Publications by authors named "Giuliana Gagliardi"

8 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Implications of genetic variation in the complement system in age-related macular degeneration.

Prog Retin Eye Res 2021 Feb 19:100952. Epub 2021 Feb 19.

Department of Ophthalmology, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behavior, Radboud University Medical Center, 6525, GA, Nijmegen, the Netherlands; Department of Human Genetics, Radboud University Medical Center, 6525, GA, Nijmegen, the Netherlands. Electronic address:

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the main cause of vision loss among the elderly in the Western world. While AMD is a multifactorial disease, the complement system was identified as one of the main pathways contributing to disease risk. The strong link between the complement system and AMD was demonstrated by genetic associations, and by elevated complement activation in local eye tissue and in the systemic circulation of AMD patients. Several complement inhibitors have been and are being explored in clinical trials, but thus far with limited success, leaving the majority of AMD patients without treatment options to date. This indicates that there is still a gap of knowledge regarding the functional implications of the complement system in AMD pathogenesis and how to bring these towards clinical translation. Many different experimental set-ups and disease models have been used to study complement activation in vivo and in vitro, and recently emerging patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells and genome-editing techniques open new opportunities to study AMD disease mechanisms and test new therapeutic strategies in the future. In this review we provide an extensive overview of methods employed to understand the molecular processes of complement activation in AMD pathogenesis. We discuss the findings, advantages and challenges of each approach and conclude with an outlook on how recent, exciting developments can fill in current knowledge gaps and can aid in the development of effective complement-targeting therapeutic strategies in AMD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.preteyeres.2021.100952DOI Listing
February 2021

Microfluidic organ-on-a-chip model of the outer blood-retinal barrier with clinically relevant read-outs for tissue permeability and vascular structure.

Lab Chip 2021 01 21;21(2):272-283. Epub 2020 Dec 21.

Applied Stem Cell Technologies, Technical Medical Centre, University of Twente, PO Box 217, 7500 AE, Enschede, The Netherlands.

The outer blood-retinal barrier (oBRB) tightly controls the transport processes between the neural tissue of the retina and the underlying blood vessel network. The barrier is formed by the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), its basal membrane and the underlying choroidal capillary bed. Realistic three-dimensional cell culture based models of the oBRB are needed to study mechanisms and potential treatments of visual disorders such as age-related macular degeneration that result from dysfunction of the barrier tissue. Ideally, such models should also include clinically relevant read-outs to enable translation of experimental findings in the context of pathophysiology. Here, we report a microfluidic organ-on-a-chip model of the oBRB that contains a monolayer of human immortalized RPE and a microvessel of human endothelial cells, separated by a semi-permeable membrane. Confluent monolayers of both cell types were confirmed by fluorescence microscopy. The three-dimensional vascular structures within the chip were imaged by optical coherence tomography: a medical imaging technique, which is routinely applied in ophthalmology. Differences in diameters and vessel density could be readily detected. Upon inducing oxidative stress by treating with hydrogen peroxide (HO), a dose dependent increase in barrier permeability was observed by using a dynamic assay for fluorescence tracing, analogous to the clinically used fluorescence angiography. This organ-on-a-chip of the oBRB will allow future studies of complex disease mechanisms and treatments for visual disorders using clinically relevant endpoints in vitro.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/d0lc00639dDOI Listing
January 2021

Generation of a Transplantable Population of Human iPSC-Derived Retinal Ganglion Cells.

Front Cell Dev Biol 2020 27;8:585675. Epub 2020 Oct 27.

Institut de la Vision, Sorbonne Université, INSERM, CNRS, Paris, France.

Optic neuropathies are a major cause of visual impairment due to retinal ganglion cell (RGC) degeneration. Human induced-pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) represent a powerful tool for studying both human RGC development and RGC-related pathological mechanisms. Because RGC loss can be massive before the diagnosis of visual impairment, cell replacement is one of the most encouraging strategies. The present work describes the generation of functional RGCs from iPSCs based on innovative 3D/2D stepwise differentiation protocol. We demonstrate that targeting the cell surface marker THY1 is an effective strategy to select transplantable RGCs. By generating a fluorescent GFP reporter iPSC line to follow transplanted cells, we provide evidence that THY1-positive RGCs injected into the vitreous of mice with optic neuropathy can survive up to 1 month, intermingled with the host RGC layer. These data support the usefulness of iPSC-derived RGC exploration as a potential future therapeutic strategy for optic nerve regeneration.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fcell.2020.585675DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7652757PMC
October 2020

Restoration of visual function by transplantation of optogenetically engineered photoreceptors.

Nat Commun 2019 10 4;10(1):4524. Epub 2019 Oct 4.

Sorbonne Université, Institut de la Vision, INSERM, CNRS, 75012, Paris, France.

A major challenge in the treatment of retinal degenerative diseases, with the transplantation of replacement photoreceptors, is the difficulty in inducing the grafted cells to grow and maintain light sensitive outer segments in the host retina, which depends on proper interaction with the underlying retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). Here, for an RPE-independent treatment approach, we introduce a hyperpolarizing microbial opsin into photoreceptor precursors from newborn mice, and transplant them into blind mice lacking the photoreceptor layer. These optogenetically-transformed photoreceptors are light responsive and their transplantation leads to the recovery of visual function, as shown by ganglion cell recordings and behavioral tests. Subsequently, we generate cone photoreceptors from human induced pluripotent stem cells, expressing the chloride pump Jaws. After transplantation into blind mice, we observe light-driven responses at the photoreceptor and ganglion cell levels. These results demonstrate that structural and functional retinal repair is possible by combining stem cell therapy and optogenetics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-12330-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6778196PMC
October 2019

Reprogramming of Adult Retinal Müller Glial Cells into Human-Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells as an Efficient Source of Retinal Cells.

Stem Cells Int 2019 15;2019:7858796. Epub 2019 Jul 15.

Sorbonne Université, INSERM, CNRS, Institut de la Vision, F-75012 Paris, France.

The reprogramming of human somatic cells to induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) has broad applications in regenerative medicine. The generation of self-organized retinal structures from these iPSCs offers the opportunity to study retinal development and model-specific retinal disease with patient-specific iPSCs and provides the basis for cell replacement strategies. In this study, we demonstrated that the major type of glial cells of the human retina, Müller cells, can be reprogrammed into iPSCs that acquire classical signature of pluripotent stem cells. These Müller glial cell-derived iPSCs were able to differentiate toward retinal fate and generate concomitantly retinal pigmented epithelial cells and self-forming retinal organoid structures containing retinal progenitor cells. Retinal organoids recapitulated retinal neurogenesis with differentiation of retinal progenitor cells into all retinal cell types in a sequential overlapping order. With a modified retinal maturation protocol characterized by the presence of serum and high glucose levels, our study revealed that the retinal organoids contained pseudolaminated neural retina with important features reminiscent of mature photoreceptors, both rod and cone subtypes. This advanced maturation of photoreceptors not only supports the possibility to use 3D retinal organoids for studying photoreceptor development but also offers a novel opportunity for disease modeling, particularly for inherited retinal diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2019/7858796DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6664555PMC
July 2019

Photoreceptor cell replacement in macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa: A pluripotent stem cell-based approach.

Prog Retin Eye Res 2019 07 16;71:1-25. Epub 2019 Mar 16.

Institut de la Vision, Sorbonne Université, INSERM, CNRS, F-75012, Paris, France. Electronic address:

The human retina fails to regenerate and cell-based therapies offer options for treatment of blinding retinal diseases, such as macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa. The last decade has witnessed remarkable advances in generation of retinal cells and retinal tissue from human pluripotent stem cells (PSCs). The development of 3D culture systems allowing generation of human retinal organoids has substantially increased the access to human material for future clinical applications aiming at replacing the lost photoreceptors in retinal degenerative diseases. This review outlines the advances that have been made toward generation and characterization of transplantable photoreceptors from PSCs and summarizes the current status of PSC-based preclinical studies for photoreceptor replacement conducted in animal models. Considering the recent turning point in our understanding of donor photoreceptor integration, this review focuses on the most crucial obstacles that hinder the photoreceptor replacement, discusses the most promising strategies to overcome them in the future, and provides a perspective on the approaching advancement in the application of PSC technology for treatment of photoreceptor degenerative diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.preteyeres.2019.03.001DOI Listing
July 2019

Characterization and Transplantation of CD73-Positive Photoreceptors Isolated from Human iPSC-Derived Retinal Organoids.

Stem Cell Reports 2018 09 9;11(3):665-680. Epub 2018 Aug 9.

Institut de la Vision, Sorbonne Université, INSERM, CNRS, 17, Rue Moreau, Paris 75012, France. Electronic address:

Photoreceptor degenerative diseases are a major cause of blindness for which cell replacement is one of the most encouraging strategies. For stem cell-based therapy using human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs), it is crucial to obtain a homogenous photoreceptor cell population. We confirmed that the cell surface antigen CD73 is exclusively expressed in hiPSC-derived photoreceptors by generating a fluorescent cone rod homeobox (Crx) reporter hiPSC line using CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing. We demonstrated that CD73 targeting by magnetic-activated cell sorting (MACS) is an effective strategy to separate a safe population of transplantable photoreceptors. CD73+ photoreceptor precursors can be isolated in large numbers and transplanted into rat eyes, showing capacity to survive and mature in close proximity to host inner retina of a model of photoreceptor degeneration. These data demonstrate that CD73+ photoreceptor precursors hold great promise for a future safe clinical translation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.stemcr.2018.07.005DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6135113PMC
September 2018

Generation of Storable Retinal Organoids and Retinal Pigmented Epithelium from Adherent Human iPS Cells in Xeno-Free and Feeder-Free Conditions.

Stem Cells 2017 05 20;35(5):1176-1188. Epub 2017 Feb 20.

Institut de la Vision, Sorbonne Universités, INSERM, CNRS UMR 7210, UPMC Univ Paris 06, Paris, France.

Human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) are potentially useful in regenerative therapies for retinal disease. For medical applications, therapeutic retinal cells, such as retinal pigmented epithelial (RPE) cells or photoreceptor precursors, must be generated under completely defined conditions. To this purpose, we have developed a two-step xeno-free/feeder-free (XF/FF) culture system to efficiently differentiate hiPSCs into retinal cells. This simple method, relies only on adherent hiPSCs cultured in chemically defined media, bypassing embryoid body formation. In less than 1 month, adherent hiPSCs are able to generate self-forming neuroretinal-like structures containing retinal progenitor cells (RPCs). Floating cultures of isolated structures enabled the differentiation of RPCs into all types of retinal cells in a sequential overlapping order, with the generation of transplantation-compatible CD73 photoreceptor precursors in less than 100 days. Our XF/FF culture conditions allow the maintenance of both mature cones and rods in retinal organoids until 280 days with specific photoreceptor ultrastructures. Moreover, both hiPSC-derived retinal organoids and dissociated retinal cells can be easily cryopreserved while retaining their phenotypic characteristics and the preservation of CD73 photoreceptor precursors. Concomitantly to neural retina, this process allows the generation of RPE cells that can be effortlessly amplified, passaged, and frozen while retaining a proper RPE phenotype. These results demonstrate that simple and efficient retinal differentiation of adherent hiPSCs can be accomplished in XF/FF conditions. This new method is amenable to the development of an in vitro GMP-compliant retinal cell manufacturing protocol allowing large-scale production and banking of hiPSC-derived retinal cells and tissues. Stem Cells 2017;35:1176-1188.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/stem.2586DOI Listing
May 2017