Age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) and diabetic retinopathy (DR) are caused by abnormal choroidal retinal neovascularization that leads to visual loss. Currently there is no treatment available to treat ocular vascular diseases. In 29 July Nature Medicine, Atsushi Otani and colleagues from The Scripps Research Institute, California, US, show that bone marrow–derived stem cells can be used to promote or inhibit retinal angiogenesis in a murine model of retinal degeneration (Nat Med 2002, DOI:10.1038/nm744).

Otani et al. injected adult bone marrow cells capable of differentiating along non-hematopoietic lineages (Lin- HSCs) into neonatal mouse eyes and observed that these cells are extensively and stably incorporated into forming retinal vasculature. When they injected endothelial precursor cells (EPC) enriched HSCs into the eyes of neonatal rd/rd mice, whose vasculature ordinarily degenerates with age, they observed that this treatment rescued and maintained a normal vasculature. In contrast, normal retinal...

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