Extent and duration of recovered pupillary light reflex following retinal ganglion cell axon regeneration through peripheral nerve grafts directed to the pretectum in adult rats

Exp Neurol. 1998 Dec;154(2):560-72. doi: 10.1006/exnr.1998.6959.


The functional reinnervation of the olivary pretectal nucleus (OPN) was studied in adult rats with peripheral nerve (PN) grafts bridging the interrupted retinopretectal pathway. Functional recovery was assessed quantitatively using established pupillometry techniques. The effect of intravitreal tuftsin fragment 1-3 (tuftsin 1-3) injections during the grafting procedure was also studied. A total of 53 adult rats received autologous PN grafts connecting the ocular stump of the transected optic nerve to the ipsilateral OPN. The contralateral eye was enucleated to remove the input from that eye to the OPN. A pupillary light reflex was elicited from 35 of the 53 PN-grafted animals and in the best cases, a response was obtained which compared closely to that recorded from control animals. Tuftsin 1-3 was found to increase the rate of recovery of the response. The response amplitude of PN-grafted rats was generally found to diminish with repeated stimulus presentation and also appeared to deteriorate with age. This was in contrast to control animals' responses. However, a PLR could still be elicited in 3 of the 6 animals studied 15 months after PN-grafting. These findings indicate that a near-normal PLR function can be restored using a peripheral nerve graft, but there are a number of factors that are likely to compromise optimal outcome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Axons / physiology*
  • Nerve Regeneration / physiology*
  • Optic Nerve / cytology
  • Optic Nerve / physiology
  • Optic Nerve / surgery
  • Peripheral Nerves / transplantation
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Reflex, Pupillary / physiology*
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / physiology*
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / ultrastructure
  • Superior Colliculi / cytology*
  • Visual Pathways / cytology
  • Visual Pathways / physiology
  • Visual Pathways / surgery