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And the Oscar goes to...

Updated: May 17, 2019

A professional filming crew visited our lab today to film our new “Primary Cell Cultures from the Mouse Retinal Pigment Epithelium” manuscript.

The retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) is a highly polarized multi-functional epithelium that is located between the neural retina and the choroid of the eye. It is a single sheet of pigmented cells that are hexagonally packed and connected by tight junctions. The main functions of the RPE include absorption of light, phagocytosis of the shed photoreceptor outer segments, spatial buffering of ions, transport of nutrients, ions and water as well as active involvement in the visual cycle. With such important and diverse functions, it is critically important to study the biology of RPE cells. A number of RPE cell lines have been established; however, passaged and immortalized cells are known to quickly lose some of the morphological and physiological characteristics of natural RPE cells. Thus, primary cells are more suitable for studying different aspects of RPE cell biology and function. Mouse primary RPE cell culture is very useful to researchers since mouse models are widely used in biological studies, however collecting RPE cells from mouse is also very challenging due to their small size. Here, we present a protocol for establishing primary mouse RPE cell cultures which includes enucleation and dissection of the eyes and isolation of the RPE sheets to yield the cells for culturing. This method enables efficient cell recovery. The RPE cells obtained from two mice can reach confluency on one 12 mm polyester membrane insert pre-loaded in culture plate after one week of culture and display some of the original properties of bona fide RPE cells such as hexagonal shape and pigmentation after two weeks of culture.

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