Reproducing a Retinal Disease on a Chip
Approximately 80% of all sensory input is received via the eyes, so suffering from chronic retinal diseases that lead to blindness causes a significant decrease in the quality of life (QOL). And because retinal diseases are most common among the elderly, developing pathological analyses and treatments for retinal diseases has become an urgent issue in super-aging countries such as Japan.
Although evaluation of drug candidates against retinal diseases has been done on animal models, serious concerns arise regarding the ethics and costs in addition to the limitations of translating data from animal models to clinical settings.
In vitro cell culture models, an alternative to animal models, enable researchers to investigate specific molecules-of-interest and simply recapitulate complex and chronic conditions. Although studies on organ-on-a-chip for drug discovery have recently been extensively carried out, the organ-on-a-chip approach that targets the ocular tissues has been rarely investigated.
A joint research team from the Graduate Schools of Engineering and Medicine at Tohoku University has recapitulated a pathological condition of retinal diseases on a chip. They first cultured human retinal cells and vascular endothelial cells, mimicking the outermost structure of the retina.
When retinal cells were exposed to hypoglycemic and hypoxic conditions after the cells had grown up, endothelial cells were found to migrate to the side of retinal cells to damage them. This process partially recapitulates neovascularization in wet-type age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
The research team believes the developed organ-on-a-chip could be used for disease modeling and drug screening as an alternative to animal models.
This article has been republished from materials provided by Tohoku University. Note: material may have been edited for length and content. For further information, please contact the cited source.
Chen, L., Ito, S., Kai, H., Nagamine, K., Nagai, N., Nishizawa, M., . . . Kaji, H. (2017). Microfluidic co-cultures of retinal pigment epithelial cells and vascular endothelial cells to investigate choroidal angiogenesis. Scientific Reports, 7(1). doi:10.1038/s41598-017-03788-5
Whole-Brain Map of Memory Circuits Constructed from Human DataNews
The work elucidates the way different regions of the brain communicate during cognitive processes like memory formation.READ MORE
New Simple Test Could Help Cystic Fibrosis Patients Find Best TreatmentNews
In a significant step toward personalized medicine for cystic fibrosis, a minimally-invasive technique shows promise as a fast, inexpensive indicator to help more patients access new treatments.READ MORE
Long-Term Negative Physical and Mental Health Effects Associated With Disordered EatingNews
Findings from large twin study show disordered eating among 24-year-old women and men was an indicator of higher body weight, larger waist circumference, and lower psychological well-being ten years later.READ MORE