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J Comp Neurol. 1989 Jul 8;285(2):231-45.

Organization of astrocytes in the visual pathways of the goldfish: an immunohistochemical study.

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Department of Biology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


We have used antisera directed against glial cytoskeletal proteins to examine the distribution and organization of astrocytes in the visual pathways of the goldfish. We describe two different types of cells, which may be distinguished by their unique cytoskeletal proteins. Antibodies raised against a 48 Kd optic nerve protein react with stellate astrocytes in the optic nerve but virtually no glial cells in the brain (although blood vessels and the meninges in the brain were stained). The optic nerve astrocytes form a dense meshwork of processes through which the optic fibers pass. The intraorbital and intracranial segments of the nerve are divided into fascicles, each bounded by a glia limitans, which extend across the optic chiasm. Astroglial cells in the brain bind antibodies raised against a 50 Kd brain cytoskeletal protein. These antibodies show a very limited cross-reactivity with optic nerve cells. Brain astrocytes have filiform profiles and most appear to be deployed as radial glia. The glial fabric of the brain, as revealed by these antibodies, is far more loosely woven than that of the optic nerve. There is a sharp boundary between the two types of glial cells, immediately behind the optic chiasm. Glial processes in the optic tracts arise from cells in the preoptic area, whereas those in the optic tectum arise from cells that reside locally. In the optic tract, a glia limitans was often difficult to discern, whereas in the tectum one was always evident and composed of endfeet at the pial extremities of radial glial processes. These findings are discussed both in the context of previous observations by other workers as well as with regard to their possible functional implications.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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