Therapeutic Regeneration

The montage shows a Muller glia, which can give rise to cells expressing markers corresponding to photoreceptors and bipolar cellsThe discovery that the adult brain harbors stem cells that sustain neurogenesis throughout life has opened the possibility of treating degenerative changes from within by recruiting endogenous progenitors. This concept of in vivo cell therapy appeared remote for retinal degeneration because active neurogenesis has not been detected in the adult mammalian retina. However, neurogenic changes have been observed in injured adult retina, and the source of injury-induced neurogenesis is traced to Müller glia (MG), the sole glia generated by retinal progenitors. This and our observations that a subset of MG has evolutionarily conserved neural stem cell properties, posit these cells as a valid target for therapeutic regeneration in degenerative blinding diseases. Therapeutic regeneration through MG is an active area of research in our lab. Currently, we are examining the factors that constitute barriers to efficient conversion of MG along the neuronal lineage. The montage shows a Muller glia, which can give rise to cells expressing markers corresponding to photoreceptors and bipolar cells (Image: Carol Del Debbio, Ani Das).