British scientists grow ‘eyes in a test tube’

(ORDO NEWS) — Doctors have created retinal organelles from stem cells obtained both from healthy people and from patients suffering from hereditary deafblindness.

This allows for a better understanding of how retinal degradation develops and offers hope for the development of treatments for genetic visual impairments.

Scientists from University College London managed to obtain eye organelles from donor skin cells. Such models of a full-fledged organ “in vitro” will allow the study of severe visual impairment.

In recent years, doctors have learned how to obtain organelles from a wide variety of tissues and organs, including even the brain and associated eye cups. Now the retina has been added to this list.

To create it, skin cells turned into induced pluripotent cells were used . Such stem cells can develop into any mature and specialized cells.

In the case described, scientists obtained light-sensitive rods from them and managed to organize structures similar to the retina of the eye.

The authors plan to use these organoids to study Usher syndrome , a severe genetic disease that causes deafness and retinal degeneration, eventually leading to deaf-blindness.

Scientists have already obtained models of the retina from both healthy donors and from patients with this syndrome, carrying the corresponding “wrong” DNA.

Now the researchers are going to compare the expression of their genes in order to better understand how vision degradation occurs in patients.

Already the first experiments showed that Muller cells, which support the work of the retina, are involved in the development of this process.

In people with Usher syndrome, these cells are characterized by an abnormal response to stress and impaired protein utilization mechanisms.

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