Is that Skeletor I see under my microscope? Almost. The glowing creatures from Grim’s Carnival Marathon art are inspired by real cells of the retina!
Muller cells are glia found in the eyes of all mammals. A few will be available to trace for triple points in Eyewire for two days only: All Hallows’ Eve and Dia de los Muertos (Oct 31-Nov 2).
To trace them you must pass Level 2 in Eyewire! Cells will be online until Nov 2 or until they’re completed. What should you expect? Dusty skeletons. Seriously, these cells have huge branches that are loaded with dust.
Muller cells provide homeostatic and metabolic support for retinal neurons, like the ganglions and starburst amacrines we map in Eyewire. They are retinal glial cells that wrap around the cells that form capillaries, endothelial cells and pericytes, and constitute the majority of the non-neuronal volume of the retina.
The “head” of the skeleton lines up with the rods and cones of the retina and the feet make up the layer that divides the ganglion cells from the eye’s vitreous humor.
As such, Muller cell processes “envelop most ganglion axons.”
Lee Ann Remington, Professor of Optometry at Pacific University notes that “The Müller cell acts as a buffer by regulating the concentration of potassium ions (K+); they help maintain the extracellular pH by absorbing metabolic waste products; they recycle GABA and glutamate, removing them from the extracellular space; and Müller cells metabolize, synthesize, and store glycogen.”
For more info, check out the links below.