Scientific reports

Therapeutic efficacy of neural stem cells originating from umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cells in diabetic retinopathy.

PMID 28341839


The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of intravitreal injection of neural stem cells (NSCs) originating from human umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cells (UC-MSCs) on neurodegeneration of diabetic retinopathy (DR) in rats. UC-MSCs were isolated and passaged, followed by induction to NSCs in neural differentiation medium. Four weeks following NSC transplantation, treatment attenuated retinal vascular dysfunction compared with non-treated rats, and BDNF and Thy-1 expression was significantly higher in the treated group than in the control group. Treatment of diabetic rats with NSCs prevented the decrease in BDNF levels caused by diabetes. The average leakage of Evans Blue (EB) dye in the treated group was significantly less than that in the control group. These morphological improvements were accompanied by a restoration of vision, as documented by F-ERG. NSCs originating from MSCs demonstrated a neuroprotective effect by increasing the number of surviving RGCs and significantly reducing the progression of DR. Thus, transplantation of NSCs could be a novel strategy for the treatment of neurodegeneration in DR.