IOVS (2022)

Deciphering the Molecular Signature of Human Hyalocytes in Relation to Other Innate Immune Cell Populations

Julian Wolf, Stefaniya Boneva, Dennis-Dominik Rosmus, Hansjürgen Agostini, Günther Schlunck, Peter Wieghofer, Anja Schlecht, Clemens Lange

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Purpose: Hyalocytes are the tissue-resident innate immune cell population of the vitreous body with important functions in health and vitreoretinal disease. The purpose of this study is to gain new insights into the biology and function of human hyalocytes in comparison to other innate immune cells.
Methods: The present study applies fluorescence-activated cell sorting and RNA sequencing to compare the transcriptional profiles of human hyalocytes, retinal microglia (rMG) and classical, intermediate, and non-classical monocytes isolated from the same patients. Immunohistochemistry was applied for morphological characterization of human hyalocytes.
Results: Pairwise analysis indicates distinct differences between hyalocytes and monocytes, whereas a high degree of similarity to rMG is apparent, with comparable expression levels of established microglia markers, such as TREM2, P2RY12, and TMEM119. Among the top expressed genes in hyalocytes, SPP1, CD74, and C3, were significantly upregulated when compared with monocytes. Despite the high level of similarity of hyalocytes and rMG, ten highly expressed genes in hyalocytes compared to microglia were identified, among them FOS, DUSP1, and EGR2.
Conclusions: This study reveals a high degree of similarity between hyalocytes and retinal microglia. Nevertheless, hyalocytes exhibit some expression differences that may adapt them to the specific needs of the vitreous and provide the basis for deciphering the multiple roles of this fascinating cell population in health and vitreoretinal diseases.


Linked datasets


Retinal microglia