Purpose. To investigate the potential of human trabecular meshwork stem cells (TMSCs) for homing to mouse TM tissue and survival in vivo. Methods. Human TMSCs and fibroblasts were labeled with fluorescent membrane dye DiO and injected into normal mouse anterior chamber. Stem cell and TM cell markers were identified by immunofluorescent staining of cryosections or tissue whole mounts. Apoptosis was determined by TUNEL assay. Replicating and inflammatory cells were detected by bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) incorporation and anti-CD45 staining, respectively. Quantitative RT-PCR detected gene expression of injected cells after isolation by fluorescence activated cell sorting. Intraocular pressure was measured using a TonoLab rebound tonometer. Results. Expanded cultures of DiO-labeled TMSCs expressed stem cell markers preferentially in DiO positive cells, demonstrating a slow-cycling, label-retaining stem cell phenotype. DiO-labeled TMSCs injected into the anterior chamber of normal mice localized primarily in TM, remaining in the tissue at least 4 months. Within 1 week, TM-associated TMSCs began expressing TM marker protein CHI3L1. Fibroblasts injected in mouse anterior chamber showed distributed localization in corneal endothelium, lens epithelium, and TM and did not express CHI3L1. Little apoptosis was detected in injected TM tissue and intraocular pressure was not elevated during the experiment. Dividing cells or CD45-staining cells were not detected after TMSC-injection. Conclusions. Stem cells isolated from human TM and expanded in vitro exhibit the ability to home to the TM and differentiate into TM cells in vivo. Such cells present a potential for development of a novel cell-based therapy for glaucoma.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sensory Systems
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience