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Mesenchymal stem cells protect retinal ganglion cells from degeneration via mitochondrial donation

By Dan JIANG, Hong Feng, Zhao Zhang, Bin Yan, Ling Chen, Chuiyan Ma, Cheng Li, Shuo Han, Yuelin Zhang, Peikai Chen, Hung-Fat Tse, Qingling Fu, Kin Chiu, Qizhou Lian

Posted 19 Aug 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/393959

Retinal ganglion cell (RGC) degeneration is extremely hard to repair or regenerate and is often coupled with mitochondrial dysfunction. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs)-based treatment has been demonstrated beneficial for RGC against degeneration. However, underlying mechanisms of MSC-provided RGC protection are largely unknown other than neuropectective paracrine actions. In this study, we sought to investigate whether mitochondrial donation can preserve RGC functions, in a mitochondrial Ndufs4 deficient mouse model of RGC degeneration. The results revealed intravitreal transplanted by induced pluripotent stem cell derived -MSCs (iPSC-MSC) could donate their mitochondria through crossing inner limited membrane to host RGCs. Furthermore, the donated mitochondria effectively protected against RGC death and largely preserved retinal function in Ndufs4-KO mice. Importantly, the protective effects of mitochondrial donation from MSCs were associated with management of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Our data identified a novel role of MSCs-mitochondrial donation in protection of RGC from degeneration, and highlight a viable therapeutic strategy by manipulating stem cell mitochondrial donation for the treatment of retina degeneration in future.

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