Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Muller Cells

Muller cells are specialized glial cells that are found in the retina of the human eye. Although they function as any normal glial cells, it has been seen, after an injury to the retina, that Müller cells undergo dedifferentiation into multipotent progenitor cells. At this point, the progenitor cell can divide and differentiate into a number of retinal cell types, including photoreceptor cells, that may have been damaged during injury. Additionally, recently published research has shown that Müller cells act as a light collector in the mammalian eye, analogous to a fiber optic plate, funneling light to the rod and cone cells. Müller cells are currently being studied for their role in neural regeneration, a phenomenon that is not known to occur in humans.

Müller cells are the principal glial cell of the retina. They form architectural support structures stretching radially across the thickness of the retina and are the limits of the retina at the outer and inner limiting membrane respectively. Muller cell bodies sit in the inner nuclear layer and project irregularly thick and thin processes in either direction to the outer limiting membrane and to the inner limiting membrane.