Brain-derived neurotrophic factor and neurotrophin-4/5 stimulate growth of axonal branches from regenerating retinal ganglion cells

J Neurosci. 1996 Jun 15;16(12):3887-94. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.16-12-03887.1996.


To investigate the influences of growth factors on axonal regeneration in the mammalian CNS, we used intracellular tracers to quantitate the effects of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), neurotrophin (NT)-4/5, or NT-3 on individual retinal ganglion cell (RGC) axons in the retinas of adult rats after optic nerve transection. A single injection of BDNF or the prolonged administration of NT-4/5 by mini-pump increased axon branch median lengths by eightfold but had no effect on the number of branches formed by the RGC axons. NT-3 did not significantly influence axonal regrowth. These specific in vivo effects of BDNF and NT-4/5 on axonal regeneration from injured RGCs may be used to promote growth and expand the abnormally small terminal arbors observed when RGCs regrow into their CNS targets.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / drug effects
  • Axons / physiology*
  • Biotin / analogs & derivatives
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Cell Size / drug effects
  • Female
  • Nerve Growth Factors / pharmacology*
  • Nerve Regeneration / drug effects*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / pharmacology*
  • Neurotrophin 3
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Retina / cytology
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / cytology
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / physiology
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / ultrastructure*
  • Superior Colliculi / cytology
  • Time Factors
  • Visual Pathways


  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • Nerve Growth Factors
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Neurotrophin 3
  • neurobiotin
  • neurotrophin 5
  • Biotin
  • neurotrophin 4