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ATLA - ISI
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Alternatives to Laboratory Animals - ATLA

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Retinal Müller Cell Culture


Tarja Toimela, Hanna Mäenpää and Hanna Tähti

A mini-review is presented of the current techniques for maintaining Müller cells in a culture. Within the retina, Müller cells are the predominant glial cells. These highly specialised cells extend over the entire neural retina. One of the most important of the various physiological functions of Müller cells is to regulate the balance of ions and neurotransmitters in the retina. Disturbance of these regulatory functions may lead to toxic effects on receptor and other neural cells in the neuroretina, and may be a common mechanism of clinical retinal neuropathy. The main excitatory neurotransmitter in the retina is glutamate. Müller cells regulate the amount of glutamate in the synaptic regions of the neural network in the retina. Accumulation of extra glutamate seems to be an important mechanism for initiating pathological changes leading to retinal damage. Many previous in vitro studies on the role of Müller cells in retinal toxicology have been based on the use of morphological and histochemical methods. In cell toxicology studies, it is important to develop culture techniques able to provide more cells for biochemical determinations.