Regeneration of goldfish retina: rod precursors are a likely source of regenerated cells

J Neurobiol. 1988 Jul;19(5):431-63. doi: 10.1002/neu.480190504.


This study describes regeneration of the neural retina in juvenile goldfish. The retina was destroyed with an intraocular injection of ouabain, a technique introduced by Wolburg and colleagues (Maier and Wolburg, 1979; Kurz-Isler and Wolburg, 1982). We confirmed their observation that the level of damage produced by the toxin was graded, in that neurons in the inner retinal layers were preferentially destroyed, and only in the more severely affected retinas were cells in the outer nuclear layer (i.e., photoreceptor cells) damaged. Evidence of retinal regeneration could be seen beginning about 2 weeks after the injection of ouabain. In contrast to previous studies (Maier and Wolburg, 1979), we found that regeneration took place only in those retinas in which photoreceptors had been destroyed. In cases in which the outer nuclear layer was spared, no regeneration of inner layers occurred, even after 6 months. Thymidine autoradiography was used to document the regeneration of new retinal neurons and to show that rod precursors, like other dividing cells, were not destroyed by the ouabain, but in contrast showed an increased mitotic activity. Regeneration did not proceed uniformly, but was initiated at neurogenic foci scattered across the retina. These foci consisted of clusters of dividing neuroepithelial-like cells. The evidence is consistent with the proposal that these cells were derived from rod precursors. These results imply that rod precursors are capable of a wider range of developmental fates than they normally express.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • Cyprinidae / physiology*
  • Goldfish / physiology*
  • Mitosis
  • Nerve Regeneration*
  • Ouabain / metabolism
  • Ouabain / pharmacology
  • Photoreceptor Cells / cytology*
  • Photoreceptor Cells / physiology
  • Retina / drug effects
  • Retina / physiology*
  • Retina / ultrastructure


  • Ouabain