Human neural retinal transplantation

M. S. Humayun, Jr De Juan E., M. Del Cerro, G. Dagnelie, W. Radner, S. R. Sadda, C. Del Cerro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

110 Scopus citations


Purpose. A pilot study of human neural retinal transplantation was undertaken to investigate three major issues: whether a safe surgical procedure could be devised for transplantation of neural retinal tissue into the subretinal space, whether the transplant would be accepted in the subretinal space, and whether an improvement in vision could be achieved. Methods. Eight patients with bare light perception (LP) vision due to retinitis pigmentosa (RP) and one patient with bare LP vision due to advanced neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD) received subretinal transplants of human fetal retinal microaggregate suspensions without postoperative systemic immunosuppression. The patient with AMD also received a fetal retinal sheet transplant. The ages of the patients ranged from 31 to 94 years (median, 55 years). The pre- and postoperative evaluations included visual function testing, detailed fundus examinations, fundus photography, fluorescein angiography, macular perimetry using a scanning laser ophthalmoscope (SLO), and full field and focal electroretinograms (ERGs). Results. Three of the eight RP patients demonstrated possible improved light sensitivity during the initial months of follow-up. However, visual improvement disappeared between 3 and 13 months of follow-up. After transplantation, no subject showed any changes in the ERG recordings or SLO macular perimetry relative to their preoperative baseline. No patient experienced a retinal detachment, infection, or extensive bleeding. None of the patients developed retinal vasculitis or intraocular inflammation. In one RP patient, fluorescein angiography and fundus photography documented the formation and maturation of new host retinal vessels in the area of the transplant. Conclusions. Transplantation of fetal retinal photoreceptor suspensions into the subretinal space was achieved safely in nine subjects. Although a definite positive effect on visual function could not be demonstrated, the apparent high tolerance for graft tissue is promising for future efforts in the field of neural retinal transplantation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3100-3106
Number of pages7
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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