Exogenous growth factors stimulate the regeneration of ganglion cells in the chicken retina

Dev Biol. 2002 Nov 15;251(2):367-79. doi: 10.1006/dbio.2002.0813.


Recent reports have found that the posthatch chicken retina has the capacity for neuronal regeneration. The purpose of this study was to test whether the types of cells destroyed by neurotoxic lesions influence the types of cells that are regenerated, and whether exogenous growth factors stimulate neural regeneration in the chicken retina. N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) was used to destroy amacrine and bipolar cells; kainate was used to destroy bipolar, amacrine, and ganglion cells; colchicine was used to selectively destroy ganglion cells. Following toxin-induced damage, bromo-deoxyuridine was used to label proliferating cells. In some animals, growth factors were injected into the vitreous chamber of the eye. We found that the proliferation of cells within the retina was stimulated by toxin-induced cell loss, and by insulin and FGF2. After either kainate- or colchicine-induced retinal damage, some of the newly generated cells expressed markers and had the morphology of ganglion cells. The combination of insulin and FGF2 stimulated the regeneration of ganglion cells in kainate- and colchicine-treated retinas. We conclude that exogenous growth factors can be used to stimulate neural regeneration in the retina. We propose that the type of neuron destroyed in the retina may allow or promote the regeneration of that neuronal type.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bromodeoxyuridine / metabolism
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Chickens
  • Colchicine / toxicity
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 2 / pharmacology*
  • Insulin / pharmacology*
  • Kainic Acid / toxicity
  • N-Methylaspartate / toxicity
  • Nerve Regeneration / drug effects*
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / drug effects*
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / physiology


  • Insulin
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 2
  • N-Methylaspartate
  • Bromodeoxyuridine
  • Kainic Acid
  • Colchicine