Microglial Activation and Transcriptomic Changes in the Blue Light-Exposed Mouse Retina

  • Stefanie Ebert
  • Yana Walczak
  • Charlotte Remé
  • Thomas LangmannEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 723)


Microglia are important components of the ocular immune system and may contribute to age-related macular degeneration. Exposure to blue light induces oxidative protein modifications similar to those observed in drusen and elicits retinal immune responses. To study the underlying cellular events, we analyzed microglial activation and monitored transcriptomic changes in blue light-induced retinal lesions. MacGreen mice with EGFP-tagged retinal microglia were exposed to blue light. At different time intervals, eyes were prepared for immunofluorescence microscopy, microarray analysis, and qRT-PCR. Retinal whole mounts and cross sections showed that EGFP-labeled microglia rapidly migrated toward the retinal lesion. Prominent transcriptomic changes occurred after 12 h, peaked at 24 h, and declined at 72 h. We identified more than 100 differentially expressed genes, including transcripts related to microglial activation, apoptosis, and regenerative signaling. A comparison of our results with published datasets from white light damage indicates overlapping but also distinct molecular mechanisms. This study extends our knowledge of transcriptomic changes in light-induced models of retinal degeneration.


Mouse retina Blue light damage Retinal degeneration Microglia MacGreen mice Transcriptomics Regeneration AMD 



We thank David Hume for providing the MacGreen mice and Bernhard Weber for helpful comments. This study was supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (FOR1074 TP4), the ProRetina foundation, and a RD2010 Young Investigator Award.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stefanie Ebert
    • 1
  • Yana Walczak
    • 1
  • Charlotte Remé
    • 2
  • Thomas Langmann
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of Human GeneticsUniversity of RegensburgRegensburgGermany
  2. 2.Lab for Retinal Cell BiologyUniversity of ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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