Purpose: To investigate the capacity of cultured Müller cells to synthesize collagens, since previous studies indicated that Müller cells could be involved in collagen remodeling at the vitreoretinal border in adult human eyes.
Methods: Spontaneously immortalized cultured human Müller cells were analyzed for the presence of mRNA of types I-VII, IX, XI, and XVII collagen by RT-PCR. Furthermore, Müller cells were immunocytochemically stained for light microscopic (LM) evaluation of these collagens and their main characteristics. Finally, cell extracts and culture medium were evaluated by western blot (WB) analysis using anticollagen antibodies.
Results: Cultured Müller cells contained mRNA for types I-VII, IX, and XI collagen, but not for type XVII collagen. LM and WB confirmed the intracellular expression of all the above-mentioned collagens with the exception of type XVII. Collagen secretion into the medium was established for types I-VII, IX, and XI collagen.
Conclusions: Cultured Müller cells can synthesize internal limiting lamina and vitreous collagens. Possible collagen production by Müller cells could explain and expand on previous in vivo morphological findings in the embryonic and postnatal period and in pathologic conditions.