Multipotent cells from mammalian iris pigment epithelium

Maki Asami, Guangwei Sun, Masahiro Yamaguchi, Mitsuko Kosaka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (SciVal)


The regeneration of lens tissue from the iris of newts has become a classical model of developmental plasticity, although little is known about the corresponding plasticity of the mammalian iris. We here demonstrate and characterize multipotent cells within the iris pigment epithelium (IPE) of postnatal and adult rodents. Acutely-isolated IPE cells were morphologically homogeneous and highly pigmented, but some produced neurospheres which expressed markers characteristic of neural stem/progenitor cells. Stem/progenitor cell markers were also expressed in the IPE in vivo both neonatally and into adulthood. Inner and outer IPE layers differentially expressed Nestin (Nes) in a manner suggesting that they respectively shared origins with neural retina (NR) and pigmented epithelial (RPE) layers. Transgenic marking enabled the enrichment of Nes-expressing IPE cells ex vivo, revealing a pronounced capacity to form neurospheres and differentiate into photoreceptor cells. IPE cells that did not express Nes were less able to form neurospheres, but a subset initiated the expression of pan-neural markers in primary adherent culture. These data collectively suggest that discrete populations of highly-pigmented cells with heterogeneous developmental potencies exist postnatally within the IPE, and that some of them are able to differentiate into multiple neuronal cell types.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)433-446
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Issue number1
Early online date23 Dec 2006
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2007


Dive into the research topics of 'Multipotent cells from mammalian iris pigment epithelium'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this