Tissue interaction between the retinal pigment epithelium and the choroid triggers retinal regeneration of the newt Cynops pyrrhogaster

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Complete retinal regeneration in adult animals occurs only in certain urodele amphibians, in which the retinal pigmented epithelial cells (RPE) undergo transdifferentiation to produce all cell types constituting the neural retina. A similar mechanism also appears to be involved in retinal regeneration in the embryonic stage of some other species, but the nature of this mechanism has not yet been elucidated. The organ culture model of retinal regeneration is a useful experimental system and we previously reported RPE transdifferentiation of the newt under this condition. Here, we show that cultured RPE cells proliferate and differentiate into neurons when cultured with the choroid attached to the RPE, but they did not exhibit any morphological changes when cultured alone following removal of the choroid. This finding indicates that the tissue interactions between the RPE and the choroid are essential for the former to proliferate. This tissue interaction appears to be mediated by diffusible factors, because the choroid could affect RPE cells even when the two tissues were separated by a membrane filter. RPE transdifferentiation under the organotypic culture condition was abolished by a MEK (ERK kinase) inhibitor, U0126, but was partially suppressed by an FGF receptor inhibitor, SU5402, suggesting that FGF signaling pathway has a central role in the transdifferentiation. While IGF-1 alone had no effect on isolated RPE, combination of FGF-2 and IGF-1 stimulated RPE cell transdifferentiation similar to the results obtained in organ-cultured RPE and choroid. RT-PCR revealed that gene expression of both FGF-2 and IGF-1 is up-regulated following removal of the retina. Thus, we show for the first time that the choroid plays an essential role in newt retinal regeneration, opening a new avenue for understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying retinal regeneration. © 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.




Mitsuda, S., Yoshii, C., Ikegami, Y., & Araki, M. (2005). Tissue interaction between the retinal pigment epithelium and the choroid triggers retinal regeneration of the newt Cynops pyrrhogaster. Developmental Biology, 280(1), 122–132. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ydbio.2005.01.009

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