Alpha-crystallin promotes rat retinal neurite growth on myelin substrates in vitro

Ophthalmic Res. 2011;45(3):164-8. doi: 10.1159/000319944. Epub 2010 Sep 30.


Background: Myelin-associated molecules are major impediments to axon regeneration after optic nerve injury. Intravitreal injection of α-crystallin can protect axons from optic nerve degeneration after crushing in rats.

Objectives: Our purpose was to investigate whether α-crystallin could counteract the inhibitory effect of myelin and promote neurite growth.

Methods: Newborn rat retinal neurons were cultured on myelin-coated dishes with DMEM containing α-crystallin (10(-4) g/l) or bovine serum albumin. The density of neurons with neurites and the length of the longest neurite of the cells were analyzed on days 1, 3 and 5.

Results: Cultures containing α-crystallin had significantly higher neurite-containing cell densities, and the neurites were significantly longer compared with cultures containing bovine serum albumin. These findings indicated that α-crystallin could counteract the effect of myelin inhibitory factors and stimulate neurite growth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cell Count
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects*
  • Cell Survival
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Microscopy, Phase-Contrast
  • Myelin Proteins / metabolism
  • Myelin Sheath / physiology*
  • Myelin-Associated Glycoprotein / metabolism
  • Neurites / physiology*
  • Neurogenesis
  • Nogo Proteins
  • Rats
  • Rats, Long-Evans
  • Retinal Neurons / cytology*
  • Retinal Neurons / metabolism
  • alpha-Crystallins / pharmacology*


  • Myelin Proteins
  • Myelin-Associated Glycoprotein
  • Nogo Proteins
  • Rtn4 protein, rat
  • alpha-Crystallins