Stem cells: potential source for retinal repair and regeneration

Arq Bras Oftalmol. 2007 Mar-Apr;70(2):371-5.
Stem cells: potential source for retinal repair and regeneration.
Torquetti L, Castanheira P, de Góes AM, Marcio N.
Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, MG, Brasil.
Stem cells have been studied in several fields of Medicine, and their applications are not too far from the clinical practice. Retinal impairment by neuronal death has been considered incurable due to the limited regenerative capacity of the central nervous system. The capacity of stem cells to regenerate tissues, as well as their plasticity makes them a potential source for retinal repair. The stem cells are a great promise for the therapy of inherited retinal disorders and retinal-neuronal degenerative diseases, such as retinitis pigmentosa and allied retinal dystrophies, which can result in blindness. Because of the accessibility, expansibility, and multipotentiality mesenchymal stem cells are expected to be useful for clinical applications, especially in regenerative medicine and tissue engineering. Mesenchymal stem cells are clonogenic, nonhematopoietic stem cellspresent in the bone marrow. Given the appropriate microenvironment, they could differentiate into cardiomyocytes or even into cells of nonmesodermal derivation including hepatocytes and neurons. So far, the results of a few studies are consistent with the belief that cell-based therapies using mesenchymal stem cells may be effective when it comes to retinal damaged tissue repair.