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Tat Fong Ng, J. Wayne Streilein; Light-Induced Migration of Retinal Microglia into the Subretinal Space. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2001;42(13):3301-3310. doi: https://doi.org/.
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purpose. To explore the effects of light exposure and deprivation on the
distribution and function of microglia in the subretinal space of mice.
methods. Using a monoclonal antibody, 5D4, that identifies resting, ramified
microglia, the distribution and density of microglia in the retina, and
the subretinal space were determined by confocal microscopy and by
immunohistochemistry of cryopreserved sections of eyes of albino and
pigmented mice exposed to diverse levels of light, ranging from
complete darkness to intense brightness. Axotomized retinal ganglion
cells were retrograde labeled by fluorescent tracer to
determine whether the marker colocalizes to 5D4+ cells.
Electron microscopy was used to evaluate microglia for evidence of
results. 5D4+ microglia in pigmented eyes were limited to the inner
retinal layers, but in albino eyes 5D4+ cells were found in
the outer retinal layers and subretinal space as well. The subretinal
space of eyes of albino mice raised from birth in complete darkness
contained few 5D4+ cells, but exposure to light caused the
rapid accumulation of 5D4+ cells at this site.
5D4+ cell density in the subretinal space correlated
directly with intensity of ambient light. Retrograde labeling of
axotomized ganglion cells resulted in 5D4+ cells in the
subretinal space that contained the retrograde label. Subretinal
microglia contained phagocytized rod outer segment discs. On intense
light exposure, 5D4+ cells adopted an active morphology,
but failed to express class II major histocompatibility complex (MHC)
conclusions. Light exposure induced retinal microglia migration into the subretinal
space in albino mice. Subretinal microglia appeared to augment through
phagocytosis the capacity of pigment epithelium to take up the
photoreceptor debris of light toxicity. The unexpected presence of
these cells in the subretinal space raises questions concerning their
potential contribution to immune privilege in this space and to the
fate of retinal transplants.
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