Adult rat hippocampus-derived neural progenitor cells (AHPC) show considerable adaptability following grafting to several brain regions. To evaluate the plasticity of AHPCs within the optic retina, retrovirally engineered AHPCs were grafted into the vitreous cavity of the adult and newborn rat eye. Within the adult eye, AHPCs formed a uniform nondisruptive lamina in intimate contact with the inner limiting membrane. Within 4 weeks of grafting to the developing eye, the AHPCs were well integrated into the retina and adopted the morphologies and positions of Müller, amacrine, bipolar, horizontal, photoreceptor, and astroglial cells. Although the cells expressed neuronal or glial markers, none acquired end-stage markers unique to retinal neurons. This suggests that the adult-derived stem cells can adapt to a wide variety of heterologous environments and express some but not all features of retinal cells when exposed to the cues present late in retinal development.
Copyright 1998 Academic Press.