Lens regeneration using endogenous stem cells with gain of visual function

Haotian Lin, Hong Ouyang, Jie Zhu, Shan Huang, Zhenzhen Liu, Shuyi Chen, Guiqun Cao, Gen Li, Robert A J Signer, Yanxin Xu, Christopher Chung, Ying Zhang, Danni Lin, Sherrina Patel, Frances Wu, Huimin Cai, Jiayi Hou, Cindy Wen, Maryam Jafari, Xialin LiuLixia Luo, Jin Zhu, Austin Qiu, Rui Hou, Baoxin Chen, Jiangna Chen, David Granet, Christopher Heichel, Fu Shang, Xuri Li, Michal Krawczyk, Dorota Skowronska-Krawczyk, Yujuan Wang, William Shi, Daniel Chen, Zheng Zhong, Sheng Zhong, Liangfang Zhang, Shaochen Chen, Sean J. Morrison, Richard L. Maas, Kang Zhang, Yizhi Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations

Abstract

The repair and regeneration of tissues using endogenous stem cells represents an ultimate goal in regenerative medicine. To our knowledge, human lens regeneration has not yet been demonstrated. Currently, the only treatment for cataracts, the leading cause of blindness worldwide, is to extract the cataractous lens and implant an artificial intraocular lens. However, this procedure poses notable risks of complications. Here we isolate lens epithelial stem/progenitor cells (LECs) in mammals and show that Pax6 and Bmi1 are required for LEC renewal. We design a surgical method of cataract removal that preserves endogenous LECs and achieves functional lens regeneration in rabbits and macaques, as well as in human infants with cataracts. Our method differs conceptually from current practice, as it preserves endogenous LECs and their natural environment maximally, and regenerates lenses with visual function. Our approach demonstrates a novel treatment strategy for cataracts and provides a new paradigm for tissue regeneration using endogenous stem cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)323-328
Number of pages6
JournalNature
Volume531
Issue number7594
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 17 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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