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Abstract #1949

Diffusion Tensor Imaging Tracks Repair of Retinal Pigment Epithelium (RPE) Layer using Hematopoietic Stem Cells in Mice

Saurav Chandra1, Sergio Caballero2, Maria B. Grant2, John R. Forder1,3

1Biomedical Engineering, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, United States; 2Pharmacology, University of Florida; 3Radiology, University of Florida

The study aims to restore visual function in mice impaired by retinal degeneration by using hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) to repair the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) layer. HSCs expressing the gene RPE65 were successful in differentiating into RPE cells and proliferating to the specific site to restore the RPE layer. Diffusion tensor imaging successfully visualized differences between repaired and unrepaired RPE layers in mice. Fractional anisotropy (FA) was observed to markedly higher in repaired retinas (as is the case in any structured anatomy) compared to unrepaired retinas which had a depleted RPE layer.