What is it about?

In preclinical tests for understanding age-related macular degeneration, we usually rely on eye imaging and examining transplanted cells under a microscope. But these methods don't give us a detailed look at how genes in individual cells change. In this study, we transplanted retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells into rabbits and used a technique called single-cell RNA sequencing to analyze gene expression. We found that the transplanted cells matured and became more like natural human RPE cells. We also identified certain genes that were activated during transplantation, which might help the RPE cells function properly in the retina and survive. These findings provide valuable information about how RPE cells behave after transplantation, and they could have important implications for using cell-based therapy to treat age-related macular degeneration.

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Why is it important?

In the pursuit of a deeper understanding, we embarked on a journey to unravel the fate of transplanted RPE cells and their impact on transplantation outcomes. What happens to these cells after transplantation? How do they contribute to restoring vision? These questions have long puzzled scientists and clinicians alike. Utilizing the cutting-edge single-cell RNA sequencing technology, our research has shed light on the transformation of transplanted RPE cells. The results are nothing short of remarkable! We have observed a remarkable maturation process, as the transplanted cells adopt the characteristics of native adult human RPE cells. Not only that, but they also begin expressing crucial genes vital to their role in the eye. Our findings offer tremendous hope for the future of AMD treatment. By comprehending the intricate mechanisms underlying RPE cell transplantation, we pave the way for enhanced treatment outcomes and improved vision restoration in patients battling this debilitating condition.


With the advent of single-cell omics, I hope it pushes more groups to utilize this remarkable technology to study individual cells after transplantation. The discoveries can shed light into cell therapy outcomes and pave the way for enhanced therapies.

Bhav Parikh

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Single-cell transcriptomics reveals maturation of transplanted stem cell–derived retinal pigment epithelial cells toward native state, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, June 2023, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2214842120.
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