Relationship between astrocytes, ganglion cells and vasculature of the retina

J Comp Neurol. 1987 Jan 1;255(1):35-49. doi: 10.1002/cne.902550104.


We have studied the distribution of astrocytes in the ganglion cell and nerve fibre layers of the retina in cat, rat, rabbit, and possum using anti-serum and a monoclonal antibody against glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) and our own monoclonal antibody against glial filaments. The distribution of retinal astrocytes appears to be strongly determined by the vasculature of the retina; astrocytes are absent from almost all the retina of the possum and from the avascular regions of the rabbit retina. In the cat and rabbit, retinal astrocytes also show a strong affinity for the bundles of ganglion cell axons found at the inner surface of the retina. Retinal astrocytes do not invest the somas of ganglion cells, and even in areas of retina in which they are numerous, they are sharply confined to the layer of ganglion cell axons. It is suggested that retinal astrocytes are "immigrant" fibrous astrocytes that enter the retina with its vasculature.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Astrocytes / cytology*
  • Cats
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein / analysis
  • Opossums
  • Rabbits
  • Rats
  • Retina / blood supply
  • Retina / cytology*
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / cytology*
  • Species Specificity


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein