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Published January 2017 | metadata_only
Journal Article

Temporal expression of CD184(CXCR4) and CD171(L1CAM) identifies distinct early developmental stages of human retinal ganglion cells in embryonic stem cell derived retina


Human retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) derived from pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) have anticipated value for human disease study, drug screening, and therapeutic applications; however, their full potential remains underdeveloped. To characterize RGCs in human embryonic stem cell (hESC) derived retinal organoids we examined RGC markers and surface antigen expression and made comparisons to human fetal retina. RGCs in both tissues exhibited CD184 and CD171 expression and distinct expression patterns of the RGC markers BRN3 and RBPMS. The retinal progenitor cells (RPCs) of retinal organoids expressed CD184, consistent with its expression in the neuroblastic layer in fetal retina. In retinal organoids CD184 expression was enhanced in RGC competent RPCs and high CD184 expression was retained on post-mitotic RGC precursors; CD171 was detected on maturing RGCs. The differential expression timing of CD184 and CD171 permits identification and enrichment of RGCs from retinal organoids at differing maturation states from committed progenitors to differentiating neurons. These observations will facilitate molecular characterization of PSC-derived RGCs during differentiation, critical knowledge for establishing the veracity of these in vitro produced cells. Furthermore, observations made in the retinal organoid model closely parallel those in human fetal retina further validating use of retinal organoid to model early retinal development.

Additional Information

© 2016 Elsevier Ltd. Received 11 March 2016, Revised 29 August 2016, Accepted 14 November 2016, Available online 17 November 2016.

Additional details

August 22, 2023
August 22, 2023