In 1851, Heinrich Müller discovered what he called “radial fibers” and what we now call Müller cells, as the principal glial cells of the vertebrate retina. Later on, other glial cell types were found in the retina, including astrocytes, microglia, and even oligodendrocytes. It turned out that retinal glial cells are essential constituents of the tissue. For instance, Müller cells appear to constitute the “core” of columnar units of clonally and functionally related groups of neurons. Their primary function is to support neuronal functioning by guiding the light towards the photoreceptor cells, removing excess neurotransmitter molecules from extracellular space, and performing efficient clearance of excess extracellular potassium ions. The latter two functions are also crucial for neuronal survival and are coupled to water clearance which is also essential. Müller cells are capable of “sensing” neuronal activity and modifying it by the release of signal substances (gliotransmitters). In cases of retinal injuries the Müller cells become reactive, and all above-mentioned functions are impaired. However, such de-differentiated Müller cells may proliferate, and may even serve as stem cells for the regeneration of a damaged retina. As well as the Müller cells, retinal astrocytes and microglial cells are important players in retinal development and function. This book gives a comprehensive survey of the present knowledge on retinal glia.
Biota Publishing; February 2015
- ISBN 9781615046713
- Read online, or download in secure PDF format
- Title: Retinal Glia
- Author: Andreas Reichenbach; Andreas Bringmann
Imprint: Morgan & Claypool Life Sciences