CRG: Regenerating photoreceptors by reprogramming glial cells

CRG: Regenerating photoreceptors by reprogramming glial cells

News from CRG

Retinitis pigmentosa covers a group of rare genetic disorders that cause retinal degeneration due to a loss of photoreceptors, the specialized cell-sensitive neurons that enable eyesight. The therapeutic approaches currently available for the treatment of this kind of blindness are very limited. Many efforts have been made to block or delay degeneration of photoreceptors. However, to date, very limited success has been obtained in their regeneration in mouse models.

Now, a team of researchers led by Dr Pia Cosma, ICREA research professor at the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in Barcelona, Spain, in collaboration with the Aragon Health Sciences Institute, the University of Zaragoza, and Ferrer International, have identified a route for cell reprogramming to functionally regenerate photoreceptors in a murine model of retinitis pigmentosa.

“Our work demonstrates that it is possible to reprogramme retinal Müller glia cells into neurons, which might represent a therapeutic strategy for reversing retinal degeneration,” states Dr Daniela Sanges, a postdoctoral fellow in Dr Cosma’s laboratory responsible for conducting most of the experiments behind the study.

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Sanges et al. “Reprogramming Müller glia via in vivo cell fusion regenerates murine photoreceptors” The Journal of Clinical Investigation. 2016.