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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 492376, 14 pages
Research Article

Functional and Molecular Characterization of Ex Vivo Cultured Epiretinal Membrane Cells from Human Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy

1Stem Cells and Eye Research Laboratory, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Medical and Health Science Center, Faculty of Medicine, University of Debrecen, Debrecen H-4010, Hungary
2Eye Hospital, University Medical Centre Ljubljana, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
3Department of Ophthalmology, University of Szeged, H-6720, Hungary

Received 3 July 2013; Revised 13 August 2013; Accepted 15 August 2013

Academic Editor: Daniel Petrovič

Copyright © 2013 Zoltán Veréb et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Characterization of the cell surface marker phenotype of ex vivo cultured cells growing out of human fibrovascular epiretinal membranes (fvERMs) from proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) can give insight into their function in immunity, angiogenesis, and retinal detachment. FvERMs from uneventful vitrectomies due to PDR were cultured adherently ex vivo. Surface marker analysis, release of immunity- and angiogenesis-pathway-related factors upon TNFα activation and measurement of the intracellular calcium dynamics upon mechano-stimulation using fluorescent dye Fura-2 were all performed. FvERMs formed proliferating cell monolayers when cultured ex vivo, which were negative for endothelial cell markers (CD31, VEGFR2), partially positive for hematopoietic- (CD34, CD47) and mesenchymal stem cell markers (CD73, CD90/Thy-1, and PDGFRβ), and negative for CD105. CD146/MCAM and CD166/ALCAM, previously unreported in cells from fvERMs, were also expressed. Secretion of 11 angiogenesis-related factors (DPPIV/CD26, EG-VEGF/PK1, ET-1, IGFBP-2 and 3, IL-8/CXCL8, MCP-1/CCL2, MMP-9, PTX3/TSG-14, Serpin E1/PAI-1, Serpin F1/PEDF, TIMP-1, and TSP-1) were detected upon TNFα activation of fvERM cells. Mechano-stimulation of these cells induced intracellular calcium propagation representing functional viability and role of these cells in tractional retinal detachment, thus serving as a model for studying tractional forces present in fvERMs in PDR ex vivo.