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Lookup NU author(s): Dr Sajjad Ahmad
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Approximately 6 million people worldwide are suffering from severe visual impairments or blindness due to corneal diseases. Corneal allogeneic transplantation is often required to restore vision; however, shortage in corneal grafts and immunorejections remain major challenges. The molecular basis of corneal diseases is poorly understood largely due to lack of appropriate cellular models. Here, we described a robust differentiation of human-induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) derived from hair follicles or skin fibroblasts into corneal epithelial-like cells. We found that BMP4, coupled with corneal fibroblast-derived conditioned medium and collagen IV allowed efficient corneal epithelial commitment of hiPSCs in a manner that recapitulated corneal epithelial lineage development with high purity. Organotypic reconstitution assays suggested the ability of these cells to stratify into a corneal-like epithelium. This model allowed us identifying miR-450b-5p as a molecular switch of Pax6, a major regulator of eye development. miR-450b-5p and Pax6 were reciprocally distributed at the presumptive epidermis and ocular surface, respectively. miR-450b-5p inhibited Pax6 expression and corneal epithelial fate in vitro, altogether, suggesting that by repressing Pax6, miR-450b-5p triggers epidermal specification of the ectoderm, while its absence allows ocular epithelial development. Additionally, miR-184 was detectable in early eye development and corneal epithelial differentiation of hiPSCs. The knockdown of miR-184 resulted in a decrease in Pax6 and K3, in line with recent findings showing that a point mutation in miR-184 leads to corneal dystrophy. Altogether, these data indicate that hiPSCs are valuable for modeling corneal development and may pave the way for future cell-based therapy. STEM CELLS 2012;30:898909
Author(s): Shalom-Feuerstein R, Serror L, Divonne SD, Petit I, Aberdam E, Camargo L, Damour O, Vigouroux C, Solomon A, Gaggioli C, Itskovitz-Eldor J, Ahmad S, Aberdam D
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Journal: Stem Cells
Print publication date: 01/05/2012
ISSN (print): 1066-5099
ISSN (electronic): 1549-4918
Publisher: AlphaMed Press, Inc.
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