Glial cell interactions and glaucoma

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Purpose of reviewThe present review describes new advances in our understanding of the role of glial cells in the pathogenesis of glaucoma. It is becoming clear that retinal glia should not be studied in isolation in glaucoma because glia have dynamic and diverse interactions with a range of different cell types that could influence the disease process.Recent findingsMicroglial activity is modulated by signals from retinal ganglion cells and macroglia that influence RGC survival in various models of injury. New studies suggest that circulating monocytic populations may play a role in mediating the immune response to glaucoma. Astrocytes have been found to develop discrete localized processes that interact with a specific subset of retinal ganglion cells, possibly responding to the expression of phagocytic signals by stressed retinal ganglion cells.SummaryRetinal glia constitute a highly versatile population that interacts with various cells to maintain homeostasis and limit disease. Defining the mechanisms that underlie glial communication could enable the development of more selective therapeutic targets, with great potential clinical applications.

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