PloS one

Uptake of Retrograde Tracers by Intact Optic Nerve Axons: A New Way to Label Retinal Ganglion Cells.

PMID 26065419


Retrograde labelling of retinal ganglion cells with optic nerve transection often leads to degeneration of ganglion cells in prolonged experiments. Here we report that an intact optic nerve could uptake retrograde tracers applied onto the surface of the nerve, leading to high efficiency labelling of ganglion cells in the retina with long-term survival of cells. This method labelled a similar number of ganglion cells (2289±174 at 2 days) as the retrograde labeling technique from the superior colliculus (2250±94) or optic nerve stump (2279±114) after transection. This finding provides an alternative way to label retinal ganglion cells without damaging the optic tract. This will facilitate anatomical studies in identifying the morphology and connectivity of retinal ganglion cells, allowing secondary or triple labelling manipulations for long-term investigations.