Suspensions of human embryonic stem cell-derived retinal pigment epithelium (hES-RPE) and human fetal RPE resurface aged and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) Bruch's membrane to a limited degree at day 21 in organ culture. Survival and differentiation of hES-RPE and human fetal RPE on aged or AMD Bruch's membrane are enhanced greatly (200%) if a biologically synthesized extracellular matrix (bovine corneal endothelial cell extracellular matrix) is laid down on Bruch's membrane prior to transplantation. Transplanted RPE survival is enhanced even more (400-1,000%) if Bruch's membrane is treated with bovine corneal endothelial cell-conditioned medium during organ culture of hES-RPE or fetal RPE on aged or AMD Bruch's membrane. Future efforts are focused on identifying the bioactive components of bovine corneal endothelial cell-conditioned medium, so that this material can be reconstituted for clinical use as an adjunct to improve RPE transplant survival and differentiation in AMD eyes.
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