Müller cells in pathological retinal angiogenesis

Transl Res. 2019 May;207:96-106. doi: 10.1016/j.trsl.2018.12.006. Epub 2018 Dec 27.


Müller cells are the major glial cells spanning the entire layer of the retina and maintaining retinal structure. Under pathological conditions, Müller cells are involved in retinal angiogenesis, a process of growing new blood vessels from pre-existing capillaries. In response to hypoxia, high glucose, and inflammation conditions, multiple signaling pathways are activated in Müller cells, followed by the increased production of proangiogenic factors including vascular endothelial growth factor, basic fibroblast growth factor, matrix metalloproteinases, Netrin-4, and angiopoietin-like 4. Expression of antiangiogenic factors is also downregulated in Müller cells. Besides, proliferation and dedifferentiation of Müller cells facilitates retinal angiogenesis. In this review, we summarized molecular mechanisms of Müller cells-related retinal angiogenesis. The potential of Müller cells as a therapeutic target for retinal angiogenesis was also discussed.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Dedifferentiation
  • Ependymoglial Cells / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia / complications
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Models, Biological
  • Retinal Neovascularization / etiology
  • Retinal Neovascularization / pathology*