In situ cell reprogramming is an interesting approach to the treatment of degenerative blindness conditions in which photoreceptor cells are lost, but the retinal structure is otherwise largely intact. A number of demonstrations have been carried out in the past five years, in cell cultures and in mice. Here is the latest example of this line of work, in which preliminary evidence indicates that some degree of vision is restored. It is of course not all that easy to determine the quality of vision obtained in mice though any successful therapy for blindness; light sensitivity is one thing, but what exactly do they see in this scenario? Those quantifying efforts still lie ahead.
In vertebrates, Müller glia cells are the most common type of non-neuronal cells found in the retina and provide structural and functional stability for photoreceptor rods and cones. In cold-blooded vertebrates, such as zebrafish, Müller glia act as retinal stem cells, multiplying after retinal injury and reprogramming themselves as photoreceptor cells to replace damaged ones. In mammals, however, Müller glia cells do not spontaneously reprogram themselves into stem cells and then photoreceptor cells to replace damaged ones after injury.
Based on the data
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