Experimental transplantation of human retinal pigment epithelial cells on collagen substrates

Am J Ophthalmol. 1994 Feb 15;117(2):214-21. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9394(14)73079-x.


We studied the use of human retinal pigment epithelial cells cultured on a collagen support as a potential transplantation therapy to replace diseased or damaged retinal pigment epithelium. Using a transvitreal approach, we transplanted human retinal pigment epithelial cells attached to either a sheet of noncross-linked or cross-linked type I collagen into the subretinal space of New Zealand white rabbits, whose eyes lack pigment. Animals were killed after six weeks, and the eyes were fixed for light microscopy. The results demonstrated that, in eyes receiving the noncross-linked collagen support, a layer of pigmented donor retinal pigment epithelium was visible within the subretinal space, with a normal-appearing retina and no evidence of proliferative vitreoretinopathy or graft rejection. We believe this method may be applicable to replace dysfunctional retinal pigment epithelial cells in humans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Transplantation*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Collagen*
  • Fetal Tissue Transplantation*
  • Humans
  • Pigment Epithelium of Eye / cytology*
  • Rabbits
  • Retina / surgery
  • Transplantation, Heterologous


  • Collagen