Current Ophthalmology Reports

, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 21–29 | Cite as

Adult Stem Cells, Tools for Repairing the Retina

  • Afnan M. Aladdad
  • Karl E. KadorEmail author
Regenerative Medicine in Ophthalmology (D Myung, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Regenerative Medicine in Ophthalmology


Purpose of Review

Retinal degenerative diseases lead to the death of retinal neurons causing visual impairment and blindness. In lower order vertebrates, the retina and its surrounding tissue contain stem-cell niches capable of regenerating damaged tissue. Here, we examine these niches and review their capacity to be used as retinal stem/progenitor cells (RSCs/RPCs) for retinal repair.

Recent Findings

Exogenous factors can control the in vitro activation of RSCs/PCs found in several niches within the adult eye including cells in the ciliary margin, the retinal pigment epithelium, iris pigment epithelium, as well as the inducement of Müller and amacrine cells within the neural retina itself. Recently, factors have been identified for the activation of adult mammalian Müller cells to a RPC state in vivo.


Whereas cell transplantation still holds potential for retinal repair, activation of the dormant native regeneration process may lead to a more successful process including greater integration efficiency and proper synaptic targeting.


Retinal stem cells niche Retinal regeneration Retinal adult stem cells 


Funding Information

The authors were supported by a grant from the NIH (R01-EY028956 to KEK) and startup funds from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine and Vision Research Center (KEK).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Ophthalmology and Department of Biomedical SciencesUniversity of Missouri - Kansas City, School of MedicineKansas CityUSA

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