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Animal and cellular models of microphthalmia

Harding, P; Cunha, DL; Moosajee, M; (2021) Animal and cellular models of microphthalmia. Therapeutic Advances in Rare Disease , 2 10.1177/2633004021997447. Green open access

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Microphthalmia is a rare developmental eye disorder affecting 1 in 7000 births. It is defined as a small (axial length ⩾2 standard deviations below the age-adjusted mean) underdeveloped eye, caused by disruption of ocular development through genetic or environmental factors in the first trimester of pregnancy. Clinical phenotypic heterogeneity exists amongst patients with varying levels of severity, and associated ocular and systemic features. Up to 11% of blind children are reported to have microphthalmia, yet currently no treatments are available. By identifying the aetiology of microphthalmia and understanding how the mechanisms of eye development are disrupted, we can gain a better understanding of the pathogenesis. Animal models, mainly mouse, zebrafish and Xenopus, have provided extensive information on the genetic regulation of oculogenesis, and how perturbation of these pathways leads to microphthalmia. However, differences exist between species, hence cellular models, such as patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) optic vesicles, are now being used to provide greater insights into the human disease process. Progress in 3D cellular modelling techniques has enhanced the ability of researchers to study interactions of different cell types during eye development. Through improved molecular knowledge of microphthalmia, preventative or postnatal therapies may be developed, together with establishing genotype–phenotype correlations in order to provide patients with the appropriate prognosis, multidisciplinary care and informed genetic counselling. This review summarises some key discoveries from animal and cellular models of microphthalmia and discusses how innovative new models can be used to further our understanding in the future.

Type: Article
Title: Animal and cellular models of microphthalmia
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/2633004021997447
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1177/2633004021997447
Language: English
Additional information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).
Keywords: cells, development, eye, human, iPSC, microphthalmia, mouse, optic vesicles, organoids, Xenopus, zebrafish,
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Institute of Ophthalmology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10170004
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