Mouse Müller cells, considered as dormant retinal progenitors, often respond to retinal injury by undergoing reactive gliosis rather than displaying neural regenerative responses. Tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) is a key cytokines induced after injury and implicated in mediating inflammatory and neural regenerative responses in zebrafish. To investigate the involvement of TNFα in mouse retinal injury, adult C57BL/6J mice were subjected to light damage for 14 consecutive days. TNFα was elevated in the retina of mice exposed to light damage, which induced Müller cell proliferation in vitro. Affymetrix microarray showed that, in Müller cells, TNFα induces up-regulation of inflammatory and proliferation-related genes, including NFKB2, leukemia inhibitory factor, interleukin-6, janus kinase (Jak) 1, Jak2, signal transducer and activator of transcription (Stat) 1, Stat2, mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) 7, and MAP4K4 but down-regulation of neuroprogenitor genes, including Sox9, Ascl1, Wnt2 and Hes1. Blocking the Jak/Stat and MAPK pathways attenuated TNFα-induced Müller cell proliferation. These results suggest that TNFα may drive the proliferation and inflammatory response, rather than the neural regenerative potential, of mouse Müller cells.