Three dimensional development of a human-eye precursor from human stem cells

Three dimensional development of a human-eye precursor from human stem cells

Dr. Yoshiki Sasai, a Japanese ophthalmologist at the Riken Center for developmental Biology, Kobè Japan, has successfully grown three dimensional human-eye precursor from stem cells. This remarkable feat has raised hopes enabling eye surgeons repair the damaged eyes in the clinic in the future. The news about this scientific breakthrough has been published in the 15th June issue of Nature. Sasai has developed a 550 μ diameter structure what he calls an optic cup containing multiple layers of photoreceptor-rich retinal cells. What is most exciting thing about this discovery is that the optic cup developed de novo without any extra input from Sasai and his team. Like many discoveries, it was an accidental one. For the first time any stem cell researcher succeeded to grow mouse embryonic stem cells into a well-organized, three-dimensional cerebral-cortex, pituitary-gland and optic-cup tissue. What is more remarkable is that Sasai and his team obtained this incredible results using human cells. They have demonstrated that a ball of epithelial tissue cells developing from retinal precursor cells spontaneously form a ball of epithelial tissue cells. A bubble-like structure called an eye vesicle then bulges outwards. That flexible structure then folds back on itself to form a pouch resulting in the formation of an optic cup consisting of the retinal epithelium (an outer wall) and an inner wall comprising layers of retinal layers containing photo-receptors, bipolar- and ganglion cells.

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