Expression of the growth-associated protein GAP-43 in adult rat retinal ganglion cells following axon injury

Neuron. 1991 Apr;6(4):635-47. doi: 10.1016/0896-6273(91)90066-9.


We have studied the expression of the growth-associated protein GAP-43 after injury to the axons of adult rat retinal ganglion cells (CNS neurons that do not normally regenerate injured axons). Both the biosynthetic labeling of GAP-43 and the GAP-43 immunoreactivity of the retina increased after axotomy, but only when the injury was within 3 mm of the eye. These results suggest the following conclusions: First, axon injury is sufficient to alter GAP-43 expression in CNS neurons, even in the absence of regeneration. Second, mechanisms that regulate GAP-43 expression are sensitive to the length of uninterrupted axon remaining after injury. Finally, the conditions that favor increased GAP-43 are similar to those that favor regrowth of injured CNS axons into grafts of peripheral nerve, suggesting that GAP-43 induction is accompanied by an increased potential of injured CNS neurons to regenerate.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / metabolism
  • Axons / physiology*
  • Biological Transport
  • GAP-43 Protein
  • Growth Substances / metabolism
  • Histological Techniques
  • Immunologic Techniques
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / metabolism*


  • GAP-43 Protein
  • Growth Substances
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins