Document Type

Article Presentation

Original Publication Date


Date of Submission

October 2021


The investigators reviewed the origin, morphology, and function of the three main classes of glia within the retina. Muller cells ensheath neurons and blood vessels within its functional unit. Astrocytes mediate the blood-retina barrier as well form a network of glial cells called the pangial syncytium, which diffuses excess potassium ions to potassium-deficient areas. Microglia play the role of immunosurveillance through long-fine processes which turn into short, thick processes upon activation. Although these glial cells play roles ancillary to light processing, these glial cells can also play more direct roles in processing. For example, Muller cells are believed to direct light to photoreceptors within its functional unit. There is evidence to show that astrocytes interface with neurons at the synapse. Microglia eliminate dysfunctional synapses for the formation of neural networks. The roles of these glial cells can also overlap. Several glial cell types release neurotrophic factors to aid in nerve repair and regeneration. Additionally, all three cell types can invoke an immune response. It becomes clear that glial cells have direct and indirect roles in light processing in the retina.


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