Successful xenografting of first trimester human fetal CNS tissue and retina has been reported in the literature. We wished to test the feasibility of using the anterior chamber of the rat eye to support the development of more mature human fetal xenografts. Here we report on the successful outcome of human brain and retinal transplants. Adult host rats immunosuppressed with cyclosporin A accepted these xenografts and supported their further development. Periodic examination of the host eyes using a direct ophthalmoscope or an ophthalmic slit lamp permitted direct visual monitoring of the health and growth of the transplants. Histologically it was possible to identify neuronal, macroglial, and microglial (macrophage) cell types within the grafts. Mitotic activity and histogenetic differentiation took place. Blood vessels filled with hematic cells were commonly present within the grafts. The walls of these vessels prevented the leakage of horseradish peroxidase, suggesting the presence of a functional brain-blood barrier in the graft. These results indicate that it is possible to use a small animal model to study normal and pathological phenomena on late fetal human neural tissues. Our group has already taken advantage of the model to achieve HIV infectivity of fetal human brain outside the human body.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology