P3HT:Bebq2-Based Photovoltaic Device Enhances Differentiation of hiPSC-Derived Retinal Ganglion Cells.


Department of Ophthalmology, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei 11217, Taiwan. [Email]


Electric field stimulation is known to affect various cellular processes, including cell fate specification and differentiation, particularly towards neuronal lineages. This makes it a promising therapeutic strategy to stimulate regeneration of neuronal tissues. Retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) is a type of neural cells of the retina responsible for transduction of visual signals from the retina to the brain cortex, and is often degenerated in various blindness-causing retinal diseases. The organic photovoltaic materials such as poly-3-hexylthiophene (P3HT) can generate electric current upon illumination with light of the visible spectrum, and possesses several advantageous properties, including light weight, flexibility and high biocompatibility, which makes them a highly promising tool for electric stimulation of cells in vitro and in vivo. In this study, we tested the ability to generate photocurrent by several formulations of blend (bulk heterojunction) of P3HT (which is electron donor material) with several electron acceptor materials, including Alq3 and bis(10-hydroxybenzo[h]quinolinato)beryllium (Bebq2). We found that the photovoltaic device based on bulk heterojunction of P3HT with Bebq2 could generate photocurrent when illuminated by both green laser and visible spectrum light. We tested the growth and differentiation capacity of human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC)-derived RGCs when grown in interface with such photostimulated device, and found that they were significantly increased. The application of P3HT:Bebq2-formulation of photovoltaic device has a great potential for developments in retinal transplantation, nerve repair and tissue engineering approaches of treatment of retinal degeneration.


induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC),photovoltaic,poly-3-hexylthiophene (P3HT),retinal ganglia cells (RGC),