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Raquel Conceição, Rachel S. Evans, Craig S. Pearson, Barbara Hänzi, Andrew Osborne, Sarita S. Deshpande, Keith R. Martin, Amanda C. Barber; Expression of Developmentally Important Axon Guidance Cues in the Adult Optic Chiasm. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2019;60(14):4727-4739. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.19-26732.
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Regeneration of optic nerve axons after injury can be facilitated by several approaches, but misguidance at the optic chiasm is often observed. We characterized guidance cues in the embryonic visual system and adult optic chiasm before and after optic nerve crush (ONC) injury to better understand barriers to optic nerve regeneration in adults.
Radial glial (RC2/BLBP/Slit1), developmental (Pax2) and extracellular markers (CSPG: H2B/CS-56) were assessed in C57BL/6J mice by immunohistochemistry. RC2, BLBP, Slit1, and CSPG are known inhibitory guidance cues while Pax2 is a permissive guidance cue.
At embryonic day 15.5 (E.15.5), RC2 and BLBP were identified superior to, and extending through, the optic chiasm. The optic chiasm was BLBP−ve in adult uninjured mice but BLBP+ve in adult mice 10 days after ONC injury. The reverse was true for RC2. Both BLBP and RC2 were absent in adult mice 6 weeks post-ONC. Slit1 was present in the optic chiasm midline and optic tracts in embryonic samples but was absent in uninjured adult tissue. Slit1 was observed superior to and at the midline of the optic chiasm 10 days post-ONC but absent 6 weeks after injury. Pax2 was expressed at the junction between the optic nerve and optic chiasm in embryonic brain tissue. In embryonic sections, CS-56 was observed at the junction between the optic chiasm and optic tract, and immediately superior to the optic chiasm. Both 2H6 and CS-56 staining was absent in uninjured and ONC-injured adult brains.
Differences in guidance cue expression during development, in adulthood and after injury may contribute to misguidance of regenerating RGC axons in the adult optic chiasm.
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