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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2018 Mar 1;59(3):1666-1674. doi: 10.1167/iovs.17-23293.

Characterization of a Spontaneously Immortalized Murine Müller Glial Cell Line QMMuC-1.

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Wellcome-Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine, Queen's University Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom.



Müller glia are critical for the survival of retinal neurons and the integrity of retinal blood vessels. Müller glial cultures are important tools for investigating Müller glial pathophysiology. Here, we report a spontaneously immortalized Müller glial cell line originally cultured and subsequently cloned from mouse pups. The cell line, Queen's University Murine Müller glia Clone-1 (QMMuC-1), has been cultured for over 60 passages, has morphologic features like primary Müller cell (PMC) cultures and remains stable.


QMMuC-1 and PMC cells were processed for immunohistochemistry, quantitative RT-PCR, Western blotting, whole cell voltage-clamping, and bioenergetic profiling.


Immunocytochemistry showed that QMMuC-1 express known Müller glial markers, including glutamine synthetase, glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), alpha-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA), Aquaporin 4, Kir4.1, interleukin 33 (IL-33), and sex determining region Y (SRY)-box2 (Sox2), but not Cone arrestin, Calbindin 1, CD68, and ionized calcium-binding adapter molecule 1 (Iba1). Compared with PMC, QMMuC-1 express higher levels of chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 2 (Ccl2), VEGFA, and glutamate aspartate transporter (GLAST), but lower levels of interleukin 6 (IL-6), brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1), and neurotrophin 3 (NTF3). Whole-cell patch clamp recordings demonstrated characteristic inward currents in response to L-glutamate and L-trans-pyrrolidine-2,4-dicarboxylic acid (PDC) by QMMuC-1 cells. The L-glutamate-induced current was significantly higher in QMMuC-1 cells compared with PMC. Bioenergetic profiling studies revealed similar levels of glycolysis and basal mitochondrial respiration between QMMuC-1 and PMC. However, mitochondrial spare capacity was significantly lower in QMMuC-1 compared with PMC.


Our results suggest that the QMMuC-1 Müller glial cell line retains key characteristics of PMC with its unique profiles in cytokine/neurotrophic factor expression and mitochondrial respiration. QMMuC-1 has utility as an invaluable tool for understanding the role of Müller glia in physiological and pathological conditions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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