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Stem Cells Repair Corneal Damage in Mice

Last Updated: April 16, 2009.

Stem cells from human corneas can be used in a mouse model to treat corneal scarring resulting from trauma or inflammation that can lead to blindness, according to a study published online April 9 in Stem Cells.

THURSDAY, April 16 (HealthDay News) -- Stem cells from human corneas can be used in a mouse model to treat corneal scarring resulting from trauma or inflammation that can lead to blindness, according to a study published online April 9 in Stem Cells.

Yiqin Du, M.D., from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and colleagues isolated stem cells from adult human corneal stroma and injected them into the corneal stroma of normal mice and transgenic mice with a scar-like disruption of corneal transparency due to disruption of stromal collagen organization.

The researchers found that the cells remained viable for months and did not elicit an immune response in normal mice. In the mice with corneal opacity, stromal thickness and collagen fibril defects were restored to normal after injection with corneal stromal stem cells. Corneal transparency was identical in the treated mice to normal mice, the authors report.

"These results support the immune-privilege of adult stem cells and the ability of stem cell therapy to regenerate tissue in a manner analogous to organogenesis and clearly different from that of normal wound healing," Du and colleagues conclude. "The results suggest that cell-based therapy can be an effective approach to treatment of human corneal blindness."

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