The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 48: 1003 - 1014 (2004)

Vol 48, Issue 8-9

Special Issue: Eye Development

Retinal stem cells and regeneration

Published: 1 November 2004

Ala Moshiri, Jennie Close and Thomas A. Reh*

Neurobiology and Behavior Program, Department of Biological Structure, Center for Developmental Biology, Health Sciences Center, University of Washington, Seattle WA, USA


The optic vesicle gives rise to several very different epithelial tissues, including the neural retina, the pigmented epithelium, the iris, the ciliary epithelium of the ciliary body and the optic stalk. Retinal regeneration can arise from several different cellular sources; in some species, the process involves interconversion, or transdifferentiation, among cells of the different tissue types. Therefore, prior to a discussion of retinal regeneration, we will briefly discuss current knowledge about the influence of signaling molecules in cell fate determination in ocular tissues. Next, we will detail the evidence for neurogenesis in the mature retina. Lastly, we will describe various types of regenerative phenomena that occur in the retina, from complete regeneration of functional retina in fish and amphibians, to the more limited neuronal production that occurs in avian and mammalian retinas.


stem cell, progenitor, neurogenesis, optic, Müller

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