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Retinal Stem Cell Markers

Ocular diseases such as age-related macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa are characterized by progressive vision loss due to retinal neuron cell death. The ability to identify and modulate adult retinal stem cell populations may allow researchers to establish models of stem cell-facilitated retinal regeneration. Retinal regeneration is known to occur in teleost fish, amphibians, and birds, due to the proliferation and differentiation of retinal stem cells located within the ciliary marginal zone. Multipotent retinal stem cells can be identified by the expression of transcription factors such as Pax6 and CRX. The existence of mammalian retinal stem cells in vivo remains an active area of investigation. Studies suggest that Müller glia may be a relevant mammalian retinal stem cell population. Müller stem cells have unlimited proliferation capacity in vivo, express stem-like markers (SOX2 and Notch-1), and are capable of generating retinal neurons.