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Developmental Biology

Engineering Transplantation-suitable Retinal Pigment Epithelium Tissue Derived from Human Embryonic Stem Cells

Published: September 6th, 2018



1U861, I-Stem, Association Française contre les Myopathies (AFM), Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM), 2U861, I-Stem, Association Française contre les Myopathies (AFM), Université Evry Val-d'Essonne (UEVE), 3I-Stem, Association Française contre les Myopathies (AFM), Centre pour L’Etude des Cellules Souches (CECS), 4Banque de tissus humain, Hôpital Saint Louis, Assistance Publique - Hôpitaux de Paris (AP-HP), 5Sorbonne Université, INSERM, CNRS, Institut de la Vision, F-75012

We describe a method to engineer a retinal tissue composed of retinal pigment epithelial cells derived from human pluripotent stem cells cultured on top of human amniotic membranes and its preparation for grafting in animal models.

Several pathological conditions of the eye affect the functionality and/or the survival of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). These include some forms of retinitis pigmentosa (RP) and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Cell therapy is one of the most promising therapeutic strategies proposed to cure these diseases, with already encouraging preliminary results in humans. However, the method of preparation of the graft has a significant impact on its functional outcomes in vivo. Indeed, RPE cells grafted as a cell suspension are less functional than the same cells transplanted as a retinal tissue. Herein, we describe a simple and reproducible method to engineer RPE tissue and its preparation for an in vivo implantation. RPE cells derived from human pluripotent stem cells are seeded on a biological support, the human amniotic membrane (hAM). Compared to artificial scaffolds, this support has the advantage of having a basement membrane that is close to the Bruch's membrane where endogenous RPE cells are attached. However, its manipulation is not easy, and we developed several strategies for its proper culturing and preparation for grafting in vivo.

RPE is crucial for the survival and homeostasis of the photoreceptors with which it is tightly associated1. Several pathological conditions alter its functionality and/or survival, including RP and AMD.

RP is a group of inherited monogenic mutations that affect the functions of photoreceptors or RPE cells or both2,3. It is estimated that mutations that affect specifically the RPE cells account for 5% of RP2. AMD is another condition where the RPE layer is altered, leading ultimately to central vision loss. AMD is caused by the complex ....

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All human materials used in this protocol were used in accordance with European Union regulations. The human ES cell line used in this study was derived from a unique embryo. The couple who had donated the embryo was fully informed and gave their consent for an anonymous donation. A clinical-grade human ES cell line was derived from this embryo, banked, qualified, and properly documented by Roslin Cells (UK). hAMs were procured under sterile conditions during a cesarean section in mothers who signed an informed consent f.......

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hAMs contain an epithelial layer that should be removed before the seeding of RPE cells. An enzymatic treatment of the membrane is performed with the thermolysin under shaking. In order not to not lose the polarity of the membrane (the epithelium is on one side), it is fixed on a support which composition could be different depending on the provider (Figure 1A). Check the adhesion of the membrane to its support at this step and add clips if necessary. At the .......

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We described a method for the culture of RPE cells on a biological scaffold and its preparation for implantation in animal models. One of the critical steps of the protocol is the maintenance of the orientation of the hAM all along the procedure until its inclusion into gelatin. Indeed, the native epithelium of the membrane is removed and its basement membrane becomes exposed9. The RPE cells have to be seeded on top of this basement membrane. Upon preparation for gelatin embedding, it is crucial t.......

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The authors would like to thank Jérôme Larghero and Valérie Vanneaux (Hôpital Saint Louis, Paris, France) for their input during the setting-up of the method described here.

This work was supported by grants from the ANR [GPiPS: ANR-2010-RFCS005; SightREPAIR: ANR-16-CE17-008-02], the Fondation pour la Recherche Médicale [Bio-engineering program - DBS20140930777] and from LABEX REVIVE [ANR-10-LABX-73] to Olivier Goureau and Christelle Monville. It was supported by NeurATRIS, a translational research infrastructure (Investissements d'Avenir) for biotherapies in Neurosciences [ANR-11-INBS-0011] and INGESTEM, the na....

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Name Company Catalog Number Comments
Sterile biosafety cabinet TechGen International Not applicable
Liquid waste disposal system for aspiration Vacuubrand BVC 21
CO2-controlled +37 °C cell incubator Thermo Electron Corporation BVC 21 NT
200 µL pipette: P200 Gilson F144565
1 mL pipette: P1000 Gilson F144566
Pipet aid Drummond 75001
+4 °C refrigerator Liebherr Not applicable
Vibratome Leica VT1000S
Fine scissors WPI 501758
Forceps (x2) WPI 555227F
Water bath Grant subaqua pro SUB6
Precision balance Sartorius CP225D
Centrifuge Eppendorff 5804
Microscope Olympus SC30
Horizontal Rocking Shaker IKA-WERKE IKA MTS 214D
Disposable Scalpel WPI 500351
plastic paraffin film VWR PM992
0.200 µm single use syringe filter SARTORIUS 16532
Syringe without needle 50 mL Dutscher 50012
Bottles 250mL Dutscher 28024
15 mL sterile Falcon tubes Dutscher 352097
50 mL sterile Falcon tubes Dutscher 352098
culture insert Scaffdex C00001N
60 mm cell culture disches: B6 Dutscher 353004
12 well cell culture plate Corning 3512
6-well culture plates Corning 3506
Razor blades Ted Pella, Inc 121-9
Cyanoacrylate glue Castorama 3178040670105
PBS 1X (500 mL) Sigma D8537
Thermolysine Roche 5339880001
DMEM, high glucose, GlutaMAX Invitrogen 61965-026
KSR CTS (KnockOut SR XenoFree CTS) Invitrogen 12618-013
MEM-NEAA (100X) Invitrogen 11140-035
b-mercaptoethanol (50 mM) Invitrogen 31350-010
Penicillin/Streptomycin Invitrogen 15140122
CO2-independent medium GIBCO 18045-054
Gelatin MERCK 104078
human amniotic membrane Tissue bank St Louis hospital (Paris, France) Not applicable

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