Viability of retinal ganglion cells after optic nerve crush in adult rats

J Neurocytol. 1984 Jun;13(3):449-65. doi: 10.1007/BF01148334.


The response of retinal ganglion cells to optic nerve crush was examined in the hooded rat. Intracranial nerve crush produces a transient shrinkage of the retinal ganglion cells during the first several weeks postoperatively but partial recovery of cell size then appears to occur. This transient response is considered to be a direct response to axotomy. Retrograde transport of horseradish peroxidase (HRP) is clearly demonstrated at 2 weeks postoperatively. Transport of newly synthesized protein progressively decreases over the first 2 postoperative months. The ganglion cell therefore retains viability for at least the first few weeks after axotomy. Loss of 60% of the neurons in the ganglion cell layer occurs between 3 and 7 months postoperatively. This late occurring retrograde response is considered to result at least in part from loss of sustaining trophic influences rather than as a direct result of the lesion.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Transport, Active
  • Cell Survival
  • Female
  • Horseradish Peroxidase / metabolism
  • Male
  • Nerve Regeneration*
  • Optic Nerve / physiology*
  • Optic Nerve Injuries
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Retina / physiology*
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / cytology
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / physiology*
  • Time Factors


  • Proteins
  • Horseradish Peroxidase