Müller glia as an active compartment modulating nervous activity in the vertebrate retina: neurotransmitters and trophic factors

Neurochem Res. 2008 Aug;33(8):1466-74. doi: 10.1007/s11064-008-9604-1. Epub 2008 Feb 14.


Müller cells represent the main type of glia present in the retina interacting with most, if not all neurons in this tissue. Müller cells have been claimed to function as optic fibers in the retina delivering light to photoreceptors with minimal distortion and low loss [Franze et al (2007) Proc Natl Acad Sci 104:8287-8292]. Most of the mediators found in the brain are also detected in the retinal tissue, and glia cells are active players in the synthesis, release, signaling and uptake of major mediators of synaptic function. Müller glia trophic factors may regulate many different aspects of neuronal circuitry during synaptogenesis, differentiation, neuroprotection and survival of photoreceptors, Retinal Ganglion Cells (RGCs) and other targets in the retina. Here we review the role of several transmitters and trophic factors that participate in the neuron-glia loop in the retina.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dopamine / metabolism
  • Glutamic Acid / metabolism
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism*
  • Neuroglia / cytology
  • Neuroglia / metabolism*
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / metabolism*
  • Purines / metabolism
  • Retina / cytology*
  • Retina / metabolism
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / metabolism


  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • Purines
  • Glutamic Acid
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • Dopamine