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Chao Dai, Peng T. Khaw, Zheng Qin Yin, Daqing Li, Geoffrey Raisman, Ying Li; Olfactory Ensheathing Cells Rescue Optic Nerve Fibers in a Rat Glaucoma Model. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2012;1(2):3. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.1.2.3.
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To determine if transplantation of olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs) can reduce loss of optic nerve axons after raised intraocular pressure (IOP) in the rat.
OECs cultured from the adult olfactory mucosa were transplanted into the region of the optic disc. The IOP was raised by injection of magnetic microspheres into the anterior chamber.
At 4 weeks after raising the IOP, the transplanted OECs had migrated into the dorsal area of the optic nerve head (ONH) where they surrounded the optic nerve fibers with a non-myelinated ensheathment. The mean amount of damage to the ONH astrocytic area in rats was 51.0% compared with 85.8% in those without OEC transplants (P < 0.02) and the mean loss of axons in the optic nerve was 51.0% compared with 80.3% in the absence of OECs (P < 0.01).
OECs transplanted into the region of the ONH of the rat can reduce the loss of axons and the damage to ONH astrocytes caused by raised IOP.
Confirmation of these preliminary experimental data, further understanding of possible mechanisms of axonal protection by OECs, and the longer-term time course of protection could provide a basis for future human clinical trials of autografted OECs, which would be available from autologous nasal epithelial biopsies.
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