The Muller cell: A functional element of the retina

Eric Newman, Andreas Reichenbach

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

708 Scopus citations


Muller cells are the principal glial cells of the retina, assuming many of the functions carried out by astrocytes, oligodendrocytes and ependymal cells in other CNS regions. Muller cells express numerous voltage-gated channels and neurotransmitter receptors, which recognize a variety of neuronal signals and trigger cell depolarization and intracellular Ca2+ waves. In turn, Muller cells modulate neuronal activity by regulating the extracellular concentration of neuroactive substances, including: (1) K+, which is transported via Muller-cell spatial-buffering currents; (2) glutamate and GABA, which are taken up by Muller-cell high-affinity carriers; and (3) H+, which is controlled by the action of Muller-cell Na+-HCO3- co-transport and carbonic anhydrase. The two-way communication between Muller cells and retinal neurons indicates that Muller cells play an active role in retinal function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)307-312
Number of pages6
JournalTrends in Neurosciences
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1996


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