We have investigated the localization of Nogo, an inhibitory protein acting on regenerating axons in the adult central nervous system, in the embryonic mouse retinofugal pathway during the major period of axon growth into the optic chiasm. In the retina, Nogo protein was localized on the neuroepithelial cells at E12 and at later stages (E13-E17) on radial glial cells. Colocalization studies showed expression of Nogo on vimentin-positive glia in the retina and at the optic nerve head but not on most of the TuJ1- and islet-1-immunoreactive neurons. Only a few immature neurons in the ventricular and peripheral regions of the E13 retina were immunoreactive to Nogo. In the ventral diencephalon, Nogo was expressed on radial glia, most strongly on the dense radial glial midline raphe within the chiasm where uncrossed axons turn and in the initial segment of the optic tract. In vitro studies showed that the Nogo receptor (NgR) was expressed on the neurites and growth cones from both the ventral temporal and dorsal nasal quadrant of the retina. In the optic pathway, NgR staining was obvious in the vitreal regions of the retina and on axons in the optic stalk and the optic tract, but not in the chiasm. These expression patterns suggest an interaction of Nogo with its receptor in the mouse retinofugal pathway, which may be involved in guiding axons into the optic pathway and in governing the routing of axons in the optic chiasm.
(c) 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.