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Vision Res. 1996 Aug;36(16):2381-94.

Glia cells of the monkey retina--II. Müller cells.

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Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany.


In this paper, for the first time a quantitative description of the morphology and distribution of Müller cells in the macaque monkey retina using immunohistochemistry and high resolution confocal laser scanning microscopy is given. By their morphological features Müller cells are ideally adapted to their neuronal environment in the various retinal layers, with a dense network of horizontal processes, especially in the inner plexiform layer, and close contacts to neuronal somata especially in the outer nuclear layer and ganglion cell layer. Morphology varies with retinal eccentricity. The thickness of the inner trunk increases significantly with increasing retinal eccentricity. According to the overall thickness of the retina, Müller cells in central retina are longer than in peripheral regions. In the parafoveal region, the outer trunks of Müller cells in the outer plexiform layer are immensely elongated. These Müller fibres can reach lengths of several hundred micrometers as they travel through the outer plexiform layer from the foveal centre towards the foveal border where they enter the inner nuclear layer. Müller cell density varies between 6000 cells/mm2 in far peripheral and peak densities of > 30,000 cells/mm2 in the parafoveal retina. There is a close spatial relationship between Müller cells and blood vessels in the monkey retina, suggesting a role of Müller cells in the formation of the blood-retinal barrier, in the uptake of nutrients and the disposal of metabolites.

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