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Retinal Ciliopathies and Potential Gene Therapies

Publicatiejaar 2024
Gepubliceerd in International Journal of Molecular Sciences
Auteur(s) Andrew McDonald, Jan Wijnholds

The human photoreceptor function is dependent on a highly specialised cilium. Perturbation of cilial function can often lead to death of the photoreceptor and loss of vision. Retinal ciliopathies are a genetically diverse range of inherited retinal disorders affecting aspects of the photoreceptor cilium. Despite advances in the understanding of retinal ciliopathies utilising animal disease models, they can often lack the ability to accurately mimic the observed patient phenotype, possibly due to structural and functional deviations from the human retina. Human-induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) can be utilised to generate an alternative disease model, the 3D retinal organoid, which contains all major retinal cell types including photoreceptors complete with cilial structures. These retinal organoids facilitate the study of disease mechanisms and potential therapies in a human-derived system. Three-dimensional retinal organoids are still a developing technology, and despite impressive progress, several limitations remain. This review will discuss the state of hiPSC-derived retinal organoid technology for accurately modelling prominent retinal ciliopathies related to genes, including RPGR, CEP290, MYO7A, and USH2A. Additionally, we will discuss the development of novel gene therapy approaches targeting retinal ciliopathies, including the delivery of large genes and gene-editing techniques.

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