Light Cable Properties of Retinal Müller Glial Cells

  • Christian Franze (Paul-Flechsig-Institut für Hirnforschung und Institut für Experimentelle Physik I, Universität Leipzig)
A3 02 (Seminar room)


The vertebrate retina is inverted with respect to optical function; light traverses significant scattering tissue before reaching the photoreceptors. Without additional functionality, this architecture would critically hinder scotopic (low-light-level) vision. Here we show that the retina contains living optical fibers, the Müller glial cells, which efficiently guide light through the scattering layers. Measured transmission and scattering properties of Müller cells, both in their natural matrix, and in isolation, indicate the presence of propagating modes. This finding ascribes a new function to glial cells and enables the understanding of the inverted retina as a complete optical system.