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Assembly and Function of the Visual System

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Front. Neural Circuits | doi: 10.3389/fncir.2018.00017

Material exchange in photoreceptor transplantation: updating our understanding of donor/host communication and the future of cell engraftment science

 Philip E. Nickerson1,  Arturo Ortin-Martinez1 and Valerie A. Wallace1, 2*
  • 1Donald K. Johnson Eye Institute, Krembil Research Institute, University Health Network, Canada
  • 2Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology and Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences, University of Toronto, Canada

Considerable research effort has been invested into the transplantation of mammalian photoreceptors into healthy and degenerating mouse eyes. Several platforms of rod and cone fluorescent reporting have been central to refining the isolation, purification and transplantation of photoreceptors. The tracking of engrafted cells, including identifying the position, morphology and degree of donor cell integration post-transplant is highly dependent on the use of fluorescent protein reporters. Improvements in imaging and analysis of transplant recipients have revealed that donor cell fluorescent reporters can transfer into host tissue though a process termed material exchange. This recent discovery has chaperoned a new era of interpretation when reviewing the field’s use of dissociated donor cell preparations, and has prompted scientists to re-examine how we use and interpret the information derived from fluorescence-based tracking tools. In this review, we describe the status of our understanding of material exchange in photoreceptor transplantation. In addition, we discuss the impact of this discovery on several aspects of historical rod and cone transplantation data, and provide insight into future standards and approaches to advance the field of cell engraftment.

Keywords: Photoreceptor transplantation, Material exchange, Retina, green fluorescent protein, donor host communication

Received: 02 Oct 2017; Accepted: 09 Feb 2018.

Edited by:

Vilaiwan M. Fernandes, New York University, United States

Reviewed by:

Seth Blackshaw, School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, United States
Brian Link, Medical College of Wisconsin, United States
Jennifer Malin, New York University, United States  

Copyright: © 2018 Nickerson, Ortin-Martinez and Wallace. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Valerie A. Wallace, Krembil Research Institute, University Health Network, Donald K. Johnson Eye Institute, Toronto, Canada,