Allogeneic iPSC-derived RPE cell graft failure following transplantation into the subretinal space in nonhuman primates

Trevor J. McGill, Jonathan Stoddard, Auren M. Renner, Ilhem Messaoudi, Kapil Bharti, Shoukhrat Mitalipov, Andreas Lauer, David J. Wilson, Martha Neuringer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


PURPOSE. To characterize the intraocular immune response following transplantation of iPSderived allogeneic RPE cells into the subretinal space of non–immune-suppressed rhesus macaques. METHODS. GFP-labeled allogeneic iPS-derived RPE cells were transplanted into the subretinal space of one eye (n = 6), and into the contralateral eye 1 day to 4 weeks later, using a twostage transretinal and transscleral approach. Retinas were examined pre- and post-surgery by color fundus photography, fundus autofluorescence, and optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging. Animals were euthanized between 2 hours and 7 weeks following transplantation. T-cell (CD3), B-cell (CD20), and microglial (Iba1) responses were assessed immunohistochemically. RESULTS. Cells were delivered into the subretinal space in all eyes without leakage into the vitreous. Transplanted RPE cells were clearly visible at 4 days after surgery but were no longer detectable by 3 weeks. In localized areas within the bleb containing transplanted cells, T- and B-cell infiltrates and microglia were observed in the subretinal space and underlying choroid. A T-cell response predominated at 4 days, but converted to a B-cell response at 3 weeks. By 7 weeks, few infiltrates or microglia remained. Host RPE and choroid were disrupted in the immediate vicinity of the graft, with fibrosis in the subretinal space. CONCLUSIONS. Engraftment of allogeneic RPE cells failed following transplantation into the subretinal space of rhesus macaques, likely due to rejection by the immune system. These data underscore the need for autologous cell sources and/or confirmation of adequate immune suppression to ensure survival of transplanted RPE cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1374-1383
Number of pages10
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2018


  • Allogeneic RPE
  • Cell transplantation
  • Graft failure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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