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On authentication of cell lines

Molecular Vision
Publication Date
  • Editorial
  • Biology


THE RGC-5 CELL LINE MAY HAVE NEVER EXISTED The RGC-5 cell line was first described in 2001 as being an immortalized cell line derived from rat retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) [1]. At least 230 articles have been published in which this cell line was used to test hypotheses. Eighteen of these were published in Molecular Vision [2-19]. Work recently published by several of the co-authors of the original RGC-5 paper indicates that the cell line may have never existed outside of the originating laboratory [20]. Cryopreserved RGC-5 passages, some as early as the second passage (P2), were obtained from the originating laboratory. These cells were found to be genetically identical to 661W cells, an immortalized mouse photoreceptor cell line [21] that was in use in the originating laboratory at the time that the RGC-5 cell line was being developed [20]. It is likely that from P2 on, all RGC-5 clones were instead 661W cells [20]. We commend the authors and Investigative Ophthalmology and Vision Science for providing this correction. Previous concerns about the identity of the RGC-5 cell line, some published [22,23], resulted in a policy of Molecular Vision, which was until now: “Cells of questionable characterization cannot be used to test hypotheses specifically concerning retinal ganglion cells. Manuscripts reporting experiments in which putative RGC-5 cells are used must include data that demonstrate that the RGC-5 cells, as used under the culture conditions of the other experiments reported in the manuscript, are of rat origin and express genes and proteins that are specific to retinal ganglion cells (i.e., they should be positive for Thy-1, Brn-3C, Neuritin, NMDA receptor, GABA-B receptor, and synapto- physin expression and negative for GFAP, HPC-1, and 8A1, as reported in Krishnamoorthy et al.)” - from Molecular Vision Instructions to Authors, dated January 1, 2013 to August 23, 2013). This policy has been revised to: “New manuscripts containing data derived

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