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Neural Regen Res. 2018 Feb;13(2):207-210. doi: 10.4103/1673-5374.226383.

Dyslipidemia modulates Müller glial sensing and transduction of ambient information.

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Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA.
Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences; Department of Bioengineering; Department of Neurobiology & Anatomy, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA.


Unesterified cholesterol controls the fluidity, permeability and electrical properties of eukaryotic cell membranes. Consequently, cholesterol levels in the retina and the brain are tightly regulated whereas depletion or oversupply caused by diet or heredity contribute to neurodegenerative diseases and vision loss. Astroglia play a central role in the biosynthesis, uptake and transport of cholesterol and also drive inflammatory signaling under hypercholesterolemic conditions associated with high-fat diet (diabetes) and neurodegenerative disease. A growing body of evidence shows that unesterified membrane cholesterol modulates the ability of glia to sense and transduce ambient information. Cholesterol-dependence of Müller glia - which function as retinal sentinels for metabolic, mechanical, osmotic and inflammatory signals - is mediated in part by transient receptor potential V4 (TRPV4) channels. Cholesterol supplementation facilitates, whereas depletion suppresses, TRPV4-mediated transduction of temperature and lipid agonists in Müller cells. Acute effects of cholesterol supplementation/depletion on plasma membrane ion channels and calcium homeostasis differ markedly from the effects of chronic dyslipidemia, possibly due to differential modulation of modality-dependent energy barriers associated with the functionality of polymodal channels embedded within lipid rafts. Understanding of cholesterol-dependence of TRP channels is thus providing insight into dyslipidemic pathologies associated with diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and macular degeneration.


Mόller glia; calcium; cholesterol; cyclodextrin; dyslipidemia; retina; transient receptor potential V4

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