Regeneration of Adult Rat and Chicken Retinal Ganglion Cell Axons in vitro
It has been established that in the adult rodent central nervous system (CNS), axons have a capacity to regrow after injuries (see Aguayo, 1985 for review). In particular, it has been shown that axotomy resistant adult retinal ganglion cells (RGC) can reelongate the proximal stumps of the transected optic nerve axons into peripheral nerve (PN) grafts apposed to the side of the lesion (Politis and Spencer, 1986; Vidal-Sanz et al. 1987). Well-documented studies have shown that significant numbers of axons can be rescued by the presence of the grafted PN segments and assigned to the peripheral glia (Schwann cells) an crucial role in supporting post-axotomy survival of RGC. The results obtained by the transplantation of peripheral nerve tissue revealed that indeed, the failure of the RGC to regrow their axons in situ is due to the unfavourable optic nerve environment (astrocytes and oligodentrocytes), since the neurons possess principally the intrinsic ability for axonal regrowth.
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