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Yang J.,Columbia University | Yang J.,Tianjin Medical University | Li Y.,Columbia University | Chan L.,Columbia University | And 9 more authors.
Human Molecular Genetics | Year: 2014

While the past decade has seen great progress in mapping loci for common diseases, studying how these risk alleles lead to pathology remains a challenge. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) affects 9 million older Americans, and is characterized by the loss of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). Although the closely linked genome-wide association studies ARMS2/HTRA1 genes, located at the chromosome 10q26 locus, are strongly associated with the risk of AMD, their downstream targets are unknown.Low population frequencies of risk alleles in tissue banks make it impractical to study their function in cells derived from autopsied tissue. Moreover, autopsy eyes from end-stage AMD patients, where age-related RPE atrophy and fibrosis are already present, cannot be used to determine how abnormal ARMS2/HTRA1 expression can initiate RPE pathology. Instead, induced pluripotent stem(iPS) cell-derived RPE from patients provides us with earlier stage AMD patient-specific cells and allowsus toanalyze the underlying mechanisms at this critical time point.An unbiased proteome screen of A2E-aged patient-specific iPS-derived RPE cell lines identified superoxide dismutase 2 (SOD2)-mediated antioxidative defense in the genetic allele's susceptibility of AMD. The AMD-associated risk haplotype (T-in/del-A) impairs the ability of the RPE to defend against aging-related oxidative stress. SOD2 defense is impaired in RPE homozygous for the risk haplotype (T-in/del-A; T-in/del-A), while the effect was less pronounced in RPE homozygous for the protective haplotype (G-Wt-G; G-Wt-G). ARMS2/HTRA1 risk alleles decrease SOD2 defense, making RPE more susceptible to oxidative damage and thereby contributing to AMD pathogenesis. © The Author 2014.Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. Source

Nestor M.W.,The New York Stem Cell Foundation Laboratory | Paull D.,The New York Stem Cell Foundation Laboratory | Jacob S.,The New York Stem Cell Foundation Laboratory | Sproul A.A.,The New York Stem Cell Foundation Laboratory | And 3 more authors.
Stem Cell Research | Year: 2013

Three-dimensional aggregation cultures allow for complex development of differentiated human induced pluripotent stem cells. However, this approach is not easily amenable to live-cell imaging and electrophysiological applications due to the thickness and the geometry of the tissue. Here, we present an improvement on the traditional aggregation method by combining the use of cell culture inserts with serum-free embryoid bodies (SFEBs). The use of this technique allows the structures to maintain their three-dimensional structure while thinning substantially. We demonstrate that this technique can be used for electrophysiological recodings as well as live-cell calcium imaging combined with electrical stimulation, akin to organotypic slice preparations. This provides an important experimental tool that can be used to bridge 3-D structures with traditional monolayer approaches used in stem cell applications. © 2013 Elsevier B.V. Source

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