About this Research Topic
Retinal Degeneration (RD), responsible for vision loss, refers to a group of neurologic degenerative disorders affecting vision, including Retinitis Pigmentosa, age-related macular degeneration, and glaucoma, characterized by irreversible dysfunction, loss of retinal pigment cells, progressive loss of photoreceptors, and retinal ganglion cells (RGCs).
So far, there are no effective strategies to treat RD.
Stem cell-based therapy provides a promising therapeutic approach and has been experimentally used to treat Retinitis Pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration in clinical trials.
So far, a number of studies have been focusing on RD stem cell therapy, focusing on the generation of optimized cell sources, effective therapeutic mechanisms, and improved transplantation strategies. Human pluripotent stem cells have been used as a stem cell source for RD stem cell-based therapy.
Retinal organoids, derived from differentiated human pluripotent stem cells, can provide donor cells with the superb function in cell transplantation in RD. On the other hand, retinal organoids from RD patient-specific induced pluripotent stem cells, usually mimic the disease or retinogenesis recapitulation, which provide a unique model to clarify this degenerative pathology and to screen the drugs.
Retinal organoids methods’ development and retinal stem cells’ effective and stable isolation are indeed an urgent problem and need to be further developed to allow for successful stem cell-based RD therapy in neurodegeneration, considering not only stem cell quality but also considering the host microenvironment.
A neurodegenerative retinal microenvironment is characterized by microglia over-activation, associated with neuroinflammation and gliosis, contributing to the degeneration acceleration. Within a RD stem cell-based therapy, a degenerative retinal microenvironment, will greatly affect grafted stem cells, underlying the urge to provide strategies to improve the retinal degenerative microenvironment and thus, to promote an effective stem cell-based therapy.
The mechanisms of stem cell action in the restoration and regeneration of the retina, gradually developed from the cell replacement theory, the by stander effect theory, and the cell fusion and material transfer theory. This needs to be scrutinized/examined in detail to support the development of novel therapeutic strategies for RD.
This Research Topic aims to provide a detailed overview of stem cell use for RD to improve the clinical use of stem cell-based therapy in retinal degeneration or injury.
We aim to broaden the current knowledge specifically focusing on stem cell research and cell therapy adopted in retinal degeneration studies, using both in vivo and in vitro models and clinical research outcomes.
We welcome articles focusing on:
• Generation of stem cell source from human pluripotent stem cells for RD
• Experimental evidence from the use of organoid derived retinal progenitor cells in RD.
• RD Stem cell therapy mechanisms and Cell transplantation methods
• Interaction between grafted stem cells and degenerative host microenvironment
• Strategies to improve retinal degenerative microenvironment
Keywords: Retinal Degeneration, Age-related degeneration, Retinal Organoids, Human Pluripotent Stem cells, Degenerative host microenvironment
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