Rebuilding the Retina: Prospects for Müller Glial-mediated Self-repair

Rahul Langhe, Rachael A. Pearson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Retinal degeneration is a leading cause of untreatable blindness in the industrialised world. It is typically irreversible and there are few curative treatments available. The use of stem cells to generate new retinal neurons for transplantation purposes has received significant interest in recent years and is beginning to move towards clinical trials. However, such approaches are likely to be most effective for relatively focal areas of repair. An intriguing complementary approach is endogenous self-repair. Retinal cells from the ciliary marginal zone (CMZ), retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) and Müller glial cells (MG) have all been shown to play a role in retinal repair, typically in lower vertebrates. Among them, MG have received renewed interest, due to their distribution throughout (centre to periphery) the neural retina and their potential to re-acquire a progenitor-like state following retinal injury with the ability to proliferate and generate new neurons. Triggering these innate self-repair mechanisms represents an exciting therapeutic option in treating retinal degeneration. However, these cells behave differently in mammalian and non-mammalian species, with a considerably restricted potential in mammals. In this short review, we look at some of the recent progress made in our understanding of the signalling pathways that underlie MG-mediated regeneration in lower vertebrates, and some of the challenges that have been revealed in our attempts to reactivate this process in the mammalian retina.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent Eye Research
Issue number3
Early online date2 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020


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