Call for Papers: Transplantation of Stem Cells into the Eye

STEM CELLS is now accepting original research articles focused on transplanting stem cells into the eye for its new Eye Series.

Dr. Majlinda Lako, Associate Editor of STEM CELLS and Professor of Stem Cell Science at the Institute of Human Genetics at Newcastle University, leads this series and invites new submissions on:

  • transplantation of retinal cells derived from stem cells, such as embryonic stem cells or induced pluripotent stem cells
  • exchange of cellular material between donor and host photoreceptors
  • clinical trials contributing to stem cell treatments in restoring vision loss or other diseases of the eye

The fast-paced stem cell and regenerative medicine fields call for more pioneering progress, and we hope your studies will be part of this quickly advancing area. Submit your papers today.

A Clear Vision for Cell Transplantation in the Eye

The transplantation of replacement cells derived from stem cells aims to provide bona fide treatments for various diseases and disorders of the eye. Current studies suggest that transplanted donor cells functionally integrate into the eye where they can help to treat vision loss.

Pre-clinical studies have established that photoreceptor cell replacement therapy can lead to improved visual function; however, three recent studies have suggested that retinal integration of donor photoreceptor cells may not be the main mechanism behind any improvements in vision.

In a recent study published in STEM CELLS by Valerie Wallace (University of Toronto, Canada) (1), and in studies published in Nature Communications by Marius Ader (Technische Universität Dresden, Germany) (2), and R. A. Pearson & R. R. Ali (University College London, UK) (3), results suggest that material exchange of cellular components between host and donor photoreceptors, and not photoreceptor integration into the retinal tissue, may represent the major contributor to restored visual function. In these cases host retinae still harbor remaining photoreceptors and, therefore, the transplant outcome may be very different in models where the outer nuclear layer has degenerated completely.

These findings call for the re-evaluation of studies assessing the transplantation of photoreceptors; furthermore, for additional studies aimed at understanding the interaction of host and donor photoreceptors in the hope of developing cell therapy for the treatment of eye diseases and disorders. Indeed, the authors of these important studies suggest that material exchange may represent a new strategy in the fight against visual loss.

These exciting studies set the foundation for additional pioneering research in the field. Read other recent STEM CELLS papers on stem cell eye research here.


1. Ortin-Martinez, A, Tsai, ELS, Nickerson, PE, Bergeret, et al. (2017), A Reinterpretation of Cell Transplantation: GFP Transfer from Donor to Host Photoreceptors. Stem Cells 2017. (in press)

2. Santos-Ferreira T, Llonch S., Borsch O, et al. Retinal transplantation of photoreceptors results in donor-host cytoplasmic exchange. Nat Commun 2016;7:13028.

3. Pearson RA, Gonzalez-Cordero A, West EL, et al. Donor and host photoreceptors engage in material transfer following transplantation of post-mitotic photoreceptor precursors. Nat Commun 2016;7:13029.

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Video Highlights

Video abstract from Drs. Banerjee, Surendran, Bharti, Morishita, Varshney, and Pal on their recently published STEM CELLS paper entitled, "Long non-coding RNA RP11-380D23.2 drives distal-proximal patterning of the lung by regulating PITX2 expression." Read the paper here.

Video abstract from Drs. Sayed, Ospino, Himmati, Lee, Chanda, Mocarski, and Cooke on their recently published STEM CELLS paper entitled, "Retinoic Acid Inducible Gene 1 Protein (RIG1)-like Receptor Pathway is Required for Efficient Nuclear Reprogramming." Read the paper here.

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