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An alternative approach to produce versatile retinal organoids with accelerated ganglion cell development

Publication year 2021
Published in Scientific Reports
Authors Philip E Wagstaff, Anneloor L M A Ten Asbroek, J.B. ten Brink, Nomdo M Jansonius, A.A.B. Bergen

Genetically complex ocular neuropathies, such as glaucoma, are a major cause of visual impairment worldwide. There is a growing need to generate suitable human representative in vitro and in vivo models, as there is no effective treatment available once damage has occured. Retinal organoids are increasingly being used for experimental gene therapy, stem cell replacement therapy and small molecule therapy. There are multiple protocols for the development of retinal organoids available, however, one potential drawback of the current methods is that the organoids can take between 6 weeks and 12 months on average to develop and mature, depending on the specific cell type wanted. Here, we describe and characterise a protocol focused on the generation of retinal ganglion cells within an accelerated four week timeframe without any external small molecules or growth factors. Subsequent long term cultures yield fully differentiated organoids displaying all major retinal cell types. RPE, Horizontal, Amacrine and Photoreceptors cells were generated using external factors to maintain lamination.

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