markers after injury. Furthermore, these cells express proteins that are characteristic of the Müller cell lineage. These preliminary findings support the hypothesis that the human retina has the ability to regenerate and that surgical retinal explants can be used as a source of retinal progenitor cells.