Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Adult stem cells selectively delivered into the eye and used to control angiogenesis at TSRI


A team of researchers from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) has discovered a way to use adult bone marrow stem cells to form new blood vessels in the eye or to deliver chemicals that will prevent the abnormal formation of new vessels.

This technique, which involves injecting the stem cells into the eye, could potentially be used to stimulate vessel growth and address inherited degenerations of the retina in the first instance, and in the second, to treat ocular diseases resulting from abnormal retinal angiogenesis, the aberrant growth of new blood vessels in the eye, which is the leading cause of vision loss in the United States.

"This is very exciting," says Martin Friedlander, M.D., Ph.D., who led the study. "We have shown that the cells can incorporate into the [degenerating] vasculature and make it normal."

"And when loaded with antiangiogenics, they can selectively wipe out the formation of new blood vessels."

Friedlander, who is Associate Professor in the Department of Cell Biology and Chief of the Retina Service in the Division of Ophthalmology, Department of Surgery at Scripps Clinic, has had a longstanding research program looking at ways of treating eye diseases that result from abnormal angiogenesis.

Abnormal angiogenesis is the cause of visual loss in age-related macular degeneration, where new blood vessels grow under the retina, and diabetic retinopathy, where abnormal vessels grow on top of the retina. The end result is much the same in these diseases--the normal structures for the transmission of light to the back of the eye are lost, and vision is catastrophically impeded in many of the tens of millions of Americans who suffer from them.

From stem cells to vessels

Adult bone marrow stem cells are "pluripotent" which means they have the potential to develop into a number of different cell types, such as red blood cells, platelets, or lymphocytes. The group’s basic technique starts with selecting stem cells from the bone marrow that have the capability of becoming endothelial cells, the major cell type lining blood vessels.

Normally, retinal vascular formation occurs late in human prenatal development, when endothelial cells form a fine mesh of blood vessels in the back of the eye. In diseases like macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, aberrant vascular formation occurs later in life.

The vascularization in both diseases involves endothelial cells working in concert with another specialized cell--star-shaped cells called "astrocytes." These astrocytes, when activated, act as a template for vessel formation.

During prenatal human development, activated astrocytes guide endothelial cells into place where they can proliferate and form blood vessels. And later in life, activated astrocytes can also act as a template for endothelial cells to form blood vessels during angiogenesis.

Friedlander and his team found that they were able to target the activated astrocytes with the stem cell in vivo. They then tested these stem cells in a mouse model system of ocular disease. In normal mice, retinal blood vesssels form during the first three weeks after birth. In the disease model, the deeper retinal vessels completely degenerate by one month after birth.

In the ocular disease models, the stem cells differentiated into endothelial cells and proliferated, forming new blood vessels. This actually rescued and stabilized the retinal vessels when they would otherwise be degenerated.

They also found that they could shut down the angiogenesis by first transfecting the stem cells with a powerful inhibitor of angiogenesis--a fragment of the human protein tryptophanyl-tRNA synthetase (T2-TrpRS), which was discovered by TSRI Professor Paul Schimmel, Ph.D., and Friedlander and described in an article by the two investigators last year.

These transfected stem cells were also guided by the retinal astrocytes to the vasculature in the back of the eye where they expressed the T2-TrpRS protein and prevented the development of new retinal blood vessels without affecting already established blood vessels.

The research article "Bone marrow-derived stem cells target retinal astrocytes and can promote or inhibit retinal angiogenesis" is authored by Atushi Otani, Karen Kinder, Karla L. Ewalt, Francella J. Otero, Paul Schimmel, and Martin Friedlander and appears in the September, 2002 issue of Nature Medicine, appearing online as part of the advance online publication section of the journal’s web site on July 29, 2002. See

The research was primarily funded by the National Eye Institute with additional support from The National Cancer Institute, The Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology, The Robert Mealey Program for the Study of Macular Degenerations, Merck KgaA, and the National Foundation for Cancer Research.

Robin B. Clark | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'
16.03.2018 | Emory Health Sciences

nachricht Scientists map the portal to the cell's nucleus
16.03.2018 | Rockefeller University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Wandering greenhouse gas

16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region

16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'

16.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>