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Retinal stem cells have been isolated from the ciliary epithelium (CE) of the mammalian retina. However, the central neural retina (CNR) lacks the capability to regenerate, a phenomenon retained by lower vertebrates. Mutations in the Chx10 homeobox gene cause reduced proliferation of retinal progenitor cells during development, leading to microphthalmia. Recently, we showed that in Chx10(orJ/orJ) mice, dividing cells persist in the adult CNR, suggesting the existence of a dormant progenitor population. Here, we show that these cells are proliferative and give rise to neurospheres in vitro, a characteristic of neural stem cells. However, these adult-derived CNR progenitors differ from those of the wildtype CE, leading to de-pigmented, larger and more numerous neurospheres expressing Müller glial cell markers. Our results suggest that lack of Chx10 leads to maintenance of a dormant neural progenitor population in the adult CNR. Furthermore, Chx10 is not required for in vitro proliferation of these progenitors.

Original publication




Journal article


Mol Cell Neurosci

Publication Date





359 - 373


Animals, Cell Differentiation, Cell Proliferation, Cell Separation, Cells, Cultured, Homeodomain Proteins, Mice, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Mice, Knockout, Mice, Transgenic, Neurons, Retina, Stem Cells, Transcription Factors