Lin28b stimulates the reprogramming of rat Müller glia to retinal progenitors

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Abstract

In lower-order vertebrates, Müller glia exhibit characteristics of retinal progenitor cells, while in higher vertebrates, such as mammals, the regenerative capacity of Müller glia is limited. Recently, we reported that Lin28b promoted the trans-differentiation of Müller cells to rod photoreceptor and bipolar cells in the retina of retinitis pigmentosa rat model, whereas it is unclear whether Lin28b can stimulate the reprogramming of Müller glia in vitro for transplantation into a damaged retina. In the present study, Long-Evens rat Müller glia were infected with Adeno-Lin28b or Adeno-GFP. Over-expression of Lin28b in isolated rat Müller glia resulted in the suppression of GFAP expression, enhancement of cell proliferation and a significant increase of the expression of retinal progenitor markers 5 days after infection. Moreover, Lin28b caused a significant reduction of the Let-7 family of microRNAs. Following sub-retinal space transplantation, Müller glia-derived retinal progenitors improved b-wave amplification of 30d Royal College of Surgeons retinitis pigmentosa model (RCS-P+) rats, as detected by electroretinography (ERG) recordings. Taken together, these data suggest that the up-regulation of Lin28b expression facilitated the reprogramming of Müller cells toward characteristics of retinal progenitors.

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