Single-cell transcriptomic comparison of human fetal retina, hPSC-derived retinal organoids, and long-term retinal cultures

Akshayalakshmi Sridhar, Akina Hoshino, Connor R Finkbeiner, Alex Chitsazan, Li Dai, Alexandra K Haugan, Kayla M Eschenbacher, Dana L Jackson, Cole Trapnell, Olivia Bermingham-McDonogh, Ian Glass, Thomas A Reh
Cell Reports (2020)


To study the development of the human retina, we use single-cell RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) at key fetal stages and follow the development of the major cell types as well as populations of transitional cells. We also analyze stem cell (hPSC)-derived retinal organoids; although organoids have a very similar cellular composition at equivalent ages as the fetal retina, there are some differences in gene expression of particular cell types. Moreover, the inner retinal lamination is disrupted at more advanced stages of organoids compared with fetal retina. To determine whether the disorganization in the inner retina is due to the culture conditions, we analyze retinal development in fetal retina maintained under similar conditions. These retinospheres develop for at least 6 months, displaying better inner retinal lamination than retinal organoids. Our single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) comparisons of fetal retina, retinal organoids, and retinospheres provide a resource for developing better in vitro models for retinal disease.