The Interaction Between Microglia and Macroglia in Glaucoma.Front Neurosci. 2021; 15:610788.FN
Glaucoma, a neurodegenerative disease that leads to irreversible vision loss, is characterized by progressive loss of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) and optic axons. To date, elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) has been recognized as the main phenotypic factor associated with glaucoma. However, some patients with normal IOP also have glaucomatous visual impairment and RGC loss. Unfortunately, the underlying mechanisms behind such cases remain unclear. Recent studies have suggested that retinal glia play significant roles in the initiation and progression of glaucoma. Multiple types of glial cells are activated in glaucoma. Microglia, for example, act as critical mediators that orchestrate the progression of neuroinflammation through pro-inflammatory cytokines. In contrast, macroglia (astrocytes and Müller cells) participate in retinal inflammatory responses as modulators and contribute to neuroprotection through the secretion of neurotrophic factors. Notably, research results have indicated that intricate interactions between microglia and macroglia might provide potential therapeutic targets for the prevention and treatment of glaucoma. In this review, we examine the specific roles of microglia and macroglia in open-angle glaucoma, including glaucoma in animal models, and analyze the interaction between these two cell types. In addition, we discuss potential treatment options based on the relationship between glial cells and neurons.