In the January 2005 issue of Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, the international team of scientists describes changes that occur in detached human retinas. In this study, Steven K. Fisher, professor of molecular, cellular and developmental biology, and Geoffrey P. Lewis, research scientist, headed the UCSB effort, collaborating with colleagues at the Moorfields Eye Hospital and the Institute of Ophthalmology at University College London.
Understanding the "glial" response is a key aspect of this study.
Glial cells are known as the "supporting cells" of the nervous system. The central nervous system (CNS) consists of both neurons and glial cells. Glial cells actually outnumber neurons in the CNS but their functions are poorly understood. It is known that glial cells surround neurons, hold them in place and supply nutrients to neurons. They insulate neurons from each other and also destroy and remove dead neurons.
The reaction of the glial cells to retinal detachment is critical to the success of
surgery to correct retinal detachment. The glial response is part of an important medical
condition called "proliferative vitreoretinopathy" (PVR). This condition is characterized
by the growth of glial cells on the surface of the
Contact: Gail Gallessich
University of California - Santa Barbara