The mammalian retina develops from stem or progenitor cells that are of neuroectodermal origin and derive from bilateral imaginations of the neuroepithelium, the optic vesicles. Shortly after birth, around 12 days postnatal in rats, the retina is fully developed in its cellular parts. Even though different cell types in the adult might be potential sources for retinal stem cells or progenitor cells, the retina is a non-neurogenic region and the diseased retina is devoid of any spontaneous regeneration. In an attempt to link late developmental processes to the adult situation, we analyzed the presence and the neurogenic potential of retinal progenitors during the postnatal period and compared it to adult ciliary body (CB) derived retinal progenitors and subventricular zone (SVZ) derived neural stem cells. Retinal progenitor properties were identified by the capacity to proliferate and by the expression of the progenitor markers Nestin, Flk-1, Chx10, Pax6 and the radial glia marker BLBP. The neurogenic potential was assayed by the expression of the neuronal markers doublecortin, betaIII Tubulin, Map2 and NSE, the glial makers A2B5, NG2, GalC and GFAP, and by incorporation of BrdU. The number of Flk-1 positive cells and concomitantly the number of newly born betaIII Tubulin-positive cells decreased within the first postnatal week in retinal progenitor cultures and no newly generated 0111 Tubulin, but GFAP positive cells were detected thereafter. In contrast to neural stem cells derived from the adult SVZ, postnatal and adult CB derived progenitors had a lower and a restricted proliferation potential and did not generate oligodendrocytes. The work demonstrates, however, that the existence of retinal progenitor cells is not restricted to embryonic development. In the sensory retina the differentiation potential of late retinal progenitors becomes restricted to the glial lineage, whereas neurogenic progenitor cells are still present in the CB. In addition, major differences in growth and differentiation potential of adult neural stem cells and postnatal and adult retinal progenitors are presented. (C) 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Useful keywords (using NLM MeSH Indexing)
Find related publications in this database (Keywords)neural stem cells