Conversion of mammalian Müller glial cells into a neuronal lineage by in vitro aggregate-culture

Akira Kubota, Kohji Nishida, Kinichi Nakashima, Yasuo Tano

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29 Citations (Scopus)


Mammalian Müller glial cells are major glial cells in the retina. Here we report that these glial cells can be redirected towards a neuronal lineage by an aggregate-culture in vitro. Rat and macaque Müller glial cells did not express neuronal markers except after transfer to adhesive conditions. Furthermore, this expression could only take place in the presence of platelet-derived growth factor and valproic acid. We compared a normal monolayer-culture and an aggregate-culture, and rat Müller glial cells could only differentiate into neurons under non-adhesive conditions. However, Müller glial cells did not express the photoreceptor markers in vitro. After transplantation into the subretinal space, a retina-specific niche, rat Müller glial cells expressed the photoreceptor-specific marker, opsin (RET-P1). We demonstrate the potential of mammalian Müller glial cells as a source of photoreceptors, which may possibly contribute to the treatment of degenerative retinal diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)514-520
Number of pages7
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 15 2006
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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