Title of Oral/Poster Presentation

Ideal Growth Conditions for RPE Cells and the Effects of Environmental Stresses on Cell Viability

Class

Article

Department

Biological and Irrigation Engineering

Faculty Mentor

Elizabeth Vargis

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Abstract

Retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells line the back of the eyeball between the retina and the choroid on Bruch's membrane. These cells provide nutrients to photoreceptors (i. e. rods and cones). Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss in the developed world. This condition begins in early adult hood and progressively worsens as a person ages. AMD may occur when lipids build up in Bruch's membrane, preventing RPEs from providing nutrients to the photo receptors and causing RPE cell death as they cannot dispose of waste products. An in vitro model of RPE cells will allow scientists to study the effects of different stressful environments and how the cells respond. This presentation will discuss two areas of work done in the potential prevention and treatment of AMD. One of the two primary focuses of our research is examining how RPE cells respond to luminosity from handheld electronic devices in order to develop a correlation between luminosity and cell health. The data found from this research can help create a standard of production for technology that helps to limit the progression of AMD. The second pathway focuses on providing an ideal growth environment for RPE cells. These cells are normally hexagonal with close cell junctions and a deep pigment. This research will use spider silk proteins from Dr. Randy Lewis to simulate Bruch's membrane. These proteins are in an aqueous solution which is compatible with additives for enhancing correct cell growth. In addition, the thickness of the spider silk layer will be varied to examine the importance of physiological similarities between the actual and simulated Bruch's membrane. Success of this research could lead to a novel approach to pharmaceutical testing of AMD drugs wherein Bruch's membrane would not inhibit the transfer of medication to RPE cells.

Start Date

4-9-2015 12:00 PM

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Apr 9th, 12:00 PM

Ideal Growth Conditions for RPE Cells and the Effects of Environmental Stresses on Cell Viability

Retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells line the back of the eyeball between the retina and the choroid on Bruch's membrane. These cells provide nutrients to photoreceptors (i. e. rods and cones). Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss in the developed world. This condition begins in early adult hood and progressively worsens as a person ages. AMD may occur when lipids build up in Bruch's membrane, preventing RPEs from providing nutrients to the photo receptors and causing RPE cell death as they cannot dispose of waste products. An in vitro model of RPE cells will allow scientists to study the effects of different stressful environments and how the cells respond. This presentation will discuss two areas of work done in the potential prevention and treatment of AMD. One of the two primary focuses of our research is examining how RPE cells respond to luminosity from handheld electronic devices in order to develop a correlation between luminosity and cell health. The data found from this research can help create a standard of production for technology that helps to limit the progression of AMD. The second pathway focuses on providing an ideal growth environment for RPE cells. These cells are normally hexagonal with close cell junctions and a deep pigment. This research will use spider silk proteins from Dr. Randy Lewis to simulate Bruch's membrane. These proteins are in an aqueous solution which is compatible with additives for enhancing correct cell growth. In addition, the thickness of the spider silk layer will be varied to examine the importance of physiological similarities between the actual and simulated Bruch's membrane. Success of this research could lead to a novel approach to pharmaceutical testing of AMD drugs wherein Bruch's membrane would not inhibit the transfer of medication to RPE cells.