Müller Glia-Mediated Retinal Regeneration

Mol Neurobiol. 2021 May;58(5):2342-2361. doi: 10.1007/s12035-020-02274-w. Epub 2021 Jan 8.


Müller glia originate from neuroepithelium and are the principal glial cells in the retina. During retinal development, Müller glia are one of the last cell types to be born. In lower vertebrates, such as zebrafish, Müller glia possess a remarkable capacity for retinal regeneration following various forms of injury through a reprogramming process in which endogenous Müller glia proliferate and differentiate into all types of retinal cells. In mammals, Müller glia become reactive in response to damage to protect or to further impair retinal function. Although mammalian Müller glia have regenerative potential, it is limited as far as repairing damaged retina. Lessons learned from zebrafish will help reveal the critical mechanisms involved in Müller glia reprogramming. Progress has been made in triggering Müller glia to reprogram and generate functional neurons to restore vision in mammals indicating that Müller glia reprogramming may be a promising therapeutic strategy for human retinal diseases. This review comprehensively summarizes the mechanisms related to retinal regeneration in model animals and the critical advanced progress made in Müller glia reprogramming in mammals.

Keywords: Advanced progress; Mechanisms; Müller glia reprogramming; Retinal regeneration.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Proliferation / physiology
  • Ependymoglial Cells / physiology*
  • Nerve Regeneration / physiology*
  • Retina / cytology*
  • Zebrafish