Retinal Muller glia secrete apolipoproteins E and J which are efficiently assembled into lipoprotein particles

Brain Res Mol Brain Res. 1997 Oct 15;50(1-2):113-20. doi: 10.1016/s0169-328x(97)00176-9.


We have shown that apolipoprotein E (ApoE) is synthesized by Muller cells, the major glial cell of the rabbit retina, and secreted into the vitreous after which it is taken up by retinal ganglion cells and rapidly transported into the optic nerve [Amaratunga et al., J. Biol. Chem. 271 (1996) 5628-5632]. In this report we demonstrate that the ApoE secreted by Muller cells in vivo and in culture is efficiently assembled into lipoprotein particles. Apolipoprotein J (ApoJ) is also synthesized by these cells and assembled into lipoprotein particles. The lipoproteins are triglyceride-rich and contain cholesterol esters and free cholesterol. They are heterogeneous, with densities between 1.006 and 1.18 and diameters between 14 and 45 nm. We discuss the possible role of these lipoproteins in supplying the needs of neurons for lipids, especially long axonal projection neurons such as retinal ganglion cells, which are vulnerable to age-related neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer's disease.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apolipoproteins E / metabolism*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Clusterin
  • Glycoproteins / metabolism*
  • Lipoproteins / biosynthesis*
  • Liposomes
  • Male
  • Molecular Chaperones*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism*
  • Neuroglia / metabolism*
  • Rabbits
  • Retina / cytology
  • Retina / metabolism*
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / metabolism


  • Apolipoproteins E
  • Clusterin
  • Glycoproteins
  • Lipoproteins
  • Liposomes
  • Molecular Chaperones
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins