Scientists at University College London Institute of Ophthalmology injected cells from young healthy mice directly into the retinas of adult mice that had night-blindness.
The findings are published in Nature.
The cells transplanted were immature rod-photoreceptor cells, which are especially important for seeing in the dark.
After four to six weeks up to one in six of the transplanted cells had formed the connections needed to transmit visual information to the brain. The researchers tested the vision of the treated mice in a dimly-lit water maze.
Those mice with transplanted rod cells were able to see a visual cue to find a hidden platform to enable them to get out of the water. This was in contrast to untreated mice who found the platform only by chance after lengthy exploration of the maze.
Areas to think about:
- What obstacles might this method face in the transition from an animal model to a human one?
- What is your position on animal experimentation? Outline the benefits, downsides, and those of key alternatives.